Month: December 2012

Israel’s Military, A Story of 
Successful Innovation Under Fire

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

 

(Please Note: some articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click on the article  link for the complete text – Ed.)

 

Israel’s Defence Tech Industry: Israel Strategist, May 31 2012—The success of Israel’s defence sector is no surprise, considering the country’s history of having to confront violent conflict on its borders and consistent existential threats. What is remarkable is the extent to which Israeli innovation in the defence arena has integrated into other sectors of the economy.

 

Israel Redefines Victory in the New Middle East: Yaakov Lappin, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 28, 2012—Senior Israeli officials have indicated this month that any round of future fighting with Hezbollah will make last month's Gaza conflict seem minor by comparison. Offense, not defence, is still preferred.  Israel is redefining its concept of military victory in a Middle East dominated by terrorist organizations turned quasi-state actors.

 

Volatility in the Middle East Drives Israeli Defence Industry Innovation: Rupert Pengelley

Janes Intelligence, June 10, 2008—The past decade has seen considerable restructuring and an expansion of overseas involvements as Israeli concerns have sought to acquire a bigger share of global defence markets. Their success in achieving this is, as ever, not unconnected with their nation's security circumstances.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Trapped Under the Iron Dome: Ariel Harkham, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 1, 2012

Bankrupting terrorism – one interception at a time: Akiva Hamilton, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 24, 2012

How Israel's Defense Industry Can Help Save America: Arthur Herman , Commentary, Dec. 2011

Israeli Technology Turns Air Into Drinking Water, Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

IN DEPTH–ISRAEL’S DEFENCE TECH INDUSTRY

Israel Strategist, May 31 2012

 

The success of Israel’s defence sector is no surprise, considering the country’s history of having to confront violent conflict on its borders and consistent existential threats. Israel’s innovative defence technologies were born of these conflicts. What is remarkable is the extent to which Israeli innovation in the defence arena has integrated into other sectors of the economy. Israeli defence companies rank as some of the largest in the world, contributing significantly to Israeli industry and economy….. All over the world, and from high-tech to green-tech, we are seeing the fruits of Israeli innovation in the defence-technology arena.

 

Israel’s success at technological innovation stems in part from a cultural emphasis on education and science, and from high government spending in the defence sector. Israel’s population has the highest percentage of engineers in the world and, according to 2010 OECD data on government expenditure, Israel contributes a higher percentage of GDP to education than the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Sweden, at 7.2%….Though natural resources are scarce, human capital has become Israel’s most abundant and valuable resource….

 

Israel’s defence companies are some of the largest in the world, with five companies ranked in the international top one hundred. According to the Samuel Neaman Institute, the defence industry in Israel accounts for 25% of industrial output and 20% of employment in the industrial sector, contributing significantly to the country’s domestic economy. Between 1963 and 2010 Israel was granted over 20,000 patents by the USPTO, only 3,000 fewer than Australia, a country with three times its population.

 

Israeli innovation in the defence industry ranges from weapons technology to transportation vehicles, medical supplies, and unmanned drones. Defence exports reached a record high in 2010 at $7.2 billion, making Israel one of the top four arms exporters in the world. Israel leads the market in development and production of unmanned aerial vehicles, mini satellites, and the refurbishment of various types of commercial and military aircraft. It has established joint ventures and partnerships in North and South America, Asia, and India.

 

Israel’s most groundbreaking defence-related products include:

 

Uzi Submachine Gun – Designed in 1949 by an Israeli lieutenant, this gun has been adopted by over 90 countries around the world for military use and law enforcement. The design is simple and inexpensive to produce, and with few moving parts it is easy to repair, even on the field.

 

Galil Assault Rifle – Developed 30 years ago, this short, lightweight assault rifle is highly reliable under adverse and extreme conditions. Air-cooled, gas operated, magazine fed, no tools required to strip the weapon on the field. Used by 27 countries world wide including India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Portugal and South Africa.

 

The Corner Shot Gun – A gun which allows the user to shoot around corners with its flexible front section, allowing a solider to shoot without being exposed. The gun is equipped with a camera suitable for low light and the ability to also function as a normal handgun. Used by the Beijing SWAT team in China, the Indian National Security Guard, and South Korean Special Forces.

 

Multi-Purpose Modular Armored Vehicle – A 4×4 tactical vehicle with the strength to “absorb the deformations generated by mines and IED blasts” protecting the soldiers inside.

 

Emergency Field Bandage – Used widely in the United States and abroad to stop blood loss on the field before soldiers can reach the nearest hospital. These bandages have played a major role in disaster relief, emergency surgery and field medicine.

 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) – Non-rocket propelled aircraft which do not require humans on board and thus prevent loss of life. Used in counter terrorism and missile defence. Technology sold abroad to Chile, Singapore, India and the Unites States.

 

Reactive Armor Tiles – Tiles fastened to the outside of tanks allowing them to withstand direct hits from munitions. The tiles use a high-energy explosive causing them to explode outward, protecting the soldiers inside. Tile sets are made specifically for the US Bradley Tank, among others. A congressionally mandated study of these tiles was done in 1999, and in 2010 a $33 million order was placed by the US government.

 

Iron Dome Missile Defence System – Mobile defence for countering short range rockets. Project given $205 million in funding by the US government this year….

 

Israel’s defence companies straddle the line between public and private, applying national security solutions to the private market. Though in many cases founded originally as part of Israel’s government agencies, they have become commercial and facilitated the production of revolutionary products for civilian use:

 

Israel Aerospace Industries, IAI, is Israel’s largest aerospace and defence company, as well as the largest industrial exporter in Israel. The company takes on projects ranging from aeronautics and nano-materials and processes to space, ecology and security. Its most popular exports include business jets integrated into the Gulfstream family and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for civil and military use. IAI also considers renewable energy and green-tech in its designs and developments, particularly in the areas of wind and solar technologies, industrial waste-water cleaning systems, and environment-friendly coatings. In January of 2012, IAI signed its largest ever defence deal with India: over $1.1billion worth of missiles, anti missiles systems, UAV’s, intelligence and other systems. According to estimates, defence trade between India and Israel amounts to almost $9 billion….

 

As a result of Israel’s unique economy and national security situation, equipment designed for government military use has not only been commercialized, but also adapted for civilian use. Perhaps the best example of this adaptation is Better Place, an Israeli company that uses technology developed for the Israeli Air Force and applies it to a system of battery powered cars. Better Place uses technology developed to load and unload missiles from F-16 fighter jets, and applies it to the efficient and effective installation and replacement of lithium-ion batteries into electric vehicles…. Better Place currently operates in Israel, Denmark, Australia, North America, Japan and China.

 

Internationally recognized for its aviation security, Israel exports techniques for airline screening to countries all over the world including to the U.S…. Also looked to as global leaders in emergency management, Israeli Defence companies and the Israeli government are consulted by FEMA and the US National Guard for hi-tech solutions in emergency management…. Israel is at the forefront of disaster relief and field medicine. It was one of the first countries to respond and send forces after the earthquakes in both Haiti and Japan and was the first to set up fully functional field surgical tents complete with scanners….

 

The face of global warfare is changing rapidly. Direct conflict is becoming less common as armies fight elusive terrorists, and strikes are often carried out by unmanned drones and through technological means. Israel is already ahead of the curve on these fronts, and other nations are beginning to turn to Israelis for their expertise and innovations…..

 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL REDEFINES VICTORY IN THE NEW MIDDLE EAST

Yaakov Lappin

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 28, 2012

 

Senior Israeli officials have indicated this month that any round of future fighting with Hezbollah will make last month's Gaza conflict seem minor by comparison. Offense, not defence, is still preferred.  Israel is redefining its concept of military victory in a Middle East dominated by terrorist organizations turned quasi-state actors.

 

Once, decisive, unmistakable victories, accompanied by conquests of territory that had been used to stage attacks against Israel, provided all parties concerned with a "knockout" image. Victory was seen by the Israel Defence Forces as a clear-cut event, which ended when the enemy raised a white flag. Today, however, the IDF considers this thinking out of date in the 21st century battle arenas of the region, where a terror organization such as Hamas will continue firing rockets into Israel right up until the last day of a conflict, and claim victory despite absorbing the majority of damages and casualties.

 

Today, the goal of seizing control of the enemy's turf is seen as a short-term initiative, and assuming long-term control and responsibility for hostile populations is a highly unpopular development among strategic planners, who now argue that this should be avoided wherever possible. For decades, the IDF has been facing irregular asymmetric terrorist organizations which can change form, melt away and reform according to their needs.

 

The last time Israel fought direct battles with organized, hierarchical military foes was during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Today, as the main goal of most conflicts, victory has been replaced by deterrence. Deterrence, rather than clear-cut conquest or triumph over the enemy, has formed the goal of Israel's last three conflicts: the Second Lebanon War of 2006; Operation Cast Lead against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in 2009 and Operation Pillar of Defence against the same entities in Gaza in November.

 

Although the Second Lebanon War was claimed by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah as a "divine victory," six and a half years later, at the end of 2012, Hezbollah has still not repaired all of the damage it suffered in that conflict, and the Lebanese-Israeli border has never been quieter. Despite several glaring tactical and operational shortcomings, as a deterrent the Second Lebanon War was an Israeli victory.

 

Nevertheless, deterrence-based military achievements are temporary by nature. At some point, deterrence erodes away, and must be re-established all over again. This is what happened in Gaza last month. And the IDF has been preparing for a fresh confrontation with Hezbollah in Lebanon, which today is armed with at least 50,000 rockets and missiles, many of them with a range of 200 kilometres, that can strike deep inside Israel.

 

Quietly, the Israel Air Force has been upgrading its weapons systems to allow it to face down Hezbollah with enhanced firepower. The new systems currently installed in IAF jets mean that a very large number of targets can be struck in Lebanon from the air within a very short period of time. The 1500 targets struck in Gaza, for example, during November's operation over the course of eight days, could have been struck in 24 hours had the IAF elected to do so.

 

Israeli intelligence has been mapping out the weapons storehouses in southern Lebanese villages and towns, and building up a long list of targets, for the day that Israel's deterrence runs out. The IDF's evolving new doctrine involves short spells of fighting, in which the IDF hits the other side hard – hard enough to ensure that the Israeli home front will enjoy prolonged calm after the fighting ends. As opposed to the mission of utterly destroying Hamas or Hezbollah, such limited goals can be obtained quickly. Hezbollah is fully aware, meanwhile, that should it begin another conflict, it will reap major destruction on Lebanon.

 

The Israeli doctrine is flexible. It allows the IDF to choose the severity of the blows it lands on the enemy, depending on the circumstances of each fight, and the adversary involved. Senior Israeli defence sources have indicated this month that any future round of fighting with Hezbollah will make last month's Gaza conflict seem minor by comparison. Even if the goal will not be to destroy Hezbollah, the organization is still susceptible to enormous damage; it is well aware of its exposure to overwhelming Israeli firepower.

 

The day after a future conflict ends, one defence source said this month, Hezbollah will have to "get up in the morning and explain to their people" why they invited yet more destruction on Lebanon. The fact that Islamist terror organizations Hamas and Hezbollah have formed political entities, and are responsible for managing the affairs of their people, means that they are more vulnerable than ever.

 

Unfortunately, the rocket and missile capabilities possessed by both means that Israeli civilians are also in the firing line; and the IDF is not counting on rocket defence systems such as Iron Dome to prevent wide-scale damage and secure future victories. Even in the service of the limited goal of deterrence, offense, not defence, is still preferred.

 

Finally, the new doctrine is not fixed in stone; should Israel ever find that it cannot deter the enemies on its borders, it may choose to revert to its older method of defending its citizens: fully vanquishing hostile forces, despite the price it may have to pay.

 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

VOLATILITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST DRIVES
ISRAELI DEFENCE INDUSTRY INNOVATION

Rupert Pengelley

Janes Intelligence, June 10, 2008

 

The past decade has seen considerable restructuring and an expansion of overseas involvements as Israeli concerns have sought to acquire a bigger share of global defence markets. Their success in achieving this is, as ever, not unconnected with their nation's security circumstances. Despite the Middle East peace process, events have continued to prompt development of a new generation of innovative 'combat proven' military equipment, this time forged in the heat of contemporary asymmetric conflict. These are finding wide acceptance within the armed forces of other nations, most of whom are similarly being required to modify their earlier exclusive focus on preparation for conventional inter-state conflict.

 

To take but one example, 20 years ago the Israel Defence Force (IDF) pioneered the tactical use of full-motion video (FMV) systems, and Israel now appears to have a superabundance of companies engaged in this particular field. Suffice it to say, FMV has since proved to be one of the crucial factors in the correct application of the (non-kinetic as well as kinetic) effects being used by coalition organisations in the prosecution of stability operations and 'wars among the people', not least in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

One of Israel's smaller defence companies is Azimuth Technologies, employing 140 personnel and having a turnover of USD29 million. It has an established tradition of addressing the needs of special forces, and today has four main areas of activity, including manportable target acquisition systems, navigation and orientation systems for armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), the networking of sensors and weapons, and homeland security.

 

Among the company's better-known products is the Comet GPS-based north finding and positioning system, or 'smart compass', which has now been adopted by 10 different armies. Comet is particularly suited to attitude measurement in armoured vehicles, where normal magnetic compasses are degraded. According to Azimuth representatives, its uptake has been driven by its low cost and by contemporary rules of engagement that require every firing platform to be able to provide accurate target position information, particularly in urban settings.

 

In its standard form Comet embodies three GPS receivers and an integral processor unit in a unitary, plank-like configuration, and is used to calculate azimuth, elevation, pitch and roll. The latter is determined by an internal tilt sensor, while a calculation based on the phase difference of the received GPS signal is used to determine azimuth and elevation…..

 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

How Israel's Defense Industry Can Help Save America: Arthur Herman, Commentary, Dec. 2011—Israelis are realizing that a strong and independent high-tech defense sector may be more crucial to Israel’s future than relying on U.S. help. The Israeli way of doing defense business is changing the shape of the military-industrial complex. Smaller, nimbler, and entrepreneurial, Israel’s defense industry offers a salutary contrast to the Pentagon’s way of doing things.

 

Bankrupting terrorism – one interception at a time: Akiva Hamilton, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 24, 2012—The strategic implications are that the current rocket-based terror strategy of Hamas and Hezbollah has been rendered both ineffective and economically unsustainable. I estimate it is currently costing Hamas (and thus its patron Iran) around $5m. (500 rockets at $10,000 each) to murder a single Israeli. When Iron Dome reaches 95% interception rate these figures will double and at 97.5% they will double again.

 

Trapped Under the Iron Dome: Ariel Harkham, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 1, 2012—This month, all of Israel was subjected to an unrelenting eight-day missile blitz, disabusing middle Israel of the notion that there is any distinction between the periphery and the center of Israel in its ongoing war with Hamas. Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, which featured prominently in the conflict, is being hailed as a great success. In reality, however, it represents a total failure of strategic vision and erodes the concept of deterrence for the State of Israel.

 

Israeli Technology Turns Air Into Drinking Water: Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2012—Military troops around the world, no matter where they are instated, know that even with the best training, personnel and arms, they cannot survive battle if they are lacking one vital thing: water. Among the concerns of military heads is  to ensure water sources are always available, even in the most arid of places. Rishon Lezion-based company Water-Gen takes up challenge to ensure troops have access to water at all times.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

Turkey: Old Kemalist Order in Decline as Islamist PM Reorients Eastward and 
Fans the Flames of Anti-Semitism

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

 

Talking Turkey: Daniel Pipes, National Review, Dec. 26, 2012—During recent discussions in Istanbul, I learned that Turks of many viewpoints have reached a consensus about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: They worry less about his Islamic aspirations than about his nationalist and dictatorial tendencies.

 

Turkey: Is Atatürk Dead? Erdogan Islamism Replaces Kemalism: Asli Aydintasbas, The Daily Beast, Dec. 17, 2012—Under Mustafa Kemal’s [Ataturk] leadership, the young republic made a clean break from its Ottoman past nearly nine decades ago, ditching the caliphate for a secular regime and turning away from the empire’s former Arab territories in favor of an anti-clerical, pro-Western vision that became known as Kemalism.

 

Jew-Hatred Increasing Even in Liberal Parts of Turkey: Ege Berk Korkut, Elder of Ziyon, Die Welt, Dec. 20, 2012—Jew-hatred has become an everyday phenomenon in Turkey. Although I live in Izmir, the most democratic city in Turkey, [even here there is] growing anti-Semitism. Everywhere I meet Jew-haters and enemies of Israel, listen to their prejudices on the daily bus trip or during a visit to a popular fast-food restaurants.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Troubling News for Turkey’s Jews: Adam Chandler, Tablet, Dec. 19, 2012

Will There Be an Independent Kurdistan?: Jay Newton-Small, TIME, Dec. 21, 2012

Putin’s visit rekindles the Russia-Turkey affair: Dimitar Bechev, CNN, Dec. 4th, 2012

 

 

 

 

TALKING TURKEY

Daniel Pipes

National Review, Dec. 26, 2012

 

The menu for meals on my Turkish Airlines flight earlier this month assured passengers that food selections “do not contain pork.” The menu also offered a serious selection of alcoholic drinks, including champagne, whisky, gin, vodka, raki, wine, beer, liqueur, and cognac. This oddity of simultaneously adhering to and ignoring Islamic law, the sharia, symbolizes the uniquely complex public role of Islam in today’s Turkey, as well as the challenge of understanding the Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish abbreviation, AKP), which has dominated the country’s national government since 2002.

 

Political discussions about Turkey tend to dwell on whether the AKP is Islamist or not: In 2007, for example, I asked: “What are the AKP leadership’s intentions? Did it . . . retain a secret Islamist program and simply learn to disguise its Islamist goals? Or did it actually give up on those goals and accept secularism?”

 

During recent discussions in Istanbul, I learned that Turks of many viewpoints have reached a consensus about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: They worry less about his Islamic aspirations than about his nationalist and dictatorial tendencies.

 

Applying the sharia in full, they say, is not a feasible goal in Turkey because of the country’s secular and democratic nature, something distinguishing it from other Muslim-majority countries (except Albania, Kosovo, and Kyrgyzia). Accepting this reality, the AKP wins ever-greater electoral support by softly coercing the population to be more virtuous, traditional, pious, religious, conservative, and moral. Thus, it encourages fasting during Ramadan and female modesty and  discourages alcohol consumption. It has attempted to criminalize adultery, indicted an anti-Islamist artist, increased the number of religious schools, added Islam to the public-school curriculum, and introduced questions about Islam to university entrance exams. Put in terms of Turkish Airlines, pork is already gone, and it’s a matter of time until the alcohol also disappears.

 

Islamic practice, not Islamic law, is the goal, my interlocutors told me. Hand chopping, burqas, slavery, and jihad are not in the picture, and all the less so after the past decade’s economic growth, which empowered an Islamically oriented middle class that rejects Saudi-style Islam. An opposition leader noted that five districts of Istanbul “look like Afghanistan,” but these are the exceptions. I heard that the AKP seeks to reverse the anti-religiousness of Atatürk’s state without undermining that state, aspiring to create a post-Atatürk order more than an anti-Atatürk order. It seeks, for example, to dominate the existing legal system rather than create an Islamic one. The columnist Mustafa Akyol even holds that the AKP is not trying to abolish secularism but that it “argues for a more liberal interpretation of secularism.” The AKP says it emulates the 623-year-old Ottoman state that Atatürk terminated in 1922, admiring both its Islamic orientation and its dominance of the Balkans and the Middle East. Mohamed Morsi could learn a thing or two from Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

 

This neo-Ottoman orientation can be seen in the prime minister’s aspiration to serve as informal caliph, in his change in emphasis from Europe to the Middle East (where he is an unlikely hero of the Arab street), and in his offering the AKP’s political and economic formula to other Muslim countries, notably Egypt. (Erdogan staunchly argued for secularism during a visit there, to the Muslim Brotherhood’s dismay, and looks askance at Mohamed Morsi’s ramming sharia down Egyptians’ throats.) In addition, Ankara helps the Iranian regime avoid sanctions, sponsors the Sunni opposition against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, picked a noisy, gratuitous fight with Israel, threatened Cyprus over its underwater gas finds, and even intervened in the trial of a Bangladeshi Islamist leader. Like much else in Turkey, the headscarf can have subtle qualities.

 

Having outmaneuvered the “deep state,” especially the military officer corps, in mid-2011, the AKP adopted an increasingly authoritarian cast, to the point that many Turks fear dictatorship more than Islamization. They watch as an Erdogan “intoxicated with power” imprisons opponents on the basis of conspiracy theories and wiretaps, stages show trials, seeks to impose his personal tastes on the country, fosters anti-Semitism, suppresses political criticism, justifies forceful measures against students protesting him, manipulates media companies, leans on the judiciary, and blasts the concept of the separation of powers. Columnist Burak Bekdil ridicules him as “Turkey’s elected chief social engineer.” More darkly, others see him becoming Turkey’s answer to Vladimir Putin, an arrogant semi-democrat who remains in power for decades.

 

Freed of the military’s oversight only in mid-2011, Erdogan possibly will win enough dictatorial power for him (or a successor) to achieve his dream and fully implement sharia.

 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

TURKEY: IS ATATÜRK DEAD?
ERDOGAN ISLAMISM REPLACES KEMALISM

Asli Aydintasbas

The Daily Beast, Dec 17, 2012

 

The photograph shows a pair of men in dusty work clothes, saluting proudly as they stand at attention inside a gutted reinforced-concrete building. The caption, in Turkish, tells us that the picture was taken Nov. 10. Every year on that date, the entire country—schools, government offices, hospitals, even traffic—comes to a halt at 9:05 a.m., the exact minute of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s death in 1938. The photo went viral on the Internet this year, desperately offered via Twitter and Facebook as proof that even though an Islamist government has ruled the country for the past decade, modern Turkey’s fiercely rationalist founder remains a source of inspiration to the masses.

 

The question is how much longer Mustafa Kemal can remain on that pedestal. To the people of his country, Atatürk—the sobriquet means “father of the Turks”—has been both a national hero and an ideology, bolstered by decades of indoctrination in the schools and by his ubiquitous image in the form of busts, portraits, statues, figurines, T-shirts, currency, key chains, and even iPhone cases. A reformist Ottoman Army general, he led an independence struggle against the invading Greek, French, and Italian armies after the First World War, culminating in the establishment of a modern republic in 1923.

 

Under Mustafa Kemal’s leadership, the young republic made a clean break from its Ottoman past nearly nine decades ago, ditching the caliphate for a secular regime and turning away from the empire’s former Arab territories in favor of an anti-clerical, pro-Western vision that became known as Kemalism. He pushed for women’s suffrage, decreed the alphabet’s conversion from Arabic to Latin overnight, established parliamentary government, declared war on Islamic zealotry long before jihadism became a global concern, even banned the Ottoman fez in favor of European-style hats. Turkish schoolbooks today summarize the changes he imposed as “the Atatürk revolutions.”

 

Nevertheless, Mustafa Kemal’s staunchly secularist legacy is now being challenged by a new Turkish strongman, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Free at last to espouse and promote his conservative Muslim faith publicly, the prime minister embodies the political aspirations of millions of Turks who have been alienated from the military-backed secular establishment for generations: the rural folk, the urban poor, conservative Muslim clerics, and the rising religiously conservative business classes. While studiously avoiding direct confrontation with Atatürk’s Westernized ideals, Erdogan and other pro-Islamist leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have inaugurated an era of deep political transformation.

 

With the party’s encouragement, many Turks have come to regard Kemalism as an outmoded ideology unsuited to the needs of present-day Turkey’s dynamic society. “I don’t know if Atatürk himself is dead,” says liberal academic and commentator Mehmet Altan. “But Kemalism will eventually die, as Turkey democratizes.” Altan has argued for years against the Kemalist doctrine, calling instead for the creation of a “second republic” that would be less centralized, more inclusive of Kurds and Islamists, and less rigid in its secular and nationalist policies.

 

That’s what’s already happening as the Erdogan government dismantles the Kemalist establishment. The military, once the country’s most powerful political force and the self-proclaimed guardian of secularism, has been relegated to the barracks and publicly reprimanded for the series of coups that have stunted democracy’s growth since Atatürk’s death. Religious conservatism is on the rise, and Ankara has turned its attention away from the country’s longstanding bid for European Union membership, seeking instead a more prominent role in the Middle East and the former Ottoman lands. Vestiges of the old Kemalist order—the headscarf ban on university campuses, restrictions on use of the Kurdish language, Soviet-style commemorations held in stadiums on national days—have nearly disappeared.

 

And yet liberal democrats like Altan are not happy. Many feel that Erdogan’s government has lost its reformist drive, becoming authoritarian and single-mindedly Islamic instead. Intellectuals who once supported Erdogan against the military now complain about his efforts to control the media, his intolerance for dissent, and his half-hearted concessions to Kurdish demands. “Politics in Turkey has always been a struggle between the barracks and the mosque,” says Altan. “Because we never had a proper capitalist class, the Army represented the bourgeoisie, and the mosque represented the underprivileged. With AKP, we thought a democracy would emerge out of the mosque. But instead what we got was simply the revenge of the mosque.”

 

A year ago Altan finally became one of the many journalists who have lost their jobs for criticizing Erdogan. It’s the same penalty commentators used to incur for finding fault with Atatürk. Altan grieves for the fading of Turkey’s European dreams. Bringing European standards to Turkey’s democracy was the only possible solution for the conflict between the secularists and the Islamists, he says. “But the EU reforms have stopped, and the government’s Islamic reflexes are more obvious now, making the division even sharper.”

 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

JEW-HATRED INCREASING,
EVEN IN LIBERAL PARTS OF TURKEY
Ege Berk Korkut

Elder of Ziyon, Die Welt, Dec. 20, 2012

 

Jew-hatred has become an everyday phenomenon in Turkey. Although I live in Izmir, the most democratic city in Turkey, [even here there is] growing anti-Semitism. Everywhere I meet Jew-haters and enemies of Israel, listen to their prejudices on the daily bus trip or during a visit to a popular fast-food restaurants.

Many of them admired Hitler, wish he would have his "mission" brought to an end and not stop at six million murdered Jews. Though it disgusts me, I can do nothing. I belong to a minority in this country and I know that the government will not protect my rights, which is why it would not be a good idea to respond.

…I visit the twelfth grade of an [exclusive] high school. During a lesson the religious teachers talk about the operation "Pillar of Cloud" in Gaza.

Some students began to complain about Israel. They became more and more violent, and the teacher, an official of the Turkish state, said, "Do not worry, Israel will be destroyed one day, and the day is near that all Jews will pay for it." After the teacher had incited the students some students began to praise Hitler, while others expressed their readiness to drive the Israelis into the sea. [Emphasis original – Ed.]

I was surprised. I did not expect that a teacher, a Turkish government official, would incite students to kill people just because they are different, especially in Izmir, where the people are known for their tolerance.

Jew-hatred is spreading and the influence of Sharia law have changed the secular society, even in the most advanced parts of Turkey, such that it is no longer possible to ignore it, at least as a Jew.

I have no hope that the situation will improve in the future. On the contrary, it gets worse every day. This is not surprising. Biased media and politicians spread the manipulative rhetoric, and the textbooks that are issued by the Turkish state are dripping with hatred of Jews.

In a country where children are taught to hate, true respect for diversity cannot thrive, which is the foundation of any free society. While the secular society collapses, the growing power of the Islamists continue every day. Therefore I am not pessimistic, but realistic when I say that Turkey's future is not rosy.

 

Ege Berk Korkut is a Turkish high school student.

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

Troubling News for Turkey’s Jews: Adam Chandler, Tablet, Dec. 19, 2012—Life for Turkish Jews has been less than comfortable in recent years. Gone are the days when a young Ben-Gurion-type would even dream of going there to study law. Turkey’s Jewish community, which numbered as many 80,000 in the late 1920s has dwindled down to approximately 20,000 and, more than ever, suffers alienation at every bloody bend in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

 

An Interview with Nechirvan Barzani: Will There Be an Independent Kurdistan?: Jay Newton-Small, TIME, Dec. 21, 2012—If there is one man who deserves the credit for the growing Turkish-Kurd rapprochement, it’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani of Iraqi Kurdistan. Five years ago Kurds and foreigners alike laughed in his face when he told them that not only did he want Iraqi Kurdistan to export its own oil, but that he wanted to export it to Turkey, which has had an intractable problem with its own large Kurdish minority.

 

Putin’s visit rekindles the Russia-Turkey affair: Dimitar Bechev, CNN, Dec. 4th, 2012—Yet the truth is that Ankara and Moscow are going through an extremely rough patch in their relationship – over Syria. On October 10, Turkey intercepted and force landed a Syrian jet flying from Moscow with 35 passengers, including Russian nationals. Erdoğan asserted that Russian munitions had been discovered onboard the plane. Soon afterwards, Putin postponed his trip to Ankara, prompting speculation of a freeze in bilateral ties.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

 

ContentsDownload today's Daily Briefing.pdf

Weekly Quotes 

Short Takes

 

On Topic Links

 

 

 

Why Arabs Hate And Kill Palestinians: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 26, 2012

Biblical claim to the land?: David Ha'ivri, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 26, 2012

Canada takes sides, not a world referee: BairdLee Berthiaume, Postmedia News, Dec. 22, 2012

 

 

Weekly Quotes

 

 

"The Western Wall is not occupied territory, and I don't care what the United Nations says. We are living in the Jewish State and the capital of the Jewish state, for 3,000 years, has been Jerusalem. I want to say it clearly. We will build in Jerusalem because it’s our right."—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in response to the international community's condemnation of prospective building plans for Jerusalem across the Green Line. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22, 2012)

 

“Some people see Canada as being a great even-handed referee. Well, we’re not a referee. We have a side. The side is freedom. The side is human rights. The side is open economies. And I think that’s what people expect us to stand up for. We cannot be afraid to take difficult decisions for fear of consequences. We’ve taken a very hard line on Iran because the regime is inciting genocide. It’s an anti-Semitic regime that denies the Holocaust, which backs terrorism. I suppose if we kept quiet, some would think that would be better.” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird during an interview  with Postmedia News at Foreign Affairs headquarters in Ottawa. (Postmedia News, Dec. 22, 2012)

 

"This is a popular struggle. We still believe in all forms of the struggle. No one has removed the rifle from the equation. However, for us, the struggle is a means, and the end is freedom and independence."—Fatah Central Committee member, Jibril Rajoub. (Palestinian Media Watch, Nov. 5, 2012)

 

“After years of calling for peace, I decided that practicing peace is more important than talking about it. My visit is a message from the peaceful society of Egypt. We went through enough of violence and clashes and this situation has to end. We want to both live like human beings without violence, racism or walls. The main goal of my visit [to Israel] is to end my government’s monopoly on the peace process. Even If I fail, their [Egyptian government] feeling that there is a competitor will prompt them to work more seriously toward peace.”—Egyptian activist Maikel Nabil Sanad in a statement on his blog, according to an Al Arabiya report. Mr. Sanad spent ten months in military jails following Egypt’s revolution in early 2011 and is on a controversial visit to Israel. (Israel National News, Dec. 24, 2012)

 

“The economy is the basis of everything. Without services, boots, money, you cannot do anything. If the government cannot finance the army, they [soldiers] will simply go away.” —Samir Seifan, a prominent Syrian economist who fled last year commenting on the Syrian government’s serious depletion of currency reserves, speaking from Dubai. “Nobody is paying taxes. There is no fuel, and the electricity runs just a few hours a day. Everybody feels the government is going to fall.” —Abrahim Miro, a Syrian economist based in the Netherlands, who advises the opposition Syrian National Coalition. (Time World, Dec.  , 2012)

"The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judea at the time of the First Temple. The uniqueness of the structure is even more remarkable because of the vicinity of the site's proximity to the capital city of Jerusalem, which acted as the Kingdom's main sacred center at the time.” —Anna Eirikh, Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz, directors of the excavation at Tel Moza, less than five miles west of Jerusalem, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The ritual building and a cache of sacred vessels date back approximately 2,750 years. (Times of Israel, Dec. 26, 2012)

 

“How silly it is to suggest that Jews not mention our biblical connection to the land of Shechem, Hebron and Jerusalem. If not for that connection, why would Jews have regathered from the nations here and not in Uganda? Could you imagine suggesting that America's patriots be advised not to mention the historic actions of those who threw tea in the sea and rebelled against the British?”—David Haivri, director of the Shomron Liaison Office, an NGO that works closely with the local government promoting public relations for the towns of the region, in a Ynet News op-ed. (Ynet News, Dec. 26 , 2012)

 

“The Palestinians have a long history of involving themselves in the internal affairs of Arab countries and later complaining when they fall victim to violence. They complain they are being killed but not saying why they keep getting into trouble. Palestinians are not always innocent victims. They bring tragedy on themselves and then want to blame everyone else but themselves.”—Khaled Abu Toameh, a Palestinian journalist based in Jerusalem. (Gatestone Institute, Dec. 26, 2012)

 

“Yasser Arafat had made a decision to launch the Intifada. Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations], I met him in Paris upon his return, in July 2001 [sic]. Camp David has failed, and he said to me: “You should remain in Paris.” I asked him why, and he said: “Because I am going to start an Intifada. They want me to betray the Palestinian cause. They want me to give up on our principles, and I will not do so. I do not want Zahwa’s friends in the future to say that Yasser Arafat abandoned the Palestinian cause and principles. I might be martyred, but I shall bequeath our historical heritage to Zahwa and to the children of Palestine.” —Suha Arafat, Yasser Arafat’s widow on Dubai TV. (MEMRI, Dec. 16, 2012

"Jesus is a Palestinian; the self-sacrificing Yasser Arafat is a Palestinian; Mahmoud Abbas, the messenger of peace on earth, is a Palestinian. How great is this nation of the holy Trinity!"—official PA daily op-ed. (Palestinian Media Watch, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 30, 2012)

 

"The Palestinian nation is rooted in this land since the Canaanites and the Jebusites. The Arab presence – Christian and Islamic – on this land is uninterrupted. Jesus is a Palestinian par excellence."—Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories.  (Palestinian Media Watch, PA TV (Fatah), Nov. 30, 2012)

"In the birthplace of Christianity, we have seen over the years that the Christmas holiday has been reduced to snowmen and bells." —Pastor Steven Khoury of Holy Land Missions, the ministry behind putting up a 1200 square foot sign which reads: “"Jesus born to die and rose again. Invite him into your heart so you might live – Merry Christmas". Under growing pressure to remove the billboard in Manger Square, hee added, "The essential message of the holiday season has been taken away for fear of what the dominant factors in Bethlehem would say." (Eder of Ziyon, Dec. 21, 2012)

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

ISRAELI FIRM PRESENTS BREAST CANCER CURE(Tel Aviv) IceCure Medical has developed a revolutionary system allowing patients to be treated without surgery thanks to a technique that destroys tumors by turning them into ball of ice.  Doctors have begun treating women suffering from breast cancer, in trials, using a super-cooled needle tip to repeatedly freeze then defrost tumors, which has the ultimate effect of killing the harmful tissue. The technique can be completed in about 15 minutes, and provides an alternative to surgery. The device has already been approved for use in the United States, with IceCure hoping for European approval next year. (Ynet News, Dec. 20, 2012)

 

DISSIDENT EGYPTIAN BLOGGER LAUNCHES PEACE MISSION TO ISRAEL (Geneva) As reported today by the New York Times, Maikel Nabil, one of Egypt’s most famous human rights dissidents and democracy bloggers — a former political prisoner who is also his country’s most outspoken supporter of peace with Israel — has arrived in Jerusalem on a peace-building mission, where he will deliver university lectures, meet with leading public figures and peace activists, and visit the Palestinian territories. Mr. Nabil’s trip is organized by UN Watch." (UN Watch, Dec. 23, 2012)

 

STUDY: CHRISTIANITY 'CLOSE TO EXTINCTION' IN MIDDLE EAST(London) Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report. The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group. And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.  The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”. The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree. A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.” (The Telegraph, Dec. 23, 2012)

 

ISRAEL TO JOIN NATO OPS DESPITE TURKEY TENSION(Washington) Israel has received approval to participate in NATO activities in 2013 that had been held up amid tensions with Turkey.  The officials said the approval had come as Turkey’s request that NATO station Patriot missile batteries along its border with Syria was granted, leading them to assess that NATO was using the deployment as leverage to induce Ankara to thaw its relations with Israel. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 23, 2012)

CONGRESS TO OBAMA: TIME TO PUNISH ARABS FOR BLOWING UP OSLO AND BLOWING OFF THE US(Washington) A bi-partisan majority of congressional members sent a letter to U.S. President Barak Obama late last week.  In the letter, the members insist that the time has come for this U.S. government to hold the Arab Palestinian leadership responsible for their bald refusal to comply with repeated requests from the United States government to refrain from seeking an enhanced status at the United Nations General Assembly, as is required of the Arabs under the Oslo Agreements under which it is bound. The PLO pledged in the Oslo Agreements that it would take no unilateral actions to change the status of the disputed territories and Gaza. (Jewish Press, Dec. 25, 2012)

SENIOR HAMAS LEADER CALLS FOR THIRD INTIFADA—(Jerusalem) A senior Hamas leader Tuesday called for a third intifada and the resumption of suicide bombings against Israel. Ahmed Halabiyeh, director of the Jerusalem Department in Hamas, said that armed Palestinian groups, including Hamas, should initiate a confrontation with Israel over its plans to build new houses in Jerusalem and its suburbs. The Palestinians, he added, should resort to various methods of resistance, first and foremost "martyrdom operations in the heart of Israel." Abu Halabiyeh urged Palestinians to "ignite a third intifada to save the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem." (Jerusalem Report, Dec. 25, 2012)

 

IT'S OFFICIAL: ARIEL UNIVERSITY RECOGNIZED(Ariel) Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed Central Command chief Nitzan Alon to officially recognize the Ariel University Center as a university, and a day after the change is already evident on the ground. The university has changed its logo as well as its signs which now read "Ariel University in Samaria." On Tuesday [Dec. 25], Alon signed the decree that upgraded the institution' status. Meanwhile, the Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities continues to try to torpedo the move. On Tuesday, it motioned the High Court of Justice to issue an interim order instructing the commander of IDF forces in Judea and Samaria not to recognize the university. (YNet News Dec. 25, 2012)

 

EGYPTIAN ARMY THWARTS ROCKET SMUGGLING TO GAZA(Cairo) Armed Forces personnel in North Sinai, in cooperation with local Bedouins, foiled an attempt on Monday to smuggle 17 rockets to Gaza, the Egyptian state news agency MENA reported. A military source told the agency that the rockets are a French-made TDI model, caliber 68 mm, range three kilometers ​​and can be used air to land or land to land. The Armed Forces have been engaged in an ongoing mission to secure the Sinai Peninsula and borders with Gaza and Israel, said MENA. (Israel National News, Dec. 25, 2012)

 

HIGH-RANKING SYRIAN GENERAL DEFECTS(Damascus) Syria’s embattled leadership suffered a new setback on Wednesday with the publicly broadcast defection of its military police chief, the highest-ranking officer to abandon President Bashar al-Assad since the uprising against him began nearly two years ago. The defector, Maj. Gen. Abdul Azia Jassem al-Shallal, announced his move in a video broadcast by Al Arabiya, saying that he had taken the step because of what he called the Syrian military’s deviation from “its fundamental mission to protect the nation and transformation into gangs of killing and destruction.” There was some indication that he was now inside Turkey. (New York Times, Dec. 26, 2012)

 

ARAB NATIONS STILL RENEGING ON PLEDGES TO THE PA(Jenin) Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Sunday criticized Arab states for evading their financial commitments to the PA. Arab countries have yet to follow through on a pledge in March to provide a financial safety net of $100 million monthly to the PA to mitigate Israeli sanctions, which were imposed in November. During a visit to Jenin, Fayyad called for an urgent Arab summit to address the PA's financial crisis. (Maan News Agency, Dec. 25, 2012)

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

Why Arabs Hate And Kill Palestinians: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 26, 2012— The Arab League did not hold an emergency meeting to discuss what Palestinians describe as "massacres " against the refugees in a Syrian camp, home to more than 50,000 people. Those who meddle in the internal affairs of Arab countries should not be surprised when bombs start falling on their homes. Palestinians are not always innocent victims. They bring tragedy on themselves and then want to blame everyone else but themselves.

 

Biblical claim to the land?: David Ha'ivri, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 26, 2012—When I mention to my guests that the majority of the so called "settlers" in this region are secular Israelis, many ask "but why would seculars choose to live in the West Bank?" People have been taught by the media that it is only religious fanatics like myself who believe that this is part of Israel.
 

Canada takes sides, not a world referee: BairdLee Berthiaume, Postmedia News, Dec. 22, 2012—Canada is not an “even-handed referee” in the world and will be no more of an honest broker with those who support terrorism than it was with fascism and communism, says Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. In a wide-ranging end-of-year interview with Postmedia News on Friday, Baird said the federal government won’t tolerate excuses for those who engage in terrorist activities, and that Canada will continue supporting right over wrong.

 

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine (current issue: “Israel’s Levy Report”:  ISRAZINE.

 

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by fax and e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our Briefing series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, contact us at http://www.isranet.org/.

 

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible membership contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address or “Donate” button on Website)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s Briefing series attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Institute.

 

 

Ber Lazarus
Publications Editor
Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme   www.isranet.org  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax:(514) 486-8284

WHITHER IRAN—MORE NEGOTIATIONS, ANOTHER OFFER, ECONOMIC BLOCKADE, MILITARY ACTION—TO BE DECIDED IN 2013

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

Time for an Economic Blockade on Iran: Mark Wallace, Real Clear World, Dec. 13, 2012—The recent demonstrations and protests in Iran over the increasingly perilous state of its economy are the latest and most powerful sign that the economic war is having a tangible impact. There is no doubt that punitive financial and economic sanctions have contributed greatly to the collapse of Iran's currency, the rial.

 

US and Partners Prepare Modest Offer to Iran: Barbara Slavin, Al- Monitor, Dec 19, 2012—Weeks of deliberations among the United States and its fellow negotiators have produced an offer to Iran very similar to the package Iran rejected last summer, casting doubt on chances for breaking the long stalemate over Iran’s nuclear program.

 

2013: The year of Iran: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Dec. 19, 2012—We’ve been saying it for years: This coming year represents the moment of truth on Iran.Except that this year, it’s for real: 2013 represents the moment of truth on Iran. The year the Iranians pass the point of no return in their drive to the bomb. Or the year, one way or another, they are dissuaded.

 

Changes to Canada’s Terror List a Shot Across Iran’s Bow: Campbell Clark, The Globe and Mail, Dec. 20, 2012—The Canadian government has listed the clandestine branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization and, at the same time, removed a controversial Iranian opposition organization, the People’s Mujahedin, from the terror list.

 

On Topic Links

 

Congress Approves New Iran Sanctions, Missile Defense Funding: JTA, Dec. 24, 2012

'Hamas preparing for West Bank takeover': Jerusalem Post, Dec. 23, 2012

Iran's Conservatives Push for a Deal: Ray Takeyh, National Interest, Dec. 21, 2012

Feeling the Pain in Tehran: Nazila Fathi, Foreign Policy, Dec. 21, 2012

Christianity 'close to extinction' in Middle East: Edward Malnick, The Telegraph, Dec. 23, 2012

 

 

TIME FOR AN ECONOMIC BLOCKADE ON IRAN

Mark Wallace

Real Clear World, Dec. 13, 2012

 

The recent demonstrations and protests in Iran over the increasingly perilous state of its economy are the latest and most powerful sign that the economic war is having a tangible impact. There is no doubt that punitive financial and economic sanctions have contributed greatly to the collapse of Iran's currency, the rial. Iran now suffers from hyperinflation and the rial has fallen by 80 percent in the past year. As history has shown, durable hyperinflation such as this can result in public unrest and, occasionally, regime change.

 

The conventional wisdom of the past was that sanctions against Iran would have little impact because of Iran's vast oil wealth. That was, in retrospect, flawed thinking. In the past year, Iran's acceleration of its nuclear program and defiance of the IAEA, its sponsorship of terrorism and its destabilizing behavior in countries like Syria finally prompted the international community to act. The loss of Iranian oil has had little effect on the market so far, as countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Libya have made up for the loss.

 

The sanctions now in place are beginning to have a dramatic impact, as Iran's currency is collapsing. As a result of hyperinflation, we have seen Iran's currency exchange market become paralyzed. Licensed exchange bureaus refused in recent days to do business at the officially imposed rate of 28,500 rials to the dollar, while black market dealers were offering the dollar at a rate of 35,500 rials, sparking protests and a violent crackdown. Significantly, the ire of the protesters was primarily directed at the regime for its mismanagement, and for actions that led to sanctions in the first place.

 

If history is any guide, the leaders of Iran have reason to worry, as there is a correlation between hyperinflation and regime change. In Indonesia, hyperinflation and the collapse of the rupiah from 2,700 to the dollar to nearly 16,000 over the course of a year was one of the principal sources of discontent, which brought people out to the streets to overthrow the Suharto regime. In the case of Yugoslavia, hyperinflation was the motivating force that led Slobodan Milosevic to start a war to divert attention from the monetary crisis facing the country — a war that led to his ultimate defeat.

 

Regardless of the precipitating event, hyperinflation can signal the death knell of a regime. We often forget that a "Persian Spring" preceded the Arab Spring, and that Iran has not only restive minorities, but a restive middle class frustrated with a corrupt theocratic regime, culminating in protests over the 2009 election. If the regime faces increased and durable hyperinflation, Iran's demographics suggest that the mullahs' brutal hold on power could face serious challenges.

 

At this critical stage, it is time for U.S. and EU policymakers to do all they can to build upon and ensure the durability of Iran's hyperinflation. The best way to do so is by implementing a total economic blockade that would pit the vast purchasing power of the world's two largest economies against that of Iran. Such an economic blockade would bar any business, firm or entity that does work in Iran from receiving U.S. and EU government contracts, accessing U.S. and EU capital markets, entering into commercial partnerships in the U.S. and EU or otherwise doing business in the U.S. and EU. The result would be an immense economic barrier to entry into Iran's marketplace, and would place unprecedented pressure on the rial.

 

Other steps to pressure the rial could be taken as well. As the rial devalues, Iranians seek the safe haven of dollars and gold in the currency markets of Afghanistan and Iraq and the gold markets in Turkey. Stemming the ease of accessibility to dollars and gold would further pressure the rial. Other creative ideas include impeding the flow of sophisticated currency printing technology and other products that have been previously provided to Iran's central bank by European vendors. In fact, recently the German currency printer Koenig & Bauer AG announced the cessation of its provision of bank note printing equipment and services in Iran under pressure from United Against Nuclear Iran, seriously impeding Iran's ability to manipulate its money supply and maintain the integrity of the rial.

 

It is time to present the mullahs in Iran with a clear choice — they can forego a nuclear weapon or they can have a functioning economy. To be sure, there is no guarantee that even a total economic blockade will prevent Iran from changing its strategic calculus to develop a nuclear weapons capability. But as the prospects of war over the next months increase, does the international community not owe it to itself to say it has exhausted all other options? It surely makes sense to try, particularly since we have seen the impact current sanctions are having on the regime. And the human cost of hyperinflation, though at times great, is far less than those of a nuclear-armed Iran or a preemptive military conflict.

 

Ambassador Mark D. Wallace is CEO of United Against Nuclear Iran. He served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Representative for U.N. Management and Reform.

 

Top of Page

 

 

US AND PARTNERS PREPARE MODEST OFFER TO IRAN

Barbara Slavin

Al- Monitor, Dec 19, 2012

                 

Weeks of deliberations among the United States and its fellow negotiators have produced an offer to Iran very similar to the package Iran rejected last summer, casting doubt on chances for breaking the long stalemate over Iran’s nuclear program.

 

The “refreshed” proposal includes spare parts for Iran’s aging Western jetliners — a perennial carrot — and assistance with Iran’s civilian nuclear infrastructure but no specific promise of sanctions relief, Al-Monitor has learned. Perhaps as a result, Iranian officials appear to be in no hurry to agree to a date to meet again with the so-called P5 +1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

 

Following US presidential elections, US officials began mulling a more generous proposal but have settled for a conservative position. Iran will be expected to agree to concessions before knowing exactly what it would get in return. Iran has been sending mixed signals in advance of new talks. Foreign Minister Ali Akhbar Salehi said Monday [Dec. 17]: “Both sides … have concluded that they have to exit the current impasse,” and that “Iran wants its legitimate and legal right and no more.” But Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said Tuesday [Dec. 18] that Iran would not stop enriching uranium to 20% U-235, a key international demand.

 

Another factor reducing expectations for upcoming negotiations is Iran’s reluctance so far to agree to a one-on-one meeting with the United States at which the Obama administration might be more forthcoming than in a multilateral setting.  Both sides appear to be unwilling to undertake major risks, diminishing the chances for a breakthrough or a breakdown of negotiations. The US and its partners appear to feel that time is on their side as economic sanctions bite deeper into the Iranian economy. Iran, meanwhile, is amassing larger quantities of low-enriched uranium that could improve its bargaining position down the road.

 

There is also the question of transition in both countries. Although Barack Obama was re-elected president, he will be naming new secretaries of state and defense soon and there may be a new US negotiating team. Iran is beginning to gear up for its own presidential elections next year and jostling has already begun within the conservative elite over who will replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remains the ultimate decision maker.

 

Patrick Clawson, an Iran specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he has been told that the Obama administration has “a firm determination not to let the [US] transition slow down the process.” While some members of the US negotiating team are departing, the head negotiator, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, is likely to stay on for at least a while and has a good relationship with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the probable nominee to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

 

A bold offer to Iran would require President Obama to spend political capital that he may prefer to use for other purposes including avoiding the so-called “fiscal cliff,” getting his nominees for a new Cabinet approved and now in the wake of mass shootings at a school in Connecticut, gun control.

 

Barbara Slavin is Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, where she focuses on Iran. 

 

Top of Page

 

 

2013: THE YEAR OF IRAN

David Horovitz

Times of Israel, December 19, 2012

 

We’ve been saying it for years: This coming year represents the moment of truth on Iran.

 

Except that this year, it’s for real: 2013 represents the moment of truth on Iran. The year the Iranians pass the point of no return in their drive to the bomb. Or the year, one way or another, they are dissuaded.

 

It’s the now or never year. But will it be now or never? Speak to some of those who claim to know Barack Obama best of all, and the response is definitive. The president is not bluffing. He means it when he says he will thwart a nuclear Iran by whatever means necessary — up to and most certainly including the use of force. This is not about protecting Israel, or rather not just about protecting Israel. It’s about American credibility. It’s about American interests throughout the Middle East — defending those interests against an Iranian regime that is already ideologically and territorially rapacious and that would be terrifyingly more potent if its ambitions were backed by a nuclear weapons capability. And it’s about the president’s sense of his historic obligation and legacy — Obama as protector, pushing hard now for gun control at home, and determined to reduce, ideally eliminate, the nuclear peril worldwide.

 

Speak to some of the president’s bitter political rivals, and the assessment is withering. An Obama resort to force? Not a snowball’s chance in hell. Forget the fine rhetoric about containment not being an option. This is a president bent on extricating the United States from combat zones, not plunging his forces into new military misadventures. This is a president who knows the electorate shudders at the prospect of confrontation with Iran.

This is a president who wants to appoint Chuck Hagel, firm opponent of a resort to force against Iran, as his next defense secretary. This is a president who had to be dragged into Libya by the French and the British, and who hasn’t lifted a finger as Bashar Assad waged war in Syria for almost two years. This is a president whose commitment to Israel can be gauged by his readiness to pick a major fight with Benjamin Netanyahu over building in an established ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of East Jerusalem (Ramat Shlomo) two years ago, a president who couldn’t spare half an hour for Netanyahu in the US this fall, even as he was insisting Israel hold its fire on Iran and thus entrust its security to him.

 

So which Obama are we betting on? The stakes for Israel could hardly be higher.  The coming months will provide ostensible evidence for both assessments. The US will engage in new efforts at diplomacy, insisting it is seeking a negotiated solution to the standoff.

 

A necessary precursor to a US-led resort to force, some will say. It is typical of Obama, they will argue, that he is both exhausting all other options, and being seen to exhaust all other options, in order to maximize perceived international legitimacy and support for armed intervention when — not if — he gives the order to strike.

 

Far from it, others will counter. Diplomacy and more diplomacy and more diplomacy — that’s the Obama way. And when it’s too late, the president will tell his public that he tried — that he pleaded and cajoled and demanded. That he did everything short of military action. But that Iran would not be budged. And that he opted not to resort to a preemptive military strike, recognizing that the America that just reelected him would have been horrified by such action, and that he is confident the Iranians would not dare target the United States.

 

Where do these absolutely conflicting assessments leave Israel? Worried. Wary. Uncertain.  It’s just possible that the two leaders, despite their frustrations with each other — “you did your best to help my rival”; “you’ve never really understood the challenges my country faces” — have reached a private understanding. If so, it could only be in the form of a pledge by Obama to Netanyahu: If the Iranians haven’t suspended the program by this or that date in 2013, America will strike.

 

That could explain the relative absence of bitter rhetoric emanating from Jerusalem these past few months. No more talk of the need for US-set red lines. No more dismal daily declarations from the prime minister that sanctions haven’t slowed the Iranian program “one iota.” It would explain the cessation of US administration warnings to Jerusalem to hold fire, the cessation of off-record briefings by administration officials warning Israeli journalists that their government is flirting with disaster, bringing the region to the brink of apocalypse.

 

Or it could be that there are no understandings — merely that, their public sparring over, the American and Israeli leaders have retired to their respective corners, a little bruised but far from broken, to plan their next moves.  If so, the dilemma for Netanyahu — who surely wanted to hit Iran last summer, but was derailed by the weight of opposition from the US and from his own security chiefs present and past — is unenviable, indeed. Existentially unenviable.

 

If he heeds the assessments of those Obama confidantes, watchers and friends who believe the president does have the stomach to order in the bombers, then just maybe he dares let Israel’s already much-narrowed window of opportunity to thwart Iran close altogether — even though to do so is to place Israel’s destiny in the hands of others, a breach of every independent Zionist fiber of the prime ministerial being.

 

And if he heeds the Obama critics, the insiders and the observers who scoff at the notion of a presidential resort to force, he will be preparing for a desperate, immensely risky utilization of Israeli military power, unprecedentedly far away, on targets hardened against precisely such intervention, over the objections of Israel’s greatest ally, with potentially catastrophic repercussions even if everything goes as planned.

 

He will be torn, furthermore, between a certain fealty to his late father’s fierce mindset — confront the threat, take action, use the Jewish nation’s hard-won restored sovereign power to strike down the latest advocates of Jewish genocide — and his own far more cautious inclinations, his tendency to talk the talk (on defying international pressure on settlements, refusing to negotiate with terrorists, ousting Hamas) but not always walk the walk.  He’ll know he could be saving Israel, or he could be dooming it. We’ll all find out, it rather seems, in 2013.

 

Top of Page

 

 

CHANGES TO CANADA’S TERROR LIST
A SHOT ACROSS IRAN’S BOW

Campbell Clark

The Globe and Mail, Dec. 20 2012

 

The Canadian government has listed the clandestine branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization and, at the same time, removed a controversial Iranian opposition organization, the People’s Mujahedin, from the terror list.  The two moves together mark an effort to label, isolate and pressure Iran, with whom Canada broke off ties earlier this year.

 

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced in a statement that the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard, a clandestine arm of the elite military unit that exerts powerful influence over Iran’s government and economy, has been added to the list. It was added for providing arms and training to terror organizations including Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, he said.

 

“The listing of terrorist entities sends a strong message that Canada will not tolerate terrorist activities, including terrorist financing, or those who support such activities.” That listing makes it illegal for Canadians to support or finance the organization, although that is likely to be a largely symbolic step in this case. Earlier this year, Ottawa declared Iran a state sponsor of terrorism and it recently imposed sanctions that limit doing business with the Revolutionary Guards.

 

But the Canadian government also took another step aimed at backing opponents of the Tehran regime, by removing the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), or People’s Mujahedin, from the terror list.

 

The MEK, once one of the groups involved in Iran’s 1979 revolution, has long been included on the terror list, but Western nations, considering it an opponent of the regime in Tehran, have started removing it from lists of terror organizations. The European Union stopped listing the MEK as a terror group in 2009, and the U.S. followed suit in September of this year.

 

But the MEK remains controversial, as human-rights groups have accused it of abuses at its camps in Iraq, and some dissidents within Iran dislike the West’s recent willingness to accept the group’s activities.

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

Congress Approves New Iran Sanctions, Missile Defense Funding: JTA, Dec. 24, 2012—The final version of a defense funding act headed for President Obama’s desk includes enhanced Iran sanctions the president opposed as well as additional funding for Israel’s missile defense.

 

'Hamas Preparing for West Bank Takeover: Jerusalem Post, Dec. 23, 2012—Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal instructed the terror group's sleeper cells in the West Bank to prepare themselves for armed struggle to take control of the Palestinian territory, The Sunday Times reported.

 

Iran's Conservatives Push For A Deal: Ray Takeyh, National Interest, Dec. 21, 2012—As Washington contemplates another round of diplomacy with Iran, an intense debate is gripping the Islamic Republic’s corridors of power. An influential and growing segment of Iran’s body politic is calling for a negotiated settlement of the nuclear issue. Such calls have transcended the circle of reformers and liberals and are increasingly being voiced by conservative oligarchs.

 

Feeling the Pain in Tehran: Nazila Fathi, Foreign Policy, Dec. 21, 2012—Iran's Ministry of Intelligence did something remarkable last month: It used its website to publish a report (link in Farsi) calling for direct talks with the country's foe, the United States. In the report, entitled "The Zionist Regime's Reasons and Obstacles for Attacking Iran," the traditionally hawkish ministry highlighted the benefits of diplomacy and negotiations with the United States: "One way to fend off a possible war is to resort to diplomacy and to use all international capacities."

 

Christianity 'Close to Extinction' in Middle East: Edward Malnick, The Telegraph, Dec. 23, 2012—Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report. The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”. The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree. "A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.”

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

 

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

 

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

POSITIVE ECONOMIC & POLITICAL PROSPECTS FOR ISRAEL, A JEWISH RETURN TO SPAIN?

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

Israel winning in Europe: Arsen Ostrovsky,Ynet News, Dec. 14, 2012—Before the ink was even dry on the Palestinian vote at the UN last week, headlines already started flooding on how Israel 'lost Europe.' The reality however, could not be further from the truth, as Israel continues to make stunning headway in its trade and bilateral relations with the EU.

 

Israeli Find Barrels Of Shale Oil In 'Game Changer': Sharon Udasin, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 17, 2012—Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI), which has already completed an exploratory pre-pilot drilling phase in Israel’s Adullam region near Beit Shemesh, has claimed that the area – also called the Shfela Basin – contains approximately 250 billion barrels of shale oil, amounts that could be competitive to the amount of crude oil in Saudi Arabia.

 

A Tepid ‘Welcome Back’ for Spanish Jews: Doreen Carvajal, New York Times, Dec. 8, 2012—Top government officials pledged to speed up the existing naturalization process for Sephardic Jews who through the centuries spread in a diaspora — to the Ottoman Empire and the south of Italy; to Spain’s colonies in Central and South America; and to outposts in what are now New Mexico, Texas and Mexico..

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Israeli Cardboard Bike Revolutionizes Transportation: Algemeiner, Oct 18, 2012

Groundbreaking Innovations in Hydroelectricity: Gedaliah Borvick, Times of Israel, Oct. 18, 2012

Massachusetts, Israel Cooperate to Build Water Innovation: Sharon Udasin, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 18, 2012

 

 

ISRAEL WINNING IN EUROPE

Arsen Ostrovsky

Ynet News, Dec. 14, 2012

Before the ink was even dry on the Palestinian vote at the UN last week, headlines already started flooding in on how Israel 'lost Europe.' The reality however, could not be further from the truth, as Israel continues to make stunning headway in its trade and bilateral relations with the EU.

 

Anyone familiar with the mechanisms of the United Nations, where the Palestinians enjoy an automatic anti-Israel majority, never seriously doubted the outcome. Despite the predictable posturing by President of Germany, the Jewish state may have liked a few more 'no' votes in their camp, but given the choice, Israel would take tangible results over symbolic victories at the UN any day.

 

Regrettably, when commentators lament how Israel has 'lost' Europe, they overlook the impressive list of achievements by this government in the past four years. For example, in May 2010 the OECD unanimously voted to invite Israel to join the organization. This was no small achievement, and came despite intensive lobbying by the Palestinians. Even countries like Norway, Spain and Ireland, traditionally the most hostile to Israel in Europe, voted in favor.

 

In September 2011 Israel became the first non-European member of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, while in July this year the EU and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen their scientific cooperation in the fields of energy and water desalination, where Israel is a world leader.

 

Moreover, in October the European Parliament ratified the ACAA agreement (Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products) with Israel. The agreement is unprecedented in that it recognizes Israel’s industrial standards as equivalent to those in Europe, especially in healthcare, and is a prime example of a 'win-win' situation for both Europe and Israel.

 

According to David Saranga, the head of European Parliament Liaison Department for the Israeli Mission to the EU: "The ACAA protocol will eliminate technical barriers to trade by facilitating the mutual recognition of assessment procedures. This will in turn help lead to facilitating imports of high-quality, low-cost Israeli medicines into the EU, while at the same time increasing medicinal choice for European patients and healthcare professionals."

 

In the last few years, Israel has also held an increasing number of government-to-government meetings at the highest level of Cabinet with various European allies, including the Czechs, Italy, Poland, Bulgaria and Germany….As a result of these meetings, Israel has signed a number of significant bilateral agreements in areas of high-tech, green energy, culture and the sciences.

 

This year alone, Israel has signed multi-billion dollar gas deals with Cyprus and Greece; Israel’s Aerospace Industries has secured two contracts worth nearly $1 billion to provide Italy with air force military equipment; whilst the past year has also been Israel’s “best tourism year ever”, with more than 3.5 million visitors to the Holy Land – most of whom have come from European countries.

 

Importantly, in 2011 the EU was Israel's largest trading partner, with total trade amounting to approximately €29.4 billion for the year – an increase of 45% from 2009; and this came during the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis in Europe….

 

Whilst the United States will always remain Israel's most important ally, the Foreign Ministry, under the present political leadership, has made a concerted effort to reach out to allies in Europe (and elsewhere) that had been neglected in the past. Perhaps the key factor behind Israel’s success in Europe has been its ability to successfully extricate 'the conflict' from their bilateral relations.

 

Previously, there had been a direct correlation between how the conflict was progressing and Israel's trade relations. Today, Israel has created an environment in which its bilateral agreements are increasingly judged on trade merits alone, while membership in international organizations is based on the same criteria as for every other nation – that is, what can Israel contribute by way of skills, experience and expertise. No, Israel has not 'lost' Europe. Rather, Israel is 'winning' in Europe.

 

Arsen Ostrovsky is an International Human Rights Lawyer and freelance journalist.

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

ISRAELI FIND BARRELS OF SHALE OIL IN 'GAME CHANGER'

Sharon Udasin

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 17, 2012

 

Developing a firmer understanding of shale oil’s chemical complexities is crucial to oil explorers in both Israel and North America, who are drilling in shale rock and sand in the search for alternatives to traditional OPEC crude, an expert told The Jerusalem Post in an interview last week.

 

Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI), which has already completed an exploratory pre-pilot drilling phase in Israel’s Adullam region near Beit Shemesh, has claimed that the area – also called the Shfela Basin – contains approximately 250 billion barrels of shale oil, amounts that could be competitive to the amount of crude oil in Saudi Arabia. The company intends to acquire the oil by drilling a production well and surrounding in situ heating wells approximately 300 meters below the Earth’s surface, in order to melt the hydrocarbon-filled sedimentary rock from within the ground before extraction.

 

While the country’s green groups adamantly protest the drilling process as potentially catastrophic both below and above ground, the company has repeatedly stressed that an impenetrable layer of rock separates the shale layer and the water aquifer, and that there will likewise be little permanent surface impact.

 

Prof. Carol Parish, of the chemistry department at the University of Richmond in Virginia, has called the oil shale finds in Israel a “game changer,” but also said it was crucial to study the relatively new resource on a molecular level, and compare it to traditional crude oil. “In order to fully harness this resource, it is necessary to develop a thorough understanding of the petroleum chemistry and reactivity of the molecular constituents of oil shale,” Parish said.

 

Upon completing a Fulbright fellowship with Prof. Sason Shaik, director of the Lise Meitner Minerva Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at Hebrew University, Parish spoke last week with The [Jerusalem] Post about the importance of studying shale oil on such a close level. Parish visited Israel under the Fulbright fellows academic exchange program, which works in partnership with the US-Israel Educational Foundation that manages Israeli participation in the program.

 

In her research, Parish is looking at applying quantum mechanics techniques to the characterization of molecules in alternative energy sources, particularly oil sand and oil shale. “There are actually a lot of parallels with the development of petroleum crude,” she said.

 

Yet in typical light, sweet crude oil, about 90 percent of the molecules exist in long, straight chains and about 10% are cyclical, Parish explained. The reverse is true for shale oil molecules in that they are predominantly cyclic. Because crude oil is made up almost entirely of straight chains, this is where the bulk of molecular research has thus far been done on oil. Parish, on the other hand, is looking at the cyclical molecules that dominate shale oil.

 

Often as a result of the cyclical molecules, diradicals – molecules with two dangling electrons – can form. According to Parish, diradicals are very difficult to properly characterize because many are very reactive. Visiting Shaik’s lab in Israel for four months allowed her to learn a specific quantum mechanics technique called the Valence Bond Theory, aiding in the understanding of the bonding that occurs between the diradicals.

 

With this knowledge, scientists will be able to derive a more accurate characterization of the shale molecules, comprehending the combustion and pyrolysis – decomposition of compounds by heat in the absence of oxygen – that are the foundation for petroleum production, she explained.

 

Due to Shaik’s expertise in Valence Bond Theory and the huge oil shale supply in the country’s Shfela Basin, Parish stressed that the “the two things put together caused Israel to be the perfect place to pursue this kind of work.”

 

During her time here, Parish said her work with Shaik amounted to a great success. “We were able to characterize a diradical system which hadn’t been characterized using valent bonds,” Parish said, noting that she now has 90% of the results necessary to publish her research. Because IEI plans to heat the shale in-situ, meaning while it is still underground, rather than pump sludge to a refinery, Parish said she believes that the process will be a much cleaner one than methods that have thus far prevailed.

 

“The advantage to the Israeli method is that they’re going to get it pure, directly out of the ground, and don’t have to ship it to the refinery,” she said. “They are basically going to do the refining right out of the ground.”

 

She noted that another advantage the Israeli shale deposits have over those of the US is that “there is an impenetrable layer of material that separates oil shale deposits from the water table.” In the US, on the contrary, the two layers are often intermixed.

 

Because she is not a geologist and therefore could not officially confirm IEI’s claims that an impassable barrier separates the shale and the aquifer, she stressed that “it would be an outright lie to say what they are saying if it is not true.” Parish suggested that the green groups who doubt IEI’s claims raise funds to bring in third-party geologists to survey the region.

 

Ultimately, focusing on her own research, Parish said she hopes to be laying the groundwork for further research into the characteristics of shale oil, as the world continues to demand more and more long-term, sustainable sources of energy. “The harvesting of oil shale is a very new field and people become more interested in alternative energy like that when the price per barrel of conventional fuel rises,” Parish added.

 

“There has to be an economic motivation in order to harvest alternatives. I believe that we can get a better understanding of the energy content and the reactivity of these alternative sources of fuel,” she said. “That too will motivate the development of more sophisticated techniques to harvest the alternative fuels.”

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

A TEPID ‘WELCOME BACK’ FOR SPANISH JEWS

Doreen Carvajal

New York Times, Dec. 8, 2012

 

Top government officials pledged to speed up the existing naturalization process for Sephardic Jews who through the centuries spread in a diaspora — to the Ottoman Empire and the south of Italy; to Spain’s colonies in Central and South America; and to outposts in what are now New Mexico, Texas and Mexico.

 

I am conducting a global search for a missing menorah that my great-aunt Luz concealed in a commode in her cramped bedroom in a garden apartment in San José, Costa Rica. She preserved it until she died, in her 80s, in 1998, when she was buried swiftly the next day with a Sabbath-day psalm on her funeral card — cryptic signs of my Catholic family’s clandestine Sephardic Jewish identity because the prayer avoided any reference to the trinity or Jesus.

 

I tallied these and other Carvajal family clues a few days after the Spanish government heralded its new immigration reform last month. Five hundred and twenty years after the start of the Inquisition, Spain opened the door to descendants of Sephardic Jews whose ancestors had fled the Iberian Peninsula, forced, in order to live in Spain or its colonies, to choose between exile or conversion to Christianity. Or worse.

 

Top government officials pledged to speed up the existing naturalization process for Sephardic Jews who through the centuries spread in a diaspora — to the Ottoman Empire and the south of Italy; to Spain’s colonies in Central and South America; and to outposts in what are now New Mexico, Texas and Mexico.

 

Spain’s foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, sought to address his nation’s painful legacy when he revealed the reforms, declaring it was time “to recover Spain’s silenced memory.” But the process is much more complicated than it appears, and some descendants are discounting the offer as useless, or even insulting, as it dawns on them that they are excluded.

 

Some of those converts in Spain’s colonies — still within the reach of the Inquisition — led double lives for generations, as I learned from writing a book about my own family’s concealed identity. They lived discreetly, maintaining Jewish rituals that would have put them in peril if they had been discovered. They risked confiscation of wealth, prison, torture or death. Some relatives knew, some didn’t and others refused to see.

 

For this act of heresy, living life as Jews, a branch of Carvajal converts in the 16th century was decimated in the Spanish colony of Mexico by burning at the stake. They are called anousim — Hebrew for the forced ones — crypto Jews or Marranos, which in Spanish means swine. I prefer a more poetic term that I read in a French book: silent Jews who lived double lives.

 

The Spanish offer was not as simple as it first sounded, and almost immediately evoked a mix of reactions. The Federation of Sephardic Jews in Argentina, for one, was elated. But there were some hard questions from bnei anousim, the descendants of the anousim. They were concerned about criteria that were not widely explained.

 

Genie Milgrom, president of the Jewish Genealogical Association of Greater Miami, researched her family’s unbroken Sephardic Jewish line through 19 generations of grandmothers to Spain. She said she had no interest in Spanish citizenship in “a country that extinguished my heritage.” But for those who want nationality, she said Spain “needs to be abundantly clear on what they are going to do with the anousim.”

 

The proof of Jewish identity among the anousim is often pieced together like a mosaic of broken Spanish tiles. Clues range from last names to cultural customs in the home to intermarriages among families with traditional Sephardic Jewish names.

 

In my case, I have a family tree ornamented with such names, since ancestors had an enduring habit of marrying among trusted distant cousins to protect their secret lives. Is it enough, though, to offer the Spanish government a family tree? Or what about Aunt Luz’s old menorah if I can ever find it? My great-grandfather had a habit of visiting a local rabbi in San José weekly. Was that evidence of interior religious lives?

 

When I asked Isaac Querub, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, about the criteria for anousim, I was startled by the response. To be naturalized and become citizens, secular bnei anousim Jewish applicants whose families had maintained double lives as Catholics must seek religious training and undergo formal conversion to Judaism. It is the federation that will screen and certify the Sephardic Jewish backgrounds of applicants who seek the documents that can be submitted to the government to obtain citizenship. Mr. Querub said that what the government meant by Jews is “the Sephardic descendants who are members of the Jewish community.”

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

Israeli Cardboard Bike to Revolutionize Transportation in Developing Nations: Algemeiner, Oct 18, 2012—An Israel inventor, Izhar Gafni, has created a bicycle made nearly entirely out of cardboard as well as a new model of “green” transportation production that could allow poor nations to get bicycles for free.

 

Groundbreaking Innovations in Hydroelectricity: Gedaliah Borvick, Times of Israel, Oct. 18, 2012—The story of Israel’s burgeoning energy industry is absolutely fascinating as it reinforces the “can do” spirit of the Jewish nation. While its neighboring countries account for four of the top six oil producers in the world, Israel – ranked way down the list at number 98 – is rising to the occasion by discovering creative alternative energy solutions.

 

Massachusetts, Israel Cooperate to Build Water Innovation: Sharon Udasin, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 18, 2012—As Massachusetts eagerly seeks Israeli partners in water innovation, a Herzliya-based firm specializing in rapid microbiological water testing will get the chance to showcase its systems in the New England hi-tech hub.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

JÉRUSALEM : UN IMPÉRATIF JUIF ET SIONISTE

 

 

 

 

Construire à Jérusalem : un impératif juif et sioniste
Éditorial
upjf.org, 19 décembre 2012

 

Les condamnations internationales et européennes faisant suite à l’annonce de la construction de 1500 logements à Ramat Shlomo ne sont pas une surprise, mais il est utile de rappeler à cette occasion quelques vérités occultées par les médias, en France notamment. Comme l’a déclaré le Premier ministre israélien Binyamin Nétanyahou, la construction à Jérusalem est une politique constante de tous les gouvernements israéliens depuis 1967, qui jouit d’un large consensus au sein de la population israélienne.

 

Contrairement à ce que qu’affirment les dépêches mensongères de l’AFP, le quartier de Ramat Shlomo n’est pas situé à « Jérusalem-Est », ni dans un « quartier de colonisation », mais au nord de la capitale israélienne, dans une zone urbaine habitée en majorité par des Juifs religieux au taux de natalité élevé.

 

La construction de logements d’habitation dans sa capitale est non seulement le droit élémentaire de tout gouvernement souverain, mais c’est aussi une nécessité vitale pour répondre à la pénurie de logements à Jérusalem.

 

Le fait que cette décision purement administrative soulève les condamnations internationales est difficilement compréhensible et s’explique par ce que le général Michel Darmon appelait la « croisade contre Jérusalem » de la communauté internationale et de la diplomatie française en particulier.

 

Les Juifs du monde entier sont indéfectiblement attachés à Jérusalem, capitale du peuple Juif depuis l’aube de son histoire plurimillénaire. Face à des ennemis voués à la haine et à la destruction, Israël construit, édifie et embellit sa capitale, Jérusalem, ville de paix où coexistent – depuis sa réunification en 1967 et pour la première fois dans l’histoire – Juifs, chrétiens et musulmans.

 

« Les chiens aboient, la caravane passe » dit le proverbe. Malgré les condamnations internationales, la construction à Jérusalem se poursuivra, car elle n’est pas seulement un droit, mais aussi un impératif juif et sioniste. Am Israël Haï ! Le peuple Juif est vivant !

 

La Shoah et le silence des intellectuels juifs américains
Blogue Philosémitisme, 22 décembre 2012

 

L'antisémitisme, brièvement discrédité par l'Holocauste, est devenu l'idéologie "par défaut" de l'Europe. L'Europe pourrait devenir judenrein dans la prochaine décennie. 

 

Edward Alexander, professeur émérite d'anglais à l'Université de Washington, vient de publier un nouvel ouvrage “The State of the Jews: A Critical Appraisal” (L'État des Juifs: une évaluation critique). Le Professeur Alexander a accordé une interview à Peter Kelley pour l'Algemeiner.
 
Le titre du livre est volontairement ambigu et se réfère à la Terre d'Israël, au peuple d'Israël, et à la relation entre eux. C'est un sujet très ancien, défini dans sa forme la plus spectaculaire et accusatoire par Moïse lui-même quand il reproche aux fils de Gad et de Ruben: "Vos frères iront-ils à la guerre, et vous, resterez-vous ici?"
 
Edward Alexander rappelle que, pendant la persécution et l'extermination des Juifs d'Europe par les nazis et leurs collaborateurs, les intellectuels juifs américains y ont prêté peu d'attention, voire pas d'attention du tout. Irving Howe a reconnu que ce fut un manquement moral. Et Saul Bellow a reconnu que personne en Amérique n'avait pris toute la mesure de l'extermination des Juifs. Que par ailleurs seulement quelques juifs, comme Primo Levi, avaient vraiment compris ce qui était arrivé.  Bellow explique que les intellectuels se sont mutuellement fait des reproches et que toute personne ayant un peu de conscience se rend compte de la honte d'un tel comportement.
 
Non seulement les intellectuels juifs firent preuve d'une indifférence terrible envers le sort de leurs frères d'Europe mais également envers ce que les Juifs de Palestine avaient accompli. Or quelques années après la destruction des Juifs d'Europe, le peuple juif avait créé l'Etat d'Israël. Une création qui provoqua l'admiration de Winston Churchill que la qualifia de: "événement dans l'histoire du monde à être considéré dans la perspective, non pas d'une génération ou d'un siècle, mais dans la perspective de mille, deux mille ou trois mille ans."
 
La conviction qui sous-tend le livre du Professeur Alexander est que le peuple paria est devenu l'État paria, et que la question nazie – "Les Juifs ont-ils le droit de vivre?" – a été remplacée par la question "anti-sioniste", une question habituellement posée par les "progressistes": "Israël a-t-il le droit d'exister?" En d'autres termes, les Juifs, parce qu'ils sont Juifs, ne peuvent pas encore considérer le droit de vivre comme un droit naturel.

 

Pakistan: homme brûlé vif par 200 musulmans pleins d’amour et de tolérance
Jean-Patrick Grumberg

dreuz.info, 22 décembre 2012

 

Brûler un homme est moins terrible que brûler un coran, selon les musulmans.
 
Un homme qui a été accusé d’avoir brûlé un Coran au Pakistan a été brûlé vif par la foule qui a forcé les portes du commissariat où il était détenu.
 
Il avait passé la nuit dans une mosquée de Seeta, dans la province du Sindh (sud), et l’imam a retrouvé des restes carbonisés du coran le lendemain matin.
 
« Il était seul dans la mosquée durant la nuit, il n’y avait personne d’autre pour faire cette terrible chose », a déclaré l’imam, Maulvi Memon, qui n’a pas considéré que brûler un homme soit aussi terrible que brûler le coran.
 
Les villageois avaient déjà lynché l’homme avant de le remettre à la police mais quelques heures plus tard, 200 personnes est revenu sur place, et a fracturé le commissariat, traîné l’homme dehors, et brûlé vif.
 
Lorsque les musulmans brûlent une mosquée, comme à Bruxelles en avril dernier, de nombreux coran sont détruits, mais là, miracle !, aucun musulman ne proteste jamais. Et c’est parce que je dénonce ces atrocités que la police de la pensée me traite de fasciste, jamais ceux qui les commettent. Cela m’encourage d’ailleurs à continuer.

WHITHER THE “WEST BANK”/GAZA: TWO STATE, THREE STATE, EIGHT STATE (EMIRATE) SOLUTIONS?

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

 

(Please Note: articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click link for the complete article – Ed.)

 

Thoughts on Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Part II: Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 13, 2012

Palestine was a desolate, barely inhabited, backwater of the Ottoman Empire until the Mandate, the British and the Zionist movement that led to the creation of the State of Israel, brought it back to life.

 

What’s Really Going on in Gaza?: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Jewish Press, March 16th, 2012—A week of missiles was supposed to change the focus of interest in the Middle East from Homs to Gaza, from Syria to Israel, from Assad to Netanyahu. This was the plan of Iran and its few followers in Gaza. But it didn’t succeed, and for the usual reason – the sociological factors of the Middle East.

 

Who Wants a Palestinian State?: Moshe Dann, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 26, 2012—The Palestinian Authority’s moves at the United Nations for recognition of a Palestinian state have raised objections. Since many support the idea, however, including some Israeli politicians, and with little hope for successful negotiations, the PA’s move seems logical.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Original Thinking: Palestinian Emirates (Part 1): Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2012

Moderate Proposals To Stop A Palestinian State: Daniel Tauber, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 2012

The Eight State Solution: Mordechai Kedar, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Aug. 2, 2012

Corridor Of Controversy: Nadav Shragai, Jerusalem Post  Dec. 13, 2012

The New Palestinians: Angry Youth Are Proposing A Radical New Paradigm: Prof Menachem Klein, Jerusalem Report, Nov. 19, 2012

Israel Should Let the PA Collapse: Elad Benari, Israel National News, Dec. 2, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

THOUGHTS ON ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT: PART II

Barry Shaw

Jerusalem Post,  Dec. 13, 2012

 

Palestine was a desolate, barely inhabited, backwater of the Ottoman Empire until the Mandate, the British and the Zionist movement that led to the creation of the State of Israel, brought it back to life.

The anthropology of the Arab inhabitants in the disputed territories consisted of pastoral and static tribes or roaming Bedouin tribesmen. They were joined by a flow of Arab immigration from places such as Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon, attracted by the employment opportunities created by the Zionist enterprise….This is today’s mix in what is called the Palestinian Arab population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but the basic original ingredient was the various tribes that still exist today.

 

Those who migrated to this region left behind artificial states that are, today, in conflict and disarray. We see the disintegration of states such as Iraq, Libya and Syria because they have been artificially concocted from rival tribes and ethnicities that are forced to live together, but with a generations-old hatred of one another, in one state under a rulership they do not accept. The Palestinians haven’t even got to that unhappy state yet. Would it, therefore, be wise to create such a mess now?

 

This short series of articles presents the concept and the architecture of the idea of a Palestinian Emirates. The concept leaves the engineering and maintenance to others, such as diplomats, leaders and think tanks, to construct the project. According to Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University, and formerly of IDF Military Intelligence, the creation of a series of city states based on traditional and legitimate tribal leadership, rather than an artificial, weak and dysfunctional nation state, is the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. The basis of successful local leaderships is inherent in its own population.

 

These states can decide their own form of government, make their own laws, educate their own people, and print their own currency if they wish, have their own media, develop their own industry and commerce, or have their people find employment within Israel. The structure gives control and responsibility to the local residents to decide their own future. In time, when a number of independent city states emerge, they can unite in a Palestinian Emirates body, similar in form to the Persian Gulf states. They can work together for their mutual benefit, including in commerce, tourism, security, regulations and other interconnecting interests.

 

Kedar visualizes eight such city states that will contain the majority of the Palestinian Arab population, with freedom of movement between them. They will be interconnected into a federation of Palestinian Emirates, if they wish. It’s in Israel’s interest to foster close cooperation with such city states. The leaders will be dependent on a cooperative neighbor for trade, employment, influence, contact with the outside world and security.

 

For Israel, these city states can be a source of local industry, trade and commerce, as well as be security buffer zones. Instead of the existing West Bank and Gaza blocs of enmity, it will be possible to develop mutually positive relations with these smaller independent entities. Once both sides feel confident and comfortable with the success of the working model, the city states can have their own security and police forces which could be trained and equipped by Israel. Until then they should be guaranteed the protection of Israel to keep them safe from external forces wishing to destroy their quest for independence.

 

Dr. Kedar walked me through the list of local tribes. Tulkarm residents belong to the Karmi tribe. Al-Masri is the leading family in Shechem (Nablus). Barghouti is the Ramallah tribe. Erekat is the ruling family in Jericho. The Jabaris are the prominent tribe in Hebron, although Hebron also has the Abusnena, Qawasme and Natche tribes.

 

Kadar points to Hebron as the perfect place to create the pilot model of a future Palestinian Emirates. Although there are several tribes there, they have coexisted due to the traditional tribal court in which they settle all their differences without the need for a police or security force. The fiercely independent Sheikh Farid al-Jabari has been critical of the Palestinian Authority. He has spoken and written strongly to Mahmoud Abbas, whom he refers to as “the foreigner” due to the fact that Abbas is not from the territories, but from Safed, and has no tribal roots in the area. This traditional environment gives Kedar the key to opening the box to a different future for Arabs living in the territories, and hope for Israel and the world for a better, peaceful world….

 

Each of the emirates could apply to the Israeli government for permits to expand its territory for industrial, commercial, residential or recreational development, just as the Israeli towns and villages apply for building extensions in their areas. Israel would supervise the development of the road and rail systems, water and electricity supplies, to supply the emirates just as they would to the nearby Israeli communities. A patchwork quilt of Palestinian city states and Israeli towns and villages would emerge in the territories, each giving allegiance to their own governing body. There would be coordination and cooperation between the federation of emirates and the Israeli government in a stronger form than the existing coordination between the PA and Israel.

 

Israel would use its influence within the European Union and America to bring foreign aid, development and commerce to each of the cooperating emirates. There would be less waste of funds and easier accountability in the city states than has been the case with the PA. Israel would approve the flow of emirate goods and products to Israeli ports for shipment abroad. Israeli entrepreneurs would be encouraged to partner with Palestinian Emirates businessman in joint ventures. The Israeli government would allow residents from each of the city states to find employment in Israel in preference to the many thousands of foreign laborers who work in our agriculture and on our building sites today.

 

The plan is fraught with dangers. Any chieftain or tribe willing to become an independent entity will be accused of treason by peace killers stubbornly determined to use the Palestinians as cannon fodder in their attempts to eradicate the Jewish State of Israel. It will take courage to declare an intention to attempt a brave new experiment in statehood. That is why the support of the United Arab Emirates may be an essential ingredient in implementing the project.

 

Surely it is to the benefit and credit of the UAE to promote and assist in the replication of their political system for the sake of their Palestinian Arab brethren? It would certainly strengthen their political model in the eyes of the world at a time of turmoil throughout the Middle East.  One thing the Palestinian Emirates concept has going for it is time. Maybe the time isn’t yet ripe, but Middle East conflicts aren’t going away any time soon. More time will be wasted before a death certificate is issued for the body of a dead two-state project, and other ideas will be considered.

 

During that time the seed of the Palestinian Emirates idea can be planted, cultivated and allowed to flower into a sensible solution that has a successful model elsewhere in the region. Just imagine the UAE duplicating its example by adopting the city states project. Just as Western countries adopt twin city projects, perhaps Dubai will twin with the Emirate of Hebron, or Abu Dhabi will adopt Tulkarm, and guide them into a confederation of Palestinian Emirates? Israel need have no fear of such a commitment. On the contrary, this could act to Israel’s benefit.

 

The idea of a Palestinian Emirates must be allowed out into the open to give it breathing space, thinking space, talking space, to allow it to germinate and spread, to be adopted by think tanks and policy-makers so they can assemble the nuts and bolts that will go into the construction of this project….The idea must be advanced cautiously, with discretion, and with courage. It can only succeed when men of influence and vision put their reputation on the line for its success.

 

None is better placed to do so than the rulers of the emirates of the Persian Gulf. They should step forward to raise their unfortunate Palestinian Arab brethren to a brighter future modeled on the framework of their own existence. By offering their best efforts in solving this seemingly impenetrable problem, crafted in their own image, they would elevate their prestige on the world stage. This may sound like wishful thinking, but so is a two-state solution that is going nowhere.

 

The notion of a Palestinian Emirates in no way negates the affirmation of a Palestine as a non-member of the United Nations. This resolution did not refer to a governmental construct of a future Palestine. Neither did it recognize any authority to govern over such an entity, neither for the PA nor for Hamas. The mention of a Palestinian entity within the pre-1967 borders does not negate the concept of a Palestinian Emirates within such boundaries.

 

Respect and honor are part of the Arab DNA. The Palestinian Emirates project should appeal to the local inhabitants because it goes to the heart of who they are, and not to some false narrative concocted by politicians and outsiders they do not respect. It honors their ancient tribal traditions. It gives respect and dignity to the head of each tribe. It respects the political and social system they have known for generations. Once proven, it will give them a better life, a better future for them, for Israel, for the region, and a peaceful resolution to the conflict bringing with it respect and cooperation with its neighbors, including Israel….

 

Barry Shaw is the author of Israel Reclaiming the Narrative. He is also the special consultant on delegitimization issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at the Netanya Academic College. 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN GAZA?

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Jewish Press, March 16, 2012

 

A week of missiles was supposed to change the focus of interest in the Middle East from Homs to Gaza, from Syria to Israel, from Assad to Netanyahu. This was the plan of Iran and its few followers in Gaza. But it didn’t succeed, and for the usual reason – the sociological factors of the Middle East.

 

I have emphasized again and again the dominance of tribalism within Middle Eastern culture, and the important role played by traditional frameworks of relationship – such as ethnic, tribal, religious, sectarian – in private as well as in communal life. I downplay the influence of foreign ideologies that have been imported from Europe, from communism to democracy, and from nationalism to liberalism, which have all failed in the effort to formulate a culture of public domain in the Middle East. Dictatorship is the practical expression of the failure of these ideologies.

 

What remains is only the person, together with his family, extended family, clan, and tribe. This is the only thing which is real, alive and kicking, that functions as it always has, and the only framework that is capable of bestowing on an individual identity, a sense of belonging, a livelihood, and physical defense and security.

 

One of the foundation stones of tribal culture is the antagonism between the tribe and the modern state, a state which was imposed upon the tribe by foreign colonialism and its local derivatives. States have always tried to impose themselves upon the individual and upon the tribe; including their symbols, values, laws and leaders, and have tried to substitute these in the hearts of the people instead of those of the tribe, and its symbols, values, leaders, and laws. In Arab societies that have undergone dissolution and turned into more individualistic societies – Egypt and Tunisia for example – the state has succeeded in settling in the hearts of the people, and uprooting the loyalty to the tribe. In the tribal societies of most of the other Arab states, the state is forced to yield part of its sovereignty and to accept the existence and limited authority of the tribe. In order not to confront the tribe, the state compromises and comes to an understanding with the tribe, in an effort to placate its members.

 

The Gaza Strip is no different from the rest of the Arab world, so tribal culture is alive and kicking in the Gaza Strip too. Ever since the Hamas movement took control of Gaza trip in 2007, it has transformed itself from a gang of jihadists into a ruling organization which has a state, government, advisory council, legal system, police, military and economic bodies. Thus, Hamas has turned into a standard Arab state, which is attempting to impose its agenda upon the tribes and the clans that live in the Strip. The State of Hamas serves the interests of the group that leads it, and therefore it is in constant conflict with the tribes and the clans and must reach agreements with them.

 

The minor movements – Islamic Jihad, the PRC (Popular Resistance Committees), the Salah-a-Din Division, the Army of the Nation, the Army of Islam and others – function like tribes, challenging the authority of the state, which is in the hands of Hamas. Today, these groups are doing to Hamas what Hamas did to the PLO twenty years ago when the PLO was in power. The widespread corruption among the top echelons of Hamas strengthens the influence of the small organizations that oppose Hamas. What encourages these organizations is the fact that Hamas has “hung up the gloves” and is trying to reach a calm with Israel. Hamas has not become a Zionist organization, and has not changed its covenant or its sole goal: to eliminate Israel and bring an end to the “occupation” of Jaffa and Acre, not only Hebron and Nablus. However, in the present historic phase it is suspending its battle against Israel in order to establish a state which, when the time comes, will be the basis from which the war of the destruction of Israel will be waged. The small organizations do not accept this suspension of jihad and call Hamas derogatory names such as “The Israeli Border Guard” and the “South Lebanese Army”.

 

From a practical point of view, Hamas is capable of eliminating the organizations, just as it dealt with the Army of Islam, of the Dughmush clan in August of 2008, and as it eliminated Sheikh Abd Al-Latif Moussa’s Islamic Emirate of Jerusalem in cold blood in August of 2009 in a mosque in Rafah, murdering him, his wives and children and 24 followers. As of today, in the year 2012, Hamas refrains from imposing itself on the small organizations by force of arms so that it will not become the “Israeli Border Guard”in the eyes of Gazans, and prefers to come to an agreement with them; to compromise with them and to calm them down….

 

Iran, which would like Gaza to be a constant battlefront, no longer supports Hamas, and has transferred its support to organizations that undermine the hegemony of Hamas in Gaza. Right now, when the world is focused on the slaughter of citizens in Homs, Syria…Iran is encouraging its underling organizations to stoke the fire in Gaza….

 

Israel need not tamper with the Gazan social structure or try to re-engineer the tribal map and its interests. The State of Hamas – with all its problems of terrorism and jihadism – serves the interests of Israel, because it breaks the Palestinian dream into pieces, and also proves to Israelis who are captivated by the dream of peace, that what’s happening now in Gaza may happen again, but in a larger, more dangerous version, in Judea and Samaria, if Israel transfers control of that area to Middle Eastern culture. Many of the Israeli cities of the center are within range of the mortars, the kassams and the missiles that might be launched from the hills of Judea and Samaria. Therefore, Israel must find a solution that will free us from the majority of the Arab population in Judea and Samaria but allow us to remain in the rural areas. The eight-state solution, which is based on the tribes living in the Arab cities in Judea and Samaria is the only solution that is based on the extant social framework of the Middle East, and will provide Israel with security. Not absolute peace, because there is no such thing in the Middle East, but relative peace, that will need some maintenance from time to time. In the Middle East, only the invincible can have peace because only if a group is strong, will the other groups leave it be.

 

Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

WHO WANTS A PALESTINIAN STATE?

Moshe Dann

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 26, 2012

 

The Palestinian Authority’s moves at the United Nations for recognition of a Palestinian state have raised objections. Since many support the idea, however, including some Israeli politicians, and with little hope for successful negotiations, the PA’s move seems logical. They can continue to attack Israel diplomatically and legally, continue incitement, raise their stature, and avoid recognizing Israel.

 

However, Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties with Israel, why can’t the Palestinians? Simply put, because Israel’s existence contradicts theirs. Pushing a “peace process” that requires Palestinian Arabs to give up their opposition to a Jewish state, the international community can’t figure out why it doesn’t work. The answer is that the dispute is not over territory; it’s about ideology.

 

Palestinianism, the basis of the Arab/Muslim war against Zionism, the State of Israel as the national historic homeland of the Jewish People, is part of a broad Islamist revolution throughout the world against non-Muslim infidels. Understanding the mission of Islamism explains why efforts to impose a Palestinian state, the “two-state” proposal and the “peace process” are doomed to fail. Palestinians don’t want a state alongside Israel, but one that replaces Israel. The primary goal of Palestinian nationalism is to wipe out the State of Israel, not to permit its existence.

 

Any form of Palestinian statehood, therefore, that accepts Israeli sovereignty in what Muslims believe is their land stolen by Jews, is, by their definition, heretical. That is clear in both the PLO and Hamas Charters and the position of Arab leaders (in Arabic). Palestinianism is not a national identity, but a political construct developed as part of a terrorist agenda when the PLO was formed in 1964. Palestinian identity means the struggle to “liberate Palestine from the Zionists,” not to accept them. An international cause, it bound Arabs and Muslims together, as part of jihad throughout the world.

 

“Two-state” proposals, therefore, with Palestinian statehood alongside Israel as a territorial goal, means the end of Palestinianism and an end to the struggle to eradicate Israel. This explains why no Palestinian leader will agree to surrender to Western and Israeli interests, and why making compromises is anathema. Statehood in only part of Palestine means a denial of the “Nakba” (catastrophe), the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It means admitting that everything for which they fought and sacrificed was in vain.

 

Statehood means abandoning millions of Arabs who live in 58 UNRWA-sponsored “refugee camps” in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and those living throughout the world; they will no longer be considered “refugees.” UNRWA will be out of business. Statehood means “the armed struggle,” the crux of Palestinian identity, is over. It means that the concept of Palestinianism created by the PLO, accepted by much of the international community and the media, the struggle to “liberate Palestine,” is finished, and that their suffering was for naught.

 

Statehood involves taking responsibility – ending incitement and violence, corruption and lawlessness, and building just and transparent institutions, the establishment of a truly democratic government. Accepting Israel means ending the Palestinian revolution, a national betrayal and an Islamic heresy. In this context, for Palestinians and their supporters, the “peace process” is a metaphor for defeat.

 

The PA’s move at the UN is a way to achieve recognition and legitimacy without compromising their opposition to Israel.

 

The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

Original Thinking: Palestinian Emirates (Part 1): Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2012 —Mahmoud Abbas may have had the support of a mass of UN members to ram through a “non-member” status for “Palestine,” whatever “non-member status” means. Surely you’re either a member, or not? Non-member status is like being almost pregnant.

 

Moderate Proposals To Stop A Palestinian State: Daniel Tauber, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 2012—The UN recognition of a Palestinian state is a wake-up call to those who think we can continue to pass the buck down the years. At some point, Israel must put the brakes on the train to Palestinian statehood, and the sooner the better, as the more time passes the greater the sense of inevitability and the weaker our negotiating position.

 

'Incitement against Israel in PA is getting worse': Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2, 2012—Incitement and inflammatory language against Israel in the Palestinian Authority is at the worst level since Jerusalem began systematically measuring it in 2009, Strategic Affairs Ministry director-general Yossi Kuperwasser told the cabinet Sunday.

 

Israel Should Let the PA Collapse: Elad Benari, Israel National News, Dec. 2, 2012—Israel should let the Palestinian Authority collapse, particularly in the wake of its unilateral statehood bid at the United Nations, says Professor Efraim Inbar. Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University.

 

The New Palestinians: Angry Youth Are Proposing A Radical New Paradigm: Prof Menachem Klein, Jerusalem Report, Nov. 19, 2012—It’s not the economy, stupid, that’s shaking the foundations of the Palestinian Authority. On the contrary: For the new, angry, disillusioned young generation of Palestinians, the economy is a tool Israel uses to perpetuate PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s tottering regime.

 

The Liberman Proposal: Dan Gordon, Jerusalem Post Dec 17, 2012—Israel’s diplomatic standing opposite the international community is at the lowest it has been in recent memory. At best, Israel is viewed as a neo-colonialist occupying power of a downtrodden and homeless people. At worst, it is seen as a racist apartheid state oppressing the Palestinian ethnic minority and guilty of numerous war crimes against them.

 

Corridor Of Controversy: Nadav Shragai, Jerusalem Post  Dec. 13, 2012—The site called E1 (East 1) is an area immediately adjacent to Jerusalem to the east, which covers an area of 1,200 hectares of largely uninhabited and mostly state-owned land. It is within the municipal boundary of Ma’aleh Adumim.

 

The Eight State Solution: Mordechai Kedar, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Aug. 2, 2012—Palestinian territorial contiguity is dangerous for Israeli national security. For security and demographic reason, Israel must retain as much land as possible in the West Bank. Evacuation of these areas will create a dangerous situation for Israeli security and eventually will necessitate reconquering extensive parts of the West Bank. 

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org