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On Topic Links  


Embarassment for Erdogan: He Wanted a Supermajority, and He Got a Minority: Patrick Brennan, National Review, June 7, 2015

Prospect of Instability Looms as Turkish Voters Deny Erdogan a Majority: Tim Arango, New York Times, June 9, 2015

Western Defeat in Ukraine: Roger Cohen, New York Times, June 4, 2015

The Supreme Court Decision on Jerusalem Lets Obama Ignore Reality: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, June 8, 2015




"We are having a discussion on the shared interests of the Western democratic world…Mr. Putin, who is in no way part of that, has no place at the table, and I don't believe there's any leader who would defend Mr. Putin having a place," —Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, at the G7 summit. Harper also said the Russian economy has little in common with Western ones: "Mr. Putin…runs an economy that is dominated by oligarchs and criminal syndicates. It is not at all like our economy…it doesn't share our values, and so I think we need to have discussions where we can really rally the shared interests of the Western democratic world." (CBC, June 8, 2015)


“Only an insane person and only in a dream can anyone imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO,” —Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin, of course, was not present at what was formerly known as the G8 summit. He was kicked out of the group last year after Russian troops invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. And since then Russia has also put former Soviet republics, Scandinavia and much of the rest of Europe on edge by conducting a series of major military exercises, and by sending fighter jets and bombers to test the margins of NATO air space. Putin has even hinted that Russia might use nuclear weapons. On the eve of the G7 meeting, Putin’s only comments were blaming the West for any problems in Ukraine. “By the grace of God, I have nothing to regret in my life,” he added. (National Post, June 7, 2015)


“Today’s decision is a first…Never before has this court accepted a president’s direct defiance of an act of Congress in the field of foreign affairs,” —John G. Roberts Jr., Chief Justice of the United States. In an important separation-of-powers case, the Supreme Court on Monday struck down a law that would have allowed American parents of children born in Jerusalem to obtain passports saying the children were born in Israel. The president, rather than Congress, must determine national policy on the status of Jerusalem, the majority said. The vote was 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissenting. (New York Times, June 8, 2015)


“A principle that the nation must have a single foreign policy, which elevates efficiency above the text and structure of the Constitution, will systematically favor the president at the expense of Congress…It is possible that it will make for more effective foreign policy, perhaps as effective as that of Bismarck or King George. But it is certain that, in the long run, it will erode the structure of equal and separated powers that the people established for the protection of their liberty,” —Justice Scalia, announcing his dissent from the bench, a rare move indicating bitter disagreement over the Supreme Court ruling on Monday. The case concerned a 2002 law that instructed the State Department to “record the place of birth as Israel” in the passports of American children born in Jerusalem if their parents requested the designation. The law was meant to take a symbolic stand on the status of Jerusalem, which has long divided not only Israelis and Arabs but also Congress and presidents of both parties. (New York Times, June 8, 2015)


"It will be interesting to see if this silence continues when we use all our strength in exercising our right to defend ourselves…It should be clear: the hypocrisy that is sweeping the world will not chain our hands from defending the citizens of Israel," —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu said he hadn't heard anyone condemn three rocket attacks from Gaza over the past two weeks. Early Sunday, the Israeli military carried out an airstrike in the Gaza Strip in response to the latest rocket attack from the Hamas-ruled territory. (Yahoo, June 7, 2015)


“Already, the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two-state solution,” —U.S. President Barack Obama. In an interview last week with Israeli television, Obama said: “I don’t see the likelihood of even a framework agreement” being possible in the nineteen months remaining in his presidency. Furthermore, the President made it clear that the U.S. might not even be in Israel’s corner when future initiatives aimed at recognizing a Palestinian state come to a vote at institutions such as the United Nations Security Council. France is expected to put forward such a proposal in September. (Globe & Mail, June 4, 2015)


“Although it is up to the president of the Orange group to determine the commercial strategy of the company, France is firmly opposed to a boycott of Israel,” —French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, after the partly state-owned French telecommunications company Orange said it would seek to withdraw its brand from the Israeli market. The company’s decision was seen in Israel as the latest in a rapid succession of blows meant to isolate and punish the country over its policies toward the “Palestinians.” Last week, Israel’s opponents tried to eject it from FIFA, the global soccer governing body. The chief executive of Orange, Stéphane Richard, denied that his remarks about withdrawing from Israel were related to pressure from boycott activists. (New York Times, June 5, 2015)


“It’s true there are schools [in France] where you cannot teach the Holocaust,” —Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, to an audience in Israel. French law prohibits Holocaust denial in the classroom. Recent reports have indicated that as many as three antisemitic attacks are committed against Jews in the country every day. Coming on the heels of an Israel boycott controversy sparked by the CEO of French mobile giant Orange, Sarkozy rejected a French boycott of Israeli companies, calling such efforts “unacceptable.” He said it was up to CEO Stephane Richard’s to visit Israel in order to explain himself. “I know that Stephane Richard will come here to explain himself,” said Sarkozy, who many believe is gearing up for another run at the French presidency in 2017. (Algemeiner, June 8, 2015)


“The past few years have been a golden era for Anglo-Israeli business… Over the past 67 years, Israel has made business bloom in the barren desert…What really excites me are the possibilities for the years that lie ahead,” — British Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid, during an annual British Israel Business event. The MP, self-described as a “proud British-born Muslim,” and keynote speaker at Monday’s event said he held Israel in high regard, and expected bilateral trade and services– currently valued at about $6.9 billion — to continue to grow. “Over the years I’ve taken a great interest in [Israel’s] affairs. Because the values that have made Israel such a success are values that matter a great deal to me. I share Israel’s love for freedom and democracy. I admire its tenacious determination when the odds are stacked against it,” he said. (Algemeiner, June 9, 2015)  


“It is simply incomprehensible that as America confronts the most diverse and complex array of crises around the world since the end of World War II, that a President would veto funding for our military to prove a political point,” —Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R., Ariz.). U.S. lawmakers clashed in the Senate last week over the annual defense policy bill, previewing a bigger political battle looming this fall over government spending. Traditionally a bipartisan effort, this year’s defense bill has sparked an early fight over whether to lift spending caps established in 2011, known as the sequester, for both military and domestic spending. (Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2015)


“The Islamic Revolution, as the manifestation of the new Islamic civilization in the fight against the arrogant powers, has expanded its activities, and now the arrogant powers, with the US as its pivot, are moving on the path of confrontation against the Islamic Revolution,” —Brigadier-General Hossein Salami, Deputy Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Salami made his comments at a theological school in the Iranian city of Qom. The clerics and Salami were assembled in the city for a seminar “to highlight current crimes in Yemen,” a reference to the Saudi-led ongoing “Operation Decisive Storm.” Salami alleged that, while the “crimes of the Zionists in Lebanon” received global media attention, there were no reporters in Yemen to reflect the country’s realities. “The Yemeni people are more oppressed than the Palestinian people and the Saudi attack against Yemen is the most stupid war in the history,” Salami said. (Algemeiner, June 7, 2015)


“I clearly say to Israel: the Resistance (Hezbollah) threatens to displace millions of Israelis in the next war if imposed on Lebanon,” —Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. He appeared to be responding to comments from an unnamed senior IDF official to military reporters that Israel, if it had no choice in a future war with Hezbollah, would force 1 million to 1.5 million Lebanese residents to evacuate their homes in order to target the Hezbollah missile launchers and other weaponry emplaced in the villages of southern Lebanon. “We are not afraid of your war or of your threats…If you assume that we are busy in Syria, then you are wrong — because this changes nothing in how we deal with our enemy,” Nasrallah said.  (Times of Israel, June 5, 2015)


“On Passover, when they are not allowed to eat regular bread, they make their matzos…They would knead the dough for these matzos with children’s blood. When this was discovered, the Israelites were expelled across Europe. That was the beginning of the calamity of the Israelites in European countries. It got to the point where they were burned in Germany. It was because of all these things because of their multiple kidnappings of children. There were many such cases,” —Sheik Khaled Al Mughrabi, a lecturer at the Al Aqsa Mosque. The Palestinian Authority supervises all lectures in the Al Aqsa Mosque. (Jerusalem Online, June 8, 2015)






TURKISH ELECTION SINKS ERDOGAN’S BID TO CEMENT POWER (Istanbul) — Turkish voters dealt a major setback to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s campaign to consolidate power in an election Sunday that ended his Islamist-rooted government’s 13-year majority rule. For Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for a decade, the result marked the most stunning rebuke of his career: scuttling his bid to win a constitution-changing majority to further centralize power. All three opposition parties clubbed together to oppose Erdogan’s plans to shift Turkey, a key U.S. ally, from a parliamentary to a presidential system—a move he argued would increase government efficiency, but which they said would be a step toward dictatorship. (Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2015)


SOUTH CAROLINA BECOMES FIRST US STATE TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST ANTI-ISRAEL BOYCOTTS (Washington) — South Carolina’s governor has signed into law a bill to stop efforts to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, in a first for the nation on a statewide level. The bill makes no mention of Israel directly, but prevents public entities from contracting with businesses engaging in the “boycott of a person or an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with whom South Carolina can enjoy open trade.” The premise of the law is that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), discriminates against the people of Israel and weakens the economy of South Carolina. Illinois lawmakers passed similar legislation last month, also with unanimous support from state representatives. (Jerusalem Post, June 5, 2015)


ISRAEL-LINKED COMPUTER VIRUS ATTACKED HOTELS WHERE IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS HELD (Washington) — Three European hotels that hosted the Iran nuclear talks reportedly were targeted by a computer virus widely believed to be used as spyware by Israel. Each of the unnamed hotels was targeted by a version of the Duqu virus about two weeks before hosting the negotiations between Iran and world powers, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing researchers at a leading cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab ZAO, based in Moscow. Kaspersky does not identify Israel by name as being responsible for the virus, which allows the hacker to eavesdrop on conversations and steal electronic files, and could also enable the hacker to operate two-way microphones in hotel elevators, computers and alarm systems. (JTA, June 10, 2015)


EU SAYS NO IRAN DEAL WITHOUT RECKONING OF NUCLEAR ACTIVITY (Vienna) —Iran must cooperate with a stalled UN probe of suspicions that it worked on atomic arms if the country wants a nuclear deal that will see removal of sanctions, the European Union said Monday. The cautionary EU statement comes ahead of a June 30 target date for such an agreement. Iran denies any work on — or interest in — nuclear arms and has fended off IAEA demands for cooperation with its investigation. The EU statement says getting to the bottom of the allegations “will be essential” to a nuclear deal. (Times of Israel, June 8, 2015)


HEADS OF CIA AND US MILITARY VISIT ISRAEL AHEAD OF IRAN DEADLINE (Jerusalem) —CIA Director John Brennan paid a visit to Israel last week, meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and top security officials to discuss the emerging agreement with Iran over its nuclear program and ways to ensure that it adheres to its terms. His unpublicized visit came several days before that of the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey. A few days before his arrival in Israel, Brennan told "Face the Nation" that the diplomatic and political tensions between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu are not harming cooperation between the intelligence organizations of the two countries. (Ynet, June 9, 2015)


SAUDIS CONSIDER IRAN, NOT ISRAEL, THEIR MAIN FOE, SURVEY FINDS (Jerusalem) —An Israeli college has conducted an opinion poll in Saudi Arabia, concluding that the Saudi public is far more concerned about the threats of Iran and the Islamic State group than Israel, and that the vast majority of Saudis support a decade-old peace offer to the Jewish state. The two countries are longtime foes with no diplomatic relations. The poll found that 53 percent of Saudis named Iran as their main adversary, while 22% said it is the Islamic State group and only 18 percent said Israel. The poll also showed that a majority of Saudis think their country should seek nuclear weapons if Iran acquires an atomic bomb. (Times of Israel, June 4, 2015)


SAUDI ARABIA SHOOTS DOWN MISSILE FIRED FROM YEMEN (Sana’a) — Saudi Arabia shot down a Scud ballistic missile fired from Yemen early Saturday by forces loyal to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, according to the official Saudi news agency. It was the first time Yemeni factions had used the weapon, signaling an escalation of the conflict and providing new evidence that a Saudi effort to pacify the rebels is faltering. Saudi Arabia and forces loyal to the Houthis have traded sporadic fire across the border since late March, when an Arab coalition led by the Saudis began a military offensive to force the Houthis to retreat from Sana, the capital, and other cities in Yemen. (New York Times, June 6, 2015)


EGYPTIAN POLICE FOIL BOMB ATTACK AT KARNAK TEMPLE IN LUXOR (Cairo) —Egyptian police on Wednesday foiled a bomb attack against a bus carrying foreign tourists in the southern city of Luxor, one of the country’s most famous historic sites. Two of the assailants were killed and one was wounded in the attack near the ancient Karnak Temple on the banks of the Nile. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assault, but it was among the first to directly target foreign tourists since Egypt’s military deposed Mohammed Morsi in a coup two years ago. Wednesday’s assault was also the first apparent terrorist attack in Luxor since Islamists shot dead 62 people in the Hatshepsut Temple in 1997. (Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2015)


RUSSIA AND EGYPT HOLD FIRST EVER JOINT NAVAL DRILLS (Cairo) — Russia and Egypt are holding their first-ever joint naval exercises in a bid to strengthen ties amid Moscow's confrontation with the West. Several Russian naval vessels including the Moskva missile cruiser, the corvette Samum, the tanker Ivan Bubnov and landing ship Alexander Shabalin are participating in the exercises. Egyptian frigates Taba and Sharm El-Sheik are taking part in the drills off the port of Alexandria. Russia is seeking to expand its reach in the Arab world's most populous country after its ties with the West crumbled following the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine last year. President Vladimir Putin visited Egypt last February, his first visit to the country in a decade. (Defense News, June 10, 2015)


JAHANZEB MALIK ORDERED OUT OF CANADA (Toronto) —A Pakistani man accused of plotting bomb attacks on the U.S. consulate and financial district in Toronto was ordered out of Canada on Friday following a process his lawyer denounced as a farce. Jahanzeb Malik, who will not contest the decision, is now expected to be deported within the next several weeks. An undercover RCMP officer who befriended the 33-year-old flooring contractor testified that Malik was an extremist who professed sympathies for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. The agent said Malik showed him videos of ISIS beheadings and asked about building explosives. (CBC, June 5, 2015)


LEBANESE-CANADIAN ARRESTED IN CYPRUS DENIES LINK TO HEZBOLLAH (Nicosia) — A Cypriot court extended the detention of a Lebanese-Canadian man over the discovery of five tons of chemical fertilizer in a case Israel says bears the hallmarks of Hezbollah. Authorities detained the 26-year-old man, holder of a Canadian passport, in late May after finding ammonium nitrate, a potential explosive, in the basement of a home in the coastal town of Larnaca. Security sources say authorities are looking into a possible link with Iranian-backed Hezbollah, a claim also made by Israel, but the suspect denies any connection with the group or the hoard of chemicals. Cyprus’ last major security incident was an attack on the Israeli embassy in 1988, which killed three people. (Jerusalem Post, June 5, 2015)


ISRAEL TESTS ‘DIRTY BOMBS’ (Jerusalem) — Radiological bombs, or “dirty bombs,” which use conventional explosives together with radioactive material, have been a matter of concern since the terrorist attacks against the U.S. on September 11, 2001. Yet a four-year project conducted by researchers at the Dimona nuclear facility has found that the danger posed by dirty bombs is minimal. Officials at the Negev Nuclear Research Facility in Dimona began working on the Green Field project — a series of tests whose purpose was to determine the outcome of a dirty bomb explosion — in 2010. Sources said that the danger posed was not substantial, and that the main impact of such an attack would be psychological. If a dirty bomb were to explode in a closed space, the area would have to be cordoned off for a long time until the effects had waned. (Times of Israel, June 8, 2015)


15 CHARGED WITH PLANNING JIHADIST ATTACKS ON FRENCH JEWS (Paris) — Prosecutors in Paris presented their case against 15 defendants accused of planning jihadist attacks on French Jews and other targets. The trial against the men, alleged members of the banned terrorist group Forsane Alizza, began Monday in Paris. Among the alleged targets were five Jewish supermarkets of the Hyper Cacher chain and several other Jewish businesses. A Hyper Cacher market in the Paris area was the scene of a terrorist siege in January. The names of the businesses targeted were recovered from a computer seized in 2012, when the group’s leader, 37-year-old Mohamed Amchalane, was arrested with other suspects during a police raid in the vicinity of Nantes, in western France. (JTA, June 8, 2015)


JEWISH GROUPS PRAISE CHOICE OF BLAIR TO CHAIR ANTISEMITISM WATCHDOG (London) — European Jewish organizations praised the choice of former British prime minister Tony Blair to lead a nongovernmental racism watchdog. Blair announced his accession to the chairmanship of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, pledging to combat “the abuse of religion, which then becomes a mask behind which those bent on death and destruction all too often hide.”  Jewish organizations were quick to praise Blair for his strong stance against antisemitism but warned that without the appointment of a dedicated European Union, rather than civil society, official to monitor antisemitism, there is little hope of a long-term solution. (Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2015)


FOREIGN MINISTRY CONDEMNED OVER POLISH EXHIBITION (Warsaw) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s involvement in a Polish art exhibition that some believe trivializes the Holocaust. The exhibition, “Poland – Israel – Germany: The Experience of Auschwitz,” on display in Krakow, showcases a number of works that have raised Jewish hackles, including a video installation in which naked people play tag inside a gas chamber. “We were quite shocked and disturbed to hear that this exhibition, which includes one of the most offensive and disgusting videos relating to the crimes of the Holocaust, is being run in partnership with the Israeli Embassy,” said Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center’s chief Nazi hunter. One of the artists featured is Australian Jane Korman, most famous for a filming herself and her grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, dancing to the song “I will survive” at Auschwitz. (Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2015)


LUXEMBOURG APOLOGIZES FOR JEWISH 'SUFFERING' IN WWII (Paris) —Luxembourg apologized to the Jewish community for its "suffering" during the Nazi occupation in World War II, in the first such gesture since the conflict ended 70 years ago. The government of the tiny duchy, which is nestled between France, Belgium and Germany, acknowledged that "certain representatives" of the Luxembourg authorities had been complicit. Out of 3,700 Jews living in Luxembourg before the war, 1,200 were killed from May 1940 until September 1944, the period of Nazi occupation. Neighboring Belgium made a similar apology in 2009. (Ynet, June 10, 2015)


On Topic Links 


Embarassment for Erdogan: He Wanted a Supermajority, and He Got a Minority: Patrick Brennan, National Review, June 7, 2015 —The ruling party in Turkey, President Recep Tayip Erdogan’s AK Party, came up short of a majority in today’s Turkish elections, while a Kurdish party won official — and substantial — representation in parliament for the first time.
Prospect of Instability Looms as Turkish Voters Deny Erdogan a Majority: Tim Arango, New York Times, June 9, 2015 —In choosing a Parliament without a majority party, Turkish voters have curtailed the ambitions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to claim new powers in an election hailed as a triumph of Turkish democracy.

Western Defeat in Ukraine: Roger Cohen, New York Times, June 4, 2015 — It was not a surprise that President Vladimir Putin of Russia came out in strong support of FIFA against the “blatant attempt” of the United States “to extend its jurisdiction to other states.” Institutionalized corruption is Putin’s thing.

The Supreme Court Decision on Jerusalem Lets Obama Ignore Reality: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, June 8, 2015 —The problem with American Middle East policy during the Obama administration has always boiled down to one factor: the president and his foreign policy team prefer their fantasies about the way things should be to the cold hard reality of Palestinian rejectionism, Islamist terror, or Iran’s ambitions for regional hegemony.



Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up


Contents: Media-orcities of the Week 

Weekly Quotes Short Takes|On Topic


Download today's Daily Briefing.pdf






   But Israel has only itself to blame for what happened. Mr. Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, have been more moderate, and more open to serious negotiations with Israel, than any Palestinian leaders before. The Palestinian police have co-operated with the Israelis to contain violence in the West Bank. Improving the economy, rather than violent confrontation, has been the Palestinian Authority’s main concern….


   Hamas also emerged as the moral victor after the latest military clash. Far from intimidating the Palestinians by bombing Gaza and mobilizing troops, the Israelis made Hamas look heroic in its resistance. Once again, Mr. Abbas looked feeble in comparison. This is why he desperately needed his victory at the UN. The diplomatic promotion of Palestine offered him a lifeline….


   Israeli policies are not genocidal, as some commentators, not always free from anti-Semitic animus, like to claim. Many Palestinians have been killed under Israeli rule, but their number is not even close to the number of Muslim civilians who are still being tortured, murdered and maimed by Muslim governments every day. Israel, however, is a semi-imperial power, using traditional colonial methods: ruling by proxy, dividing potential rebels, rewarding obeisance and punishing opposition. (The Globe and Mail, Dec. 04 2012)


[Ian Buruma is professor of democracy, human rights and journalism at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., and the author of  Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents.]




Canada used to have a Middle East policy. Now, it has an Israel policy….On a scale of Palestinian politics, the Abbas government is as moderate as they come. The Netanyahu government, by contrast, is among the least moderate in Israeli history, reflecting shifts in Israeli public opinion. —Jeffrey Simpson. (The Globe and Mail, Dec. 05 2012)





“So, look, I’m not making excuses for the missed opportunities of the Israelis, or the lack of generosity, the lack of empathy that I think goes hand-in-hand with the suspicion. So, yes, there is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people in their minds, and they want to figure out, within the bounds of security and a Jewish democratic state, what can be accomplished.” —Hillary Clinton at the Saban Forum on U.S.-Israel relations. (Algemeiner, Dec. 1, 2012)



Weekly Quotes




“Today I want to make absolutely clear to [President Assad] and those under his command: The world is watching. The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.” —US President Barack Obama during a speech at the National Defense University in Washington. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 2012)


“Suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality [Syrian use of chemical weapons] were to occur.” — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a trip to Prague, (New York Post, Dec. 4, 2012)


“The world watched a defamatory and venomous speech that was full of mendacious propaganda against the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] and the citizens of Israel. Someone who wants peace does not talk in such a manner.…The way to peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah is in direct negotiations, without preconditions, and not in the one-sided UN decisions. By going to the UN, the Palestinians have violated the agreements with Israel and Israel will act accordingly.” —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the UN. (National Post, Nov. 30, 2012)


“The root of the conflict is not the settlements; it is the very existence of the State of Israel and the desire to wipe it off the face of the earth. We can anticipate many developments and changes in this evolving Middle East that we face, and some of them are very, very disturbing. Therefore, our top public diplomacy mission is to explain that the root of this conflict is not territorial. It is over our very existence in any borders whatsoever. From 1967 until today, for 45 years, day in, day out, and hour by hour, they [the Palestinians] have been preaching the complete opposite. So certainly the lie has taken root, and there is no way to fight a lie except with the truth. We must tell the truth; it is the only thing that we can do and we must certainly do so.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing a meeting of the National Public Diplomacy Forum in Israel. (Israel National News, Dec. 5, 2012)


“Well, look, I think Israelis have good grounds to be suspicious….The Palestinians could have had a state as old as I am if they had made the right decision in 1947. They could have had a state if they had worked with my husband and then-Prime Minister Barak at Camp David. They could have had a state if they’d worked with Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni….When Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze I flew to Jerusalem.…I said it was unprecedented for any Israeli prime minister to have done that….[yet] we couldn’t get the Palestinians into the conversation until the tenth month. But in the last 20 years, I’ve seen Israeli leaders make an honest, good-faith effort and not be reciprocated in the way that was needed.” — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answering questions at the Saban Forum on U.S.-Israel Relations in Washington D.C. (Algemeiner, Dec. 1, 2012)


“I was actually on an Arab hit list, since when the Arabs see a Jewish shepherd walking in the Land of Israel – that endangers them, and pushes them back. When you have a flock you move beyond fences, and the Arabs understand that when a Jew walks on the Land, he controls the Land. Our roads in Israel aren’t our claim to the Land, it’s our fields.” —Avraham Herzlich, a resident of Samaria, commenting on the theft of his flock of goats by Arabs which he described as "agricultural terrorism." (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 4, 2012)


“I believe this [Canadian] government  is more Israeli than the Israelis, more settler than the settlers,” he said “I think they have disqualified themselves from playing any role in the Middle East peace process.” —Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator,  commenting on Canada’s decision to send Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to vote and speak at the UN and it’s threats of reprisal measures against the Palestinian Authority. (Globe and Mail, Dec. 1, 2012)


“There is so much danger out there now that many women are scared to leave their homes to get their hair done. Business is not working. Life gets more expensive. We really thought that things would get more stable after we elected a president, but the situation is actually getting worse. I cannot tell you exactly how much this has cost me. I can tell you that if it lasts much longer I will close my business.” — Mohammed Shabasi, a 66-year-old Cairo hairdresser. Summing up the gloom that is gripping Egypt an executive for a luxury hotel overlooking the Nile where the occupancy rate has plunged from 80% to 30% over the past two years said: “It has grown dark and there is no light at the of the tunnel.” (National Post, Dec. 3, 2012)


"We have accepted [our] death, so that Jerusalem will return. We are bombs, friends, when the homeland calls. My heart, with fury, exploded and scattered. The shrapnel of this life flew and the enemies were beheaded. Grieve not, Mother, shed no tears over my torn flesh. Gather [my] bones, Mother, return them to the earth…"Voice of Palestine radio, the official Palestinian Authority broadcaster, broadcasting a song glorifying suicide bombings targeting Israelis. The song was played on the radio station two days after the PA was granted observer status at the UN. (Palestinian Media Watch, Dec. 5, 2012)


“Maybe the Palestinians got something on paper and morally, but he got something on the ground. Netanyahu is trying to enforce something on the ground and gain the hearts and minds of the Israeli public. It’s a strong message to the Palestinian leadership that Netanyahu is not without cards in his hand.” —Zakaria al-Qaq, professor of national security at Al Quds University and a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. (New York Times, Dec. 2, 2012)


“I have sent warnings to many people who know who they are, who may be committing crimes against the homeland. If anybody tries to derail the transition, I will not allow them.”—Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in an interview with [Egyptian] state television on Thursday night, referring repeatedly to secret information about a “conspiracy” and “real and imminent threats” that he would not disclose. In a speech to supporters that unveiled his new push to seize control of the transition’s end, Mr. Morsi was even more zealous. “To the corrupters who hide under respectable cover, I say, ‘Never imagine that I can’t see you.’ I’m on the lookout for them and will never let them go.” he declared. (New York Times, Dec. 3, 2012)


Top of Page





THE UN’S NPT VOTE (New York) In yet another anti-Israel vote backed by an overwhelming majority, the UN General Assembly singled out Israel – not Iran or Syria – for supposedly violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  In a 174-6 with six abstentions vote, the General Assembly called on Israel Monday to join the NPT “without further delay,” and to open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Glibly calling for a “nuclear-free Middle East” ignores the predicament of Israel, a country built on the ashes of the Holocaust. Israel dismissed [the]  a resolution…as a “meaningless mechanical vote” …brought to the General Assembly, and passed overwhelmingly year after year.  (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 4, 2012)


U.S. BEARS DOWN ON TURKEY'S GOLD LINK TO IRAN(Istanbul) Washington and Ankara are on a collision course over Turkey's surging sales of gold to Iran, as the U.S. Congress and Treasury focus on cutting off a trade they believe is emerging as one of Tehran's primary conduits to export natural gas and evade Western sanctions. The Senate on Friday [Nov. 30] approved a measure that would tighten sanctions against Iran, targeting suppliers of materials that could be used to build ships and taking further aim at the country's port and energy businesses. Among other provisions, the new legislation would ban the transfer of precious metals to Iran, including gold. (Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2012)


NATO TO INSTALL MISSILES ON TURKISH/SYRIAN BORDER(Istanbul) NATO on Tuesday [Nov. 4] agreed to deploy Patriot missiles to the Turkish border to help defend Turkey against threats from Syria. “In response to Turkey's request, NATO has decided to augment Turkey's air defense capabilities in order to defend the population and territory of Turkey,” NATO foreign ministers said in a statement. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said concerns that Syria's beleaguered government might resort to using chemical weapons against the rebels added urgency to the issue. He called any use of chemical weapons “completely unacceptable,” and said it would cause “an immediate reaction.” (Voice of America, December 4th, 2012)


FLOW OF ARMS TO SYRIA THROUGH IRAQ PERSISTS(Washington) The American effort to stem the flow of Iranian arms to Syria has faltered because of Iraq’s reluctance to inspect aircraft carrying the weapons through its airspace, American officials say. The shipments have persisted at a critical time for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who has come under increasing military pressure from rebel fighters. The air corridor over Iraq has emerged as a main supply route for weapons, including rockets, antitank missiles, rocket-propelled grenade and mortars.  (New York Times, December 1, 2012)


ISRAEL’S IRON SHIELD FLASHES WARNING TO IRAN(Tel Aviv) Israel is close to completing a a missile defence shield that will destroy Iranian ballistic missiles in space or on their launch pads. Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defence system successfully knocked out 421 rockets — an 84% success rate — in a stunning demonstration of its capabilities during the conflict with Gaza last month.  It is one part of a multi-tiered missile shield being developed by Israeli scientists that will defend the Jewish state from the vast stockpile of rockets held by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Syria’s armoury of Scuds and SS-21 ballistic missiles. A second defensive system, Magic Wand – known outside Israel as David’s sling –will defend against medium-range missiles.  A third tier consists of Arrow-2 and soon to be introduced Arrow-3 – interceptors designed to destroy Iranian long-range ballistic missiles in space before they re-enter the atmosphere. (The Sunday Times, Dec. 2, 2012)


EGYPT'S MURSI: NEW POWERS MEANT TO STOP 'WEEVILS' (Cairo) Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s decision to assume sweeping powers caused fury amongst his opponents and prompted violent clashes in central Cairo and other cities on Tuesday [Nov. 21] Police fired tear gas near Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where thousands demanded Mursi quit and accused him of launching a “coup”. Angry youth hurled rocks at security forces and burned a police truck. Mr. Mursi’s speech came while thousands of opponents and supporters also clashed in the streets over the decree that critics fear allows him to be a virtual dictator.  “Political stability, social stability and economic stability are what I want and that is what I am working for. There are weevils [from Mubarak’s regime], eating away at Egypt’s nation,” Mr. Mursi said, accusing some judges of planning to disband the upper house of parliament. (Globe and Mail, Nov.23, 2012)


EGYPT'S DRAFT CONSTITUTION APPROVED BY ISLAMIST-DOMINATED ASSEMBLY (Cairo) Islamists have approved a draft constitution for Egypt without the participation of liberal and Christian members. [They were] seeking to pre-empt a court ruling that could dissolve their panel with a rushed, marathon vote that further inflamed the conflict between the opposition and the president, Mohamed Morsi. The vote by the constituent assembly advanced a charter with an Islamist bent that rights experts say could give Muslim clerics oversight over legislation and bring restrictions on freedom of speech, women's rights, the press and other liberties. (The Guardian, Nov. 30, 2012)


MEGA-DEAL TO PUT ISRAELI-MADE SOFTWARE ON CASH REGISTERS WORLDWIDE (Tel Aviv) The past week has seen one of this year’s biggest buyouts of an Israeli company by a large multinational: NCR, which makes checkout systems for retail, automated teller machines, cash dispensers and the like, bought Israel-based Retalix, a provider of retail software and services, in a deal valued at about $650 million. Retalix was already the world’s leading point-of-sale software company in this field. In 2011, Retalix was ranked among the top four software vendors for grocery retailers and among the top 10 large software vendors to retailers by retail industry publications. Now that it is joining forces with NCR, its systems will soon go worldwide (Times of Israel, Dec. 3, 2012)


ISRAELI RESEARCHERS USE RUST TO STORE SOLAR ENERGY — (Tel Aviv) Using the power of the sun and ultrathin films of iron oxide (commonly known as rust), researchers at the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology, have found a novel way to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The breakthrough, published this week in the scientific journal Nature Materials, could lead to less expensive, more efficient ways to store solar energy in the form of hydrogen-based fuels. This could be a major step forward in the development of viable replacements for fossil fuels. “Our approach is the first of its kind,” says lead researcher, Associate Professor Avner Rothschild, of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “We have found a way to trap light in ultrathin films of iron oxide that are 5,000 times thinner than office paper. This enables achieving high solar energy conversion efficiency and low materials and production costs.”


ISRAEL TO BUILD 3,000 HOMES TO RETALIATE FOR PALESTINIAN UN BID(Jerusalem) Israel is to build 3,000 new settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank after the Palestinians won recognition as a non-member state at the United Nations, an Israeli official said on Friday [Nov. 30]. Asked if he could confirm a report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had decided to build the 3,000 units in response to the Palestinians success at the UN, he said: “It’s true – in (east) Jerusalem and the West Bank,” Some of the homes would be built in [area] E1, an  area of the West Bank which links annexed east Jerusalem with the Maaleh Adumim settlement. (Globe and Mail, Nov. 30, 2012)


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PA Radio Song Praises Suicide Bombings Against Israelis: Palestinian Media Watch, Dec. 5, 12— "We are bombs when the homeland calls…We strapped ourselves with explosives…and praised Him [Allah] for the Martyrdom"


The New Middle East’s New Problems: Joschka Fischer, Project Syndicate, Dec. 5, 12 —The political epicenter of this troubled region has shifted from the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians toward the Persian Gulf and the struggle for regional mastery between Iran on one side and Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and now Egypt on the other. In the emerging struggle between the region’s Shia and Sunni powers, the old Middle East conflict has become a sideshow.


A Scientist's Nazi-Era Past Haunts Prestigious Space Prize: Lucette Lagnado, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 1, 2012 Every year since 1963, the Space Medicine Association has given out the Hubertus Strughold Award to a top scientist or clinician for outstanding work in aviation medicine. Dr. Strughold, a former scientist for the Third Reich, was listed as one of 13 "persons, firms or organizations implicated" in some notorious Dachau concentration camp experiments, according to a 1946 memo by the staff of the Nuremberg Trials.


The Gaza Operation: Less a War than an Anti-Iran Coup: DEBKAfile,  November 28, 2012—The eight-day Gaza duel between Israel and Hamas was the showcase.  Behind it, a coup went forward… whose aim was to abort the military ties Tehran was cultivating with Hamas before the Gaza Strip is grabbed as Iran’s springboard to Cairo. 




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