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How Will the IDF Confront Regional Threats? - A Strategic Overview
24/03/2008
Ido Nehushtan  |  Israel

The three primary generators of Middle East radicalism and extremism are Iran's "Shia Crescent," the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Global Jihad. Having a nuclear weapon promotes its owner to membership in a top-tier club in the world and allows the possessor to promote its interests more easily. Iran is Persian, ideologically and historically different from the Arab world. Yet if Iran gets its hands on nuclear weapons in the future, the threatened pro-Western regimes of the Arab world may decide to join it and not fight it. Professionally speaking, if Israel wants to prevent any high-trajectory rocket or mortar fire, it must establish good control on the ground. In the West Bank, Israel has control over the external perimeter and can control the entrance of weapons inside the area. Furthermore, if Israeli forces are present on the ground, then they can stop the manufacture of locally-produced rockets and other weapons in time.

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Is Israel Bound by International Law to Supply Utilities, Goods, and Services to Gaza?
24/03/2008
Dr. Abraham Bell  |  International Law

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Development Secretary Douglas Alexander recently alleged that Israel's decision to respond to ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks by limiting the supply of fuel to Gaza violated international law. The new UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert H. Serry, also asserted: "Israeli measures amounting to collective punishment are not acceptable. We call on Israel to meet its obligations toward the civilian population of Gaza under international law." Yet international law does not require Israel to supply Gaza with fuel or electricity, or, indeed, with any other materials, goods, or services. Article 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention permits states like Israel to cut off fuel supplies and electricity to territories like Gaza. It only requires Israel to permit passage of food, clothing, and medicines intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers, and maternity cases. Moreover, Israel would be under no obligation to provide anything itself, just not to interfere with such consignments sent by others. Article 70 of the First Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1977 creates a slightly broader duty regarding the provision of essential supplies, but it does not list fuel and electricity as items for which passage must be permitted.

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Israel's War to Halt Palestinian Rocket Attacks
24/03/2008
Ambassador Dore Gold  |  Gaza

Israeli security forces recently discovered in the western Negev the remains of a new 175 mm. rocket of Iranian origin that has a range of 26 kilometers. Israeli security sources are also concerned that Iran will try to smuggle its Fajr rockets to Gaza in the future. A 45-kilometer-range Fajr 3, for example, could be smuggled in sections and assembled in Gaza. As long as the Philadelphi route is open for Hamas smuggling, the risk to Israel will grow as Iran exports rockets of increasing range to the Gaza Strip. The port of Ashdod is the next likely target, but should Fajr rockets reach Gaza, there is no reason why Hamas cannot pose a threat to Tel Aviv. Control of the launch areas in northern Gaza could significantly reduce the ability of Hamas to harass Sderot and the communities of the western Negev with rocket and mortar fire. The repeated lesson of the last seven years is that only Israel can ultimately be responsible for its own security.

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Deconstructing Apartheid Accusations Against Israel
24/03/2008
Gideon Shimoni  |  Racism

The historical context of the Jewish-Arab conflict in the Middle East is fundamentally different from that between the whites' Afrikaner ideology of apartheid and the blacks in South Africa. The latter was a system of discrimination and inequality based upon racial criteria; a system of domination by a minority over a majority and refusal to negotiate a bilaterally agreed solution. Furthermore, for Palestinians, violence aimed primarily at civilians has been the first choice for many decades, for the African National Congress it was the last resort and never aimed intentionally at the murder of civilians. The accusation that Israel is an apartheid state is an insidious tool in the hands of those who deny the entitlement of Jews to a viable national home. The tool is so effective because it contains within it the precedent of the use of boycotts as a method of attack as was the case against apartheid South Africa. Those who use the apartheid accusation employ the old anti-Zionist arguments. These constitute a multi-layered construct of fundamental ideological positions and analytical constructs, one of which is the purposeful displacement of the real nationalist context for historical comprehension of Zionism with the vilifying label of colonialism. Many anti-Zionists, but not necessary all of them, apply identifiable double standards of judgment to Israel traceable to the characteristic anti-Semitic premise that all things Jews do are inherently evil, including their nationalism.

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Defensible Borders for a Lasting Peace
24/03/2008
Ambassador Dore Gold  |  Peace Process

While Israel’s right to defensible borders has been recognized most recently by the Bush administration, unfortunately this has been largely overlooked in much of the recent public discourse on Middle East peace-making, which stresses the territorial aims of the Palestinians but rarely gives equal weight to long-held Israeli rights and defensive requirements. Indeed, in certain quarters, including parts of Europe, many of Israel’s security needs are dismissed with the argument that in today’s Middle East, advanced military technology has rendered obsolete Israeli insistence on achieving defensible borders.

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The Nexus Between Iranian National Banks and International Terrorist Financing
24/03/2008
Shimon Shapira  |  Iran

Iran has been using its state institutions as agents of the terror activity it perpetrates throughout the world. The funding for this terror activity is partly provided via Bank Melli and sometimes also via Bank Saderat. Bank Melli also played a pivotal role in financing the 1994 AMIA bombing in Argentina. AMIA was the central Jewish community center in Buenos Aires; as a result of the Iranian-sponsored terrorist attack, eighty-five people were killed and more than two hundred were wounded. Iran's Central Bank also has had a role to play in terrorist financing. In September 2006, the U.S. Treasury disclosed that the Central Bank of Iran was sending money to Hizbullah through Bank Saderat, which was also providing financial services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

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Strategic Implications for Israel of the Gaza-Egypt Border Opening
24/03/2008
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror  |  Gaza

Terrorist operatives and groups such as al-Qaeda, that have already used Egyptian Sinai as a rear base, can now reach Gaza without interference. Gaza has transformed from its prior status as part of the Palestinian Authority to its new role as a mini-state that is now an integral part of the Arab world. Hamas will now be able to obtain weapons, ammunition, explosives, and training more freely via Egyptian Sinai. Since the border opening, weapons have flowed unimpeded into Gaza, enabling the transfer of higher-grade weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles.

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International Law and Gaza: The Assault on Israel's Right to Self-Defense
24/03/2008
Dr. Abraham Bell  |  International Law

International law authorizes Israel to initiate military countermeasures in Gaza. If Gaza is seen as having independent sovereignty, Israel's use of force is permissible on the grounds of self-defense. If Gaza is seen as lacking any independent sovereignty, Israel's use of military force is permissible as in other non-international conflicts. The rule of "distinction" includes elements of intent and expected result: so long as one aims at legitimate targets, the rule of distinction permits the attack, even if there will be collateral damage to civilians. The rule of "proportionality" also relies upon intent. If Israel plans a strike without expecting excessive collateral damage, the rule of proportionality permits it. Israeli attacks to date have abided by the rules of distinction and proportionality.

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Is Syria an Ally or Adversary of Radical Sunni Movements?
24/03/2008
Professor Eyal Zisser  |  Syria

In 2004, for the first time in twenty years, radical Islamic groups began operating in Syria against Syrian targets. Every few weeks we hear of another group discovered by the government or another incident. Some are people who went to Iraq to fight the Americans and then came back to Syria to continue with their jihad, this time against local enemies - the secular Alawite regime in Syria. The Alawites are still very secular, but the Sunni majority is becoming more and more religious and this will become a challenge to the regime. The Syrian regime had defeated the Muslim Brotherhood after its revolt in the years 1976-82. But today there are much more radical groups, inspired by and connected to al-Qaeda. The Syrian regime preferred to ignore these groups and allowed them to operate against the Americans. They are very small groups and most of the Syrian population doesn't support them yet, but clearly, in the long run, Syria will have a problem because Bashar al-Assad and his regime are totally secular, and Syrian society is much more secular than others in the Arab world.

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Turkey: Between the Iranian-Syrian Axis, Israel, and the West
24/03/2008
Aydan Kodaloglu  |  Turkey

We in Turkey are more afraid of Iran being successful in Iraq than we are of Iran launching missiles at Turkey. Having an Iranian-influenced Iraq on our border is the more immediate problem. However, three hours after the September 6 incident involving Israel and Syria, the Iranian government sent a warning to Turkey saying that if it was involved in support of Israel and the United States, Turkey would not get away unscathed. Iran is not exporting its Shi'ism into Turkey, but it is exporting radical Islam into Turkey, feeding it to the Sunni population.

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The Challenge of Intelligence Assessment Regarding International Terrorist Organizations
24/03/2008
Shabtai Shavit  |  Intelligence Assessment

In the past, intelligence assessments dealt with sovereign countries. Today, in the era of global terrorism, we are dealing with Muslim fundamental terrorist organizations, entities without territories or sovereignty, entities without any hierarchy, with no uniforms, reporting systems, recruiting centers, or training camps. Furthermore, in the past, conventional wars were relatively short events that occurred as an interval between periods of peace or coexistence or cold war. Today, the Western world, Israel included, lives in a state of constant war. The threat is permanent, while it changes faces, locations, strategies, methodologies, and capabilities - and you have to assess it while fighting them.

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Annapolis - Road to Nowhere
23/03/2008
Zalman Shoval  |  UK Affairs

When Israel originally accepted the Roadmap, it was stipulated that there would be no negotiations on the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza (Phases 2 and 3) until the Palestinians first fulfill their security commitments in accordance with Phase 1. If those pre-conditions for negotiations from 2003 have already melted away four years later, then why shouldn't Annapolis pre-conditions for implementation of the "shelf agreement" melt away four years from now? Wasn't Annapolis touted primarily as a way to create an effective front against Iran? The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate published a few days after Annapolis made nonsense of that intention. In fact, one actually sees a rapprochement between Iran and those "moderate" Arab regimes, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

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Major Anti-Semitic Motifs in Arab Cartoons
23/03/2008
Joel Kotek  |  Racism

The main recurrent motif in Arab cartoons concerning Israel is "the devilish Jew." This image conveys the idea that Jews behave like Nazis, kill children and love blood. The similarity with themes promulgated by the Nazis is evident. Many Arab cartoons praise suicide bombing or call for murder. The collective image of the Jews thus projected lays the groundwork for a possible genocide. A caricature may have as much influence on public opinion as an editorial. Palestinian cartoonists often place emphasis on the anti-Semitic accusation of "ritual murder" of children. This is underscored by their claim that Israelis target Palestinian children. To dehumanize Jews, Arab cartoonists often depict them as malevolent creatures: spiders, vampires or octopuses. Several Arab hate motifs also have permeated Western society as they resonate with the long-standing anti-Semitic prejudices of the Christian world.

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Anti-Semitic Themes in Muslim Apocalyptic and Jihadi Literature
23/03/2008
David Cook  |  Racism

There is a connection between contemporary Muslim apocalyptic literature and jihadi movements. Both have a core belief in a grand anti-Semitic conspiracy theory designed to demonize the Jewish people. This theory has recently been exported throughout the Muslim world, where it fuels anti-Semitic tendencies and violent movements. Anti-Semitic and other conspiracy theories in the Muslim world are resistant to facts and even to education. Because these theories answer emotional needs, they are likely to keep growing in popularity. Anti-Semitism is a powerful force for radicalizing Muslims, and is even used in attempting to convince Christians to join in a grand alliance against the Jews. In doing so Muslims emphasize their belief that the Antichrist, or dajjal, is Jewish.

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Iran Now Free to Achieve Its Military Nuclear Ambitions
23/03/2008
Aharon Ze'evi Farkash  |  Iran

After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the EU opened diplomatic negotiations in July 2003 to try to stop the Iranian nuclear program. By the end of that same year, in the wake of the U.S. victory in Iraq, Qaddafi had stopped Libya's nuclear military program. It was in this context of Western detection of their nuclear program and the Iraq War that led the Iranians to halt their nuclear program across the board in 2003. The NIE indeed admits that the Iranian halt in its nuclear programs came about from the international scrutiny and pressure that resulted from "exposure of Iran's previously undeclared nuclear work." Together with developing a nuclear weapon, Iran has been developing an appropriate long-range delivery system. Its Shihab 3 missile can carry a warhead of approximately 700 kilograms over a distance of 1,300-1,500 kilometers. These missiles are under the command of the Revolutionary Guard that reports to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, not President Ahmadinejad. Iranian missile exercises showed that the missiles are aimed at both Tel Aviv and Riyadh.

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