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Editor's Note: Friday April 11, 2014

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Contents: (summaries below)
  1. The Crisis in the Peace Talks Was Pre-Planned by the Palestinians, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Vol. 14, No.9, Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi
  2. What comes after Kerry's 'poof'?, The Times of Israel, Mitch Ginsburg
  3. Israel offers deal to rescue peace talks, The Telegraph, David Blair
  4. Pity the Palestinians? Count Me Out, Wall Street Journal, Norman Podhoretz
  5. Al-Qaeda's Odyssey to the Global Jihad, INSS, Memorandum No. 134, Yoram Schweitzer, Aviv Oreg
  6. Today the IDF Welcomes Its Newest Strategic Aircraft, the "Samson" Squadron, Israel Defense Forces,

The Crisis in the Peace Talks Was Pre-Planned by the Palestinians
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Vol. 14, No.9, April 10, 2014

  • In March 2014, Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, prepared a 65-page document that surveys the diplomatic process and offers a list of recommendations for the PA to achieve Palestinian sovereignty in the territories demarcated by the 1967 lines. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has recently implemented some of these recommendations.

  • The recommendations include submitting a request to immediately join the Geneva Conventions; declaring the impossibility of extending the negotiations after the end of the nine-month period on April 29, 2014; and opposing the Israeli proposal that the settlement blocs become part of Israel in any final agreement.

  • The plan also includes activating bilateral committees with Russia, the EU, and the UN, and cooperating with the monitoring committee of the Arab Peace Initiative, to muster support for the Palestinian anti-settlement position; urging the states of the world to uphold the European Union’s guidelines regarding settlement activity; and escalating the peaceful popular struggle against settlements and the [security] fence.

  • The PA’s latest moves reflect the long-term strategy Abbas has been implementing, which involves using diplomatic means to obtain international recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state along the 1967 lines without the Palestinians having to make concessions on the fundamental issues of the conflict, particularly the refugee issue and what is called the “right of return.”...

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What comes after Kerry's 'poof'?
Mitch Ginsburg

The Times of Israel, April 11, 2014

...“It’s not dramatic,” he added.

Instead, the more significant results of the end of the trilateral talks, he said, would be unpleasant, “but healthy.”

The unpleasantness, he said, revolved around two facts: the realization that the Palestinians under Abbas are incapable of reaching an end-of-claims agreement; and the understanding that the very presence of American officials in the negotiating room dooms the negotiations to failure, because it prompts both sides to negotiate with the Americans rather than with each other.

“The chances of reaching a final-status solution are next to nil,” he said. But when this round of talks expires — as he believes it will — Israel and the PA could well sit down again, without the US, and reach an impermanent deal for peaceful coexistence.

“The negotiations took place in a bubble,” he said. “And bubbles burst. And it’s not nice. But it’s healthy.”

Mitch Ginsburg is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

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Israel offers deal to rescue peace talks
David Blair

The Telegraph, April 09, 2014

Israel has proposed a deal to rescue the peace talks, offering to release 26 prisoners if the Palestinian leadership “cancels” its bid for greater international recognition.

Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli intelligence and strategic affairs minister, told The Daily Telegraph that this exchange could be a way of continuing the negotiations brokered by John Kerry, the US secretary of state.

His words suggest there is a possible opening to prevent the imminent collapse of the peace process, which had appeared to be in tatters last month when Israel failed to release 26 prisoners, prompting the Palestinians to sign up to 15 United Nations conventions.

Under the US-mediated agreement last year, Israel promised to free 104 prisoners in four groups of 26. The Palestinians had agreed not to use their upgraded membership of the UN to sign any international conventions....

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Pity the Palestinians? Count Me Out
Norman Podhoretz

Wall Street Journal, April 09, 2014

Provoked by the predictable collapse of the farcical negotiations forced by Secretary of State John Kerry on the Palestinians and the Israelis, I wish to make a confession: I have no sympathy—none—for the Palestinians. Furthermore, I do not believe they deserve any.

This, of course, puts me at daggers drawn with the enlightened opinion that goes forth from the familiar triumvirate of the universities, the mainstream media and the entertainment industry. For everyone in that world is so busy weeping over the allegedly incomparable sufferings of the Palestinians that hardly a tear is left for the tribulations of other peoples. And so all-consuming is the universal rage over the supposedly monumental injustice that has been done to the Palestinians that virtually no indignation is available for any other claimant to unwarranted mistreatment.

In my unenlightened opinion, this picture of the Palestinian plight is nothing short of grotesquely disproportionate. Let me leave aside the Palestinians who live in Israel as Israeli citizens and who enjoy the same political rights as Israeli Jews (which is far more than can be said of Palestinians who live in any Arab country), and let me concentrate on those living under Israeli occupation on the West Bank.

A Palestinian protester stands during clashes with Israeli troops in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in March. (Reuters)

Well, to judge by the most significant measure and applying it only to two instances of what is going on at this very moment: In Syria, untold thousands of fellow Arabs are starving, while according to the United Nations official on the scene in South Sudan, 3.7 million people, amounting to one-third of the population, are now facing imminent death by starvation.

And the Palestinians? True, when they wish to go from the West Bank into Israel proper, they are forced to stop at checkpoints and subjected to searches for suicide vests or other weapons in the terrorist arsenal. Once, when she was secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice bemoaned the great inconvenience and humiliation inflicted by such things on the poor Palestinians. Yet she had nothing to say about Palestinians dying of starvation on the West Bank, for the simple reason that there were none to be found....

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Al-Qaeda's Odyssey to the Global Jihad
Yoram Schweitzer, Aviv Oreg

INSS, Memorandum No. 134, March 01, 2014

The terrorist attack perpetrated by al-Qaeda against the United States in 2001 turned global terrorism into one of the major issues on the agendas of decision makers all over the world and became a benchmark in the relations between the United States and other nations, in accordance with their participation in the war on terrorism. To be sure, modern international terrorism became a significant player in global politics and international relations as early as the late 1960s and remained so throughout the 1970s and 1980s with the appearance of nationalist, separatist, and ideological left wing terrorist organizations influenced by Marxist-Leninist worldviews that carried out acts of terrorism worldwide. Nonetheless, it is evident that the 9/11 attacks profoundly increased awareness of the threat terrorism poses to the international system and the national security of many countries. The unique status of terrorism as a major national and multinational security issue was a consequence of the massive destruction and loss of life caused by the bold and fearless attack of a handful of suicide bombers in the heart of US political, economic, and military nerve centers, an event unprecedented in any nation. Video footage of the collapse of the World Trade Center played throughout the world and was broadcast over and over again by virtually every media outlet – in the news, in documentaries, and in fictional films devoted to the attack and the organization that carried it out. This attention was accompanied by repeated threats by al-Qaeda and its affiliates that the 9/11 scenario would be played out again and again until all of the organization’s demands were fully met. Thus, al-Qaeda succeeded in creating shockwaves that went far beyond physical and economic ruin and damaged morale, by presenting international terrorism as having unparalleled demonic powers that threaten to flood the world with rivers of blood.

Al-Qaeda activities dragged the United States and its allies into a number of extended military campaigns in the Middle East and Afghanistan. These campaigns demanded massive financial resources that taxed the economies of all the countries involved and caused thousands of deaths among military personnel and hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, both directly during military campaigns and indirectly because of rampant terrorism in the countries where the confrontations took place. Yet while during the years immediately after 9/11 the war on terrorism was the common denominator uniting all nations engaged in the campaign, recent years have seen a reversal of this trend. More specifically, the nations that were forced to bear the brunt of terrorism and the war on terror have come under harsh criticism, including the Western countries whose armed forces were involved in military activities and incurred high casualty rates. The fear of frequent attacks that resulted from the events of September 11, 2001 has abated over the years, and to a great extent terrorism is once again viewed as one of many challenges on the national security agenda. Al-Qaeda has been driven into defensive warfare as attacks on it have taken the lives of most of its leaders, the majority of whom have been eliminated or apprehended, including Osama Bin Laden. Since 2005 and despite its ongoing efforts, al-Qaeda failed to carry out any massive attack on Western soil. The center of gravity of jihadi terrorist activity has shifted away from al-Qaeda on to affiliate groups and inspired individuals that are active primarily in distant locations, though there are still sporadic attempts to carry out attacks in the West as well. Al-Qaeda, now headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, holds a leadership position, playing primarily a mentoring and guiding role as it directs, inspires, and assists the terrorist activity of others.

The global campaign against terrorism lasted many years and was extremely costly in terms of casualties and money, amounting to several hundred billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs. In addition, the West’s military intervention opened  an internal Pandora’s Box within states where the war on terrorism was conducted, reigniting past local, internal struggles of an ethnic, tribal, or religious nature. Thus the United States and its allies found themselves chasing groups, organizations, networks, and even individual terrorists who succeeded in commanding tremendous resources in terms of leaders’ attention and time, money, and manpower – disproportionate to their true threat potential....

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Today the IDF Welcomes Its Newest Strategic Aircraft, the "Samson" Squadron

Israel Defense Forces, April 09, 2014

...Big, powerful, accurate and safe

The IAF purchased the long version of the Hercules C-130J from Lockheed- Martin which allows for an improved carrying capacity: instead of 64  paratroopers the short version can carry, the Hercules C-130J can accommodate in its cargo hold 94 paratroopers and their equipment. Alternatively, the cargo hold can accommodate four military SUVs instead of three, or transport 128 soldiers.

More importantly, the range of flight for the “Samson” is nearly 4,000 km, allowing the IAF to neutralize all threats, both near and far.

High Tech

A tour of the cockpit of the Hercules C-130J reveals cutting-edge technology: in addition to the digital screens and the advanced displays, the new plane is equipped with new systems that streamline the aircraft maintenance work and allow the technicians to gain information on the routine operations and the malfunctions.

A unique Israeli version...

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