Israel Resource Review 22nd September, 2006


Egypt Goes Nuclear?
Middle East News Line

[Egypt, which has played a key role in helping to smuggle advanced weaponry to Palestinian terrorist groups from Gaza that continue to conduct missile attacks into Israel, now plans to revive its nuclear energy project.

While there is concern in Israel over the prospect of an Egypt with nuclear capability, no one in Israeli officialdom is ready to express that concern on the record.

President Mubarak's son, mentioned herein, gained noteriety this summer when he travelled to Beirut in support of the Hizbullah bombing campaign against Israeli cities. - DB]

The regime of President Hosni Mubarak is now ready to acquire nuclear reactors. Indeed, the Egyptian Energy Ministry intends to discuss nuclear energy facilities and technology from a range of countries, including China and Russia.

"The whole world - I don't want to say all, but many developing countries - have proposed and started to execute the issue of alternative energy," Gamal Mubarak, the president's son, said. "It is time for Egypt to put forth, and the party will put forth, this proposal for discussion about its future energy policies, the issue of alternative energy, including nuclear energy, as one of the alternatives."

In an address to the ruling National Democratic Party on Tuesday, the 42-year-old Gamal urged his father to examine a proposal to develop nuclear energy. In 2004, Egypt was said to have abandoned its nuclear energy project and shelved plans to construct up to eight reactors. Under the plan, each reactor would have a capacity of 1,800 megawatts.

"We will continue using our natural energy resources, but we should conserve these resources for our future generations," Gamal said.

In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency has been examining a proposal to restrict the supply of nuclear reactor fuel. Under the proposal offered by Germany, Russia and the United States, the IAEA would establish nuclear fuel centers that would be the sole suppliers for civilian reactors, such as those planned by Iran.

In March, however, the International Atomic Energy Agency determined that Egypt conducted secret nuclear activities at a facility about 40 kilometers north of Cairo. An IAEA report said Egypt carried out nuclear research from 1960 to 2000, but probably did not conduct uranium enrichment.

"We will not accept initiatives made abroad," Gamal said. "Egypt is a big country and plays a leading role and will continue to do that." Officials said the NDP has been discussing the renewal of Egypt's nuclear program since May 2006. They said Gamal, the party's deputy secretary-general, and his colleagues have been discussing the option of producing nuclear fuel to avoid dependency on foreign suppliers. Virtually all Cabinet ministers are NDP members.

On September 11, an Egyptian strategist urged Arab League members to invest in a regional civilian nuclear program. During a two-day nuclear conference in the Bahraini capital of Manama, the strategist pointed to Iran's uranium enrichment program, which he said could not be ignored by Arab neighbors. The conference adopted the Egyptian recommendation. "We can't just sit and look from the outside as these developments take place," Mohammed Al Said Idris, a consultant at the Egyptian state-owned Al Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, said.

Officials said China could be a leading supplier of nuclear technology to Egypt. Over the last two years, they said, Beijing has expanded trade links and plans to invest in Egypt's energy sector. Between 2002 and 2005, trade between the two countries doubled to $2.2 billion.

"We are planning to bring our relationship with China to a new level," Egyptian Trade Minister Rashid Mohammed Rashid, who led a delegation to China in early September, said. "If you look at the big picture, everybody in the world is aware there is a paradigm shift in the world economy at the moment."

Despite repeated denials, Gamal has been regarded as the heir-apparent to the president. Over the last four years, he has risen to a leadership position in the NDP and in April was sent on a secret mission to the United States, where he met President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

"There's an impressive group of younger Egyptians, the trade minister and some of the economic people that understand the promise and the difficulties of democracy," Bush, referring to Gamal, told The Wall Street Journal.

Egypt has been receiving about $2 billion a year in U.S. military and economic aid. The Bush administration, under congressional pressure, has withheld Egypt's request for new F-16s, the Joint Direct Attack Munition and other advanced U.S. systems.

In 2005, Mubarak was elected to another six-year term. But opposition leaders assess that the 78-year-old president would step down in 2007 and ensure that his son takes over.

Opposition sources said the current three-day NDP conference would decide to amend Egypt's constitution. They said the proposed revisions were designed to facilitate the election of Gamal in a referendum in mid-2007. "The main objective of the NDP is to put Gamal Mubarak on the seat of power, and this conference will ensure that happens," opposition parliamentarian Talaat Sadat, nephew of the late President Anwar Sadat.

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Will Olmert Team Ignore the Quartet Double Cross - with US support?
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director, IMRA

"The Quartet welcomed the efforts of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to form a government of national unity, in the hope that the platform of such a government would reflect Quartet principles and allow for early engagement."

Statement of the Quartet - 20 September 2006

A Fiasco.

Without any advance warning, the United States, through the Quartet, radically changed its position on Palestinian compliance.

The Quartet no longer requires Palestinian compliance. It only "hopes" for it.

In the days leading up to this shocking development, foreign minister Tzipi Livni held meetings with literally every important American official - including President Bush and Secretary of State Rice. But despite these meetings Livni apparently had no idea that this dramatic policy change was in the works.

This morning the domestic spin, as presented by Minister Ronnie Bar-On in an interview on Israel Radio, was to deny that anything happened.

And there certainly is a logic to this approach.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's principle advisors are advertising men. These folks are experts in marketing politicians and toothpaste - not international relations. And the advertising men rightly figure that if Israeli officials don't follow up on the Quartet Statement that the story won't have legs - thus limiting the current damage the story would have done to Olmert.

The problem is, of course, that while the story may have died, the consequences haven't. It is only a matter of time before the downgrading of Palestinian compliance from a requirement to a "hope" gains expression in the policies and actions of the Quartet members.

What could the Olmert team have done if their priority was the future of Israel rather than Olmert's standing in overnight polling?

Instead of trying to kill the story, the team should have developed it.

The prime minister knows how to phone leading American Jewish leaders, politicians and columnists when he wants to.

FM Livni, who was literally at the scene of the crime, had ample opportunities to let the media know about Israel's concerns before returning home.

It may be still not too late to pick up the ball.

What's to be gained by making an issue of it?

Let's not forget that this is an election year in the United States, and this policy shift is hardly something for the White House to be proud of.

Prompt action could very well lead to "clarifying remarks" to turn Palestinian compliance back into a requirement rather than just a "hope".

In the least, by identifying itself as the injured party, Israel could expect to gain some form of diplomatic compensation for the American breach of trust.

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Danger of "Democracy" in Palestine
David Bedein

The tradition of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, which falls this year on both Saturday and Sunday, is for Jews to engage in reflection, prayer and in communal religious introspection.

One year ago this week, on the eve of the Rosh Hashanah, this reporter covered an event in Washington during which President George W. Bush exuded a clear, unequivocal appreciation and commitment to Israel. On that same occasion, President Bush called for a democratic state of Palestine to be created alongside Israel as a way to foster peace in the Middle East.

Yet four months later, a parliamentary election supervised by the US government took place in the Palestinian Authority resulting in an overwhelming victory for Hamas, the Islamic Palestinian terrorist group that leads the fight to exterminate Israel.

Ever since, Hamas and the Fateh, the other major party represented in the Palestinian Parliament that is led by Palestinian Authority President Machmud Abbas, have been jockeying for power to determine who will run a Palestinian Arab state in the future.

Neither the Fateh nor Hamas promise any kind of peace or reconciliation with Israel.

Abbas's constitution for a future Palestinian State, which this reporter obtained from sources in the Vatican, contains no clause whatsoever which would allow for recognition of the Jewish state of Israel.

As an official of the Vatican explained to a US congressional delegation visiting Israel last year, Abbas's constitution for a future Palestinian state does not allow for any juridical status for Judaism, Christianity or for any religion other than Islam, and the entire area of Palestine would eradicate the state of Israel to remain the legislated borders of any future state of Palestine. In other words, in accordance with the 1974 a.m.endment to the PLO covenant, any area ceded to the Palestinian Arab entity by Israel will be used to stage attacks to "liberate" the rest of Palestine.

That is, of course, what has occurred in Gaza.

After Israel ceded all of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, forcibly destroying all Israeli Jewish communities there, armed Fateh and Hamas factions in Gaza conducted 930 missile attacks on Israel's western Negev region, an area that appears in the Abbas's new Palestinian Authority textbooks as an integral part of the future Palestinian State. This is the case even though the Negev is not part of either Gaza or Judea and Samaria in the west bank.

In other words, President Bush's vision for a "democratic state of Palestine," which he repeated this week in his meeting with Abbas at the UN, remains a lethal threat to the state and people of Israel.

Palestinian Arab sovereignty means an armed entity at war with Israel, with one purpose extermination of the state and people of Israel.

Yet it is now clear that almost all nations of the world support the "democratic vision" for a Palestinian Arab state, including the USA.

Since American democratic principles operate with clear constraints that protect human rights, civil liberties and religious minorities, it must be kept in mind that this is not what Palestinian "democracy" is based on.

This Rosh Hashana, the new Jewish year gives ample time to reflect on recent history and for Jews to remind themselves and the world that Adolf Hitler also came to power as a violent coalition partner in a democratically elected government that nullified human rights, civil liberties and minority rights.

The message of the Jewish new year is that any democracy which operates without constraints cannot be trusted. To understand this is to make for a happier new year.

This article was published in the Evening Bulletin and on Front Page Magazine on September 22nd, 2006

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