Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Israeli Professor Killed in Virginia Tech Shooting - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
Israel Campus Beat
- April 15, 2007
Should Israel Seek the Return of its Soldiers at Any Price?
U.S. May Be Softening Stance on Muslim Brotherhood - Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball (Newsweek)
Israeli Photographer Wins Pulitzer Prize for News Photo (AP/Washington Post)
Israel Protests Anti-Semitic Russian Video Clip - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran and North Korea have appointed high-level delegations to deepen cooperation on nuclear weapons technology, according to diplomatic sources in Beijing. The countries are keen to seal a deal before North Korea starts to close its Yongbyon reactor under the terms of an agreement with the U.S. and regional powers in February. The U.S. State Department has demanded that North Korea should "immediately" invite the International Atomic Energy Agency to begin sealing the facility.
Iran has taken advantage of the delay to intensify attempts to negotiate a deal that would give Teheran access to the nuclear expertise North Korea acquired during last year's atom bomb test. Iranian scientists have been invited to Pyongyang to study data collected from the test. Although North Korea has agreed to shut the Yongbyon reactor, the agreement puts no limits on North Korea to export the expertise it acquired from the test.
The Iranian delegation handling negotiations with North Korea reports directly to Reza Aghazadeh, the country's vice president and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization. Meetings have taken place at the Chinese border city of Shenyang, because the Iranians are keen not to draw attention to their increased cooperation with Pyongyang. (Telegraph-UK)
See also Dangerous Dealings: North Korea's Nuclear Capabilities and the Threat of Export to Iran - Siegfried S. Hecker and William Liou
Iran appears to be North Korea's most likely customer or partner for nuclear technologies. Iran seems to be on a determined path to nuclear weapons. It began its covert uranium-enrichment program nearly 20 years ago but has only recently publicly demonstrated its ability to produce low-enriched uranium. However, the sale of plutonium represents the gravest and most immediate threat. Obtaining 10 to 20 kilograms of plutonium from North Korea, would catapult Iran into nuclear-weapon status. North Korea is unlikely to encounter serious hurdles if it was to ship plutonium to Iran, and detecting such shipments would be very difficult.
Iran has money and oil, just what Pyongyang needs most. The two countries have long-standing collaborations in ballistic missiles dating back to the Iran-Iraq War. North Korea helped Iran establish a missile assembly facility and provided the required technical documentation for future production. Key engineers and military personnel were exchanged on a regular basis, and missile cooperation continues today. If the six-party agreement falls through, Iran could help finance an expanded North Korean nuclear weapons program. Siegfried S. Hecker is co-director of Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation. He was director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1986 to 1997. William Liou is a technical staff member at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (Arms Control Today)
A federal judge on Monday rejected prosecutors' request to close portions of an upcoming trial for two former pro-Israel lobbyists accused of violating the Espionage Act. The government's proposal to keep huge swaths of evidence in the case out of public view was unprecedented and violated both the defendants' and the public's right to an open trial, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis said. (AP/Forbes)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
"If Israel rejects the Arab League peace proposal, resistance will be the only way to liberate the Golan Heights," Syrian Information Minister Muhsen Bilal said in Damascus Monday. Bilal also referred to Syrian-American Ibrahim Soliman's visit to Israel, saying, "Nobody elected Soliman to represent Syria. He does not speak for any Syrian institute." (Ynet News)
Three people were injured when Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a car entering Naaleh in the West Bank, not far from Modi'in, the police said. (Ynet News)
A number of Palestinian factions, including Hamas, have called for more Israeli soldiers to be captured in order to ensure Palestinian prisoners are released in exchange. In a statement, Hamas urged the armed brigades of Fatah, the Popular Resistance Committees, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and others to work together to capture more Israeli soldiers. (Maan News-PA)
Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket toward Israel's western Negev Monday night, Israel Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
There are five reasons why Israel should not engage now in negotiations with Syria over a peace treaty similar to the one discussed seven years ago. A treaty with Syria will not remove the Iranian threat. Nor will it solve the Palestinian problem or the problem of Lebanon and Hizbullah. Peace with Syria will not lead to any comprehensive agreement vis-a-vis Israel's relations with the Arab world. Nor would an agreement solve the problem of Israel's standing in the world.
In addition, the U.S. has no interest in encouraging a peace treaty between Israel and Syria. The potential stability of such an agreement is another issue since Syria is a country ruled by the minority Alawi sect. There is no guarantee that a Sunni government of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria would honor such a peace treaty. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland is former head of Israel's National Security Council. (Strategic Assessment-Tel Aviv University)
Germany has become one of the world's most vocal champions of both international legal institutions and "universal jurisdiction" (under which one state claims the right to prosecute foreign officials and nationals for alleged "international" offenses). Germany is a particularly enthusiastic proponent of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), and has declared ICC "universality" to be one of its pre-eminent foreign policy goals. Yet Berlin has little problem "engaging" the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a true Holocaust denier who has pointedly threatened a renewed genocide against Israel. (Wall Street Journal, 16Apr07)
In light of Hizbullah's potentially destructive influence in the region, it is imperative that the U.S. and the international community take the necessary measures to curtail the organization's international terrorist activity. These measures include isolating Hizbullah at the international level; maintaining relentless diplomatic and economic pressure on Syria and Iran; making the Hizbullah issue the first priority in U.S. communication with Damascus; and applying diplomatic and, in particular, economic pressure to convince Lebanon to curb Hizbullah's military presence. (Institute for Counter-Terrorism-IDC Herzliyia)
Palestinians and the "Right of Return" - Alan Dershowitz (Christian Science Monitor)
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