Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Palestinian Rocket, Mortar Fire at Israel Continues - Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff, and Yuval Azoulay (Ha'aretz)
Video: Israeli News Crew Targeted by Palestinian Snipers (Israel Channel 2 Television/YouTube)
Palestinian Media Continue Incitement Against Israel in Contravention of Roadmap (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
Judge Sentences Padilla to 17 Years - Peter Whoriskey and Dan Eggen (Washington Post)
Israel Is Set to Promote the Use of Electric Cars - Steven Erlanger (New York Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Masked gunmen used explosives to blow holes in Gaza's border fence early Wednesday, enabling thousands of Palestinians to pour into Egypt to buy food, fuel and other supplies. Egyptian and Palestinian border guards did not resist the mass crossing at the Rafah terminal.
Hundreds of Gaza women had crashed a gate at the same border Tuesday to protest Egypt's cooperation with Israeli sanctions. They were turned back during a riot that injured 35 people. During a protest organized by Hamas, the women chanted accusations calling Egyptian President Mubarak a coward for sticking to an agreement with the U.S. and Israel to keep the border closed and Gaza's Hamas-led government isolated. The crowd broke through a metal gate and hurled rocks at Egyptian police, who drove them back with clubs, tear gas and water cannon. Hamas border guards fired warning shots, prompting Egyptian police to start shooting too. (Los Angeles Times)
The foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council agreed Tuesday in Berlin to a new set of sanctions against Iran which are intended to induce Tehran to give up its nuclear program. No details were announced. A resolution will be submitted to the Security Council within a few weeks, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said. "This is a swift reminder to the Iranians that they are not in compliance," a senior American official said. The official said the U.S. was happy with the plan, which would "take some of the previous sanction measures and strengthen them" and add "new elements." A European diplomat said the proposal "further developed the existing lines" of sanctions. (New York Times)
Following a day of debate, the UN Security Council could not agree on language for a statement condemning the deterioration of the situation in Gaza. The draft statement circulating among the 15-member council expresses concern about "the steep deterioration of the humanitarian situation," but it fails to mention the hundreds of rockets Hamas militants have fired into southern Israel in the last week. U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said he could not support the Libyan-authored draft as it stands. "As is, it is not acceptable....It does not talk about the rocket attacks, the attacks on innocent Israelis." (VOA News)
See also below Observations: Israel's Statement to the Security Council: The Situation in Gaza and Sderot (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier is expected to announce as early as Wednesday Canada is dropping out of planning for the Durban II Conference, which the UN is billing as a global follow-up to its 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. Insiders say the government feels the new conference is shaping up to be like the anti-West and anti-Israel free-for-all that critics said the initial gathering quickly turned into. "Make no mistake, Durban II is on track to be even worse than Durban I," said Anne Bayefsky, a Canadian academic who edits the New York-based monitoring Web site EyeontheUN.org. "Canada, if it drops out, would be exhibiting moral clarity and courage after making the mistake at Durban I of staying despite serious reservations." (National Post-Canada)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told the Herzliya Conference Tuesday: "Israel should not have to apologize for its existence and it will continue to defend the lives of its citizens, even at the price of condemnation....It is inconceivable for Palestinians to fire rockets on Israel and then ask for our help." "We are not heading towards a new cooperative Middle East, but rather parting consensually for the good of our children and ourselves, and so that we may preserve our sense of independence," she said.
On Iran, Livni said: "It is important to understand that the Iranian threat is unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will not change if we solve this conflict. We're in a bad neighborhood where you either stand up to the local bully or you join him. Any hesitation is immediately seen as a sign of weakness and therefore the world cannot allow itself any weakness on the Iranian matter." (Ynet News)
The UN Security Council must denounce Hamas rather than Israel, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tuesday. "The Council must ask Hamas why it is firing on children and women in Israel." "We have no interest in seeing Gaza's residents suffer. They are not our enemies, but Gaza's residents must complain to Hamas. They are the only ones who can bring down Hamas and they must demand that Hamas stop firing on Israel."
"In this case, there is no doubt who started and there is no doubt that Hamas is constantly firing missiles, and this cannot remain unanswered. The responsibility for the situation in Gaza lies unequivocally on Hamas' shoulders. There is not one state in the world which will be fired on without retaliating. There is no excuse for the fire and no justification to ignore it." (Ynet News)
European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security, former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, said Tuesday that the steps leading up to the Gaza blackout cannot be construed as a war crime and criticized the incessant Kassam rocket fire on Israeli civilian population centers. "There has been a large misunderstanding in recent years between Europe and Israel. And Israel is justified in its concerns. For too long, Europe has put too much blame on Israel for lack of peace with the Palestinians. We, as Europeans, should have understood Israel's concerns sooner," said Frattini. "As friends, it was our duty to criticize when we felt criticism was needed, but we did it too often and unfairly. We asked you to take risks and often we didn't provide you with assurances that you wouldn't stand alone if things went badly." (Ynet News)
See also Dutch Foreign Minister: Israel Unfairly Singled Out for Criticism by UN - Cnaan Liphshiz (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Last week, 100 rockets rained down on Israel's southern towns. Israel could have defended itself against the attacks launched by militants in Gaza by responding with a bombardment of its own, endangering civilians. It could have sent the Israeli Defense Forces into Gaza, endangering civilians. Instead, Israel opted to enforce a blockade of Gaza to put pressure on Hamas. As Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni aptly put it, "Israel is the only country in the world that supplies electricity to terror groups which in turn fire rockets at it." If life in Gaza is to return to what passes for normal in the terrorist statelet, all Hamas needs to do is call off its dogs and end its attacks. The truth is, Hamas prefers it the way it is. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon said Tuesday there was no chance for a peace agreement with the Palestinians without Palestinian reform. Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Yaalon criticized the "failed" political perception that assumes the need to find a solution as soon as possible. "This perception must be replaced immediately," he said.
The reform in the PA should include education reform. "As long as the Palestinian education system preaches jihad, a holy war against Israel and a refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist, there is no chance for peace. A change is needed in the study program and the incitement in the public dialogue, the media, and the mosques must stop." (Ynet News)
Israel's Statement to the Security Council: The Situation in Gaza and Sderot - Charge d'Affaires Gilad Cohen (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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