Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
LBJ's Newly Released Oval Office Recordings Disclose His Deep Feelings toward Israel (AP/International Herald Tribune)
See also LBJ Rescued Hundreds of Jews from the Holocaust - Lenny Ben-David (I*Consult)
Egyptian's Bid for UN Post in Doubt After Call to Burn Israeli Books - Benny Avni (New York Sun)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Bush administration is pressing UN inspectors to broaden their search for possible secret nuclear facilities in Syria, hinting that Syria's nuclear program might be bigger than the reactor destroyed by Israeli warplanes last year. At least three sites have been identified by U.S. officials as possible support facilities for the Al Kibar reactor destroyed on Sep. 6.
"Do not assume that Al Kibar exhausted our knowledge of Syrian efforts with regard to nuclear weapons," CIA Director Michael Hayden said in an interview. "I am very comfortable - certainly with Al Kibar and what was there, and what the intent was....In fact, events since the attack give us even greater confidence as to what it was." (Washington Post)
Four countries last year prevented Syria from receiving equipment that could be used to test ballistic missile components, U.S. national security adviser Stephen Hadley said Wednesday. Interdictions via the Proliferation Security Initiative, a network of countries that seeks to stop illicit weapons of mass destruction shipments, "have stopped many shipments of sensitive materials destined for Iran, North Korea, and Syria," he said. (Reuters/Washington Post)
Ali Larijani, who resigned as Iran's nuclear negotiator in October over differences with President Ahmadinejad, was elected by a vote of 232 to 31 as speaker of the Iranian Parliament on Wednesday. His lopsided victory appeared to be a rebuke of Ahmadinejad, who has faced growing dissatisfaction over grinding inflation and fresh memories of rolling blackouts last winter that left people without electricity and heat for hours at a time - even as the nation's oil revenues were soaring.
However, Larijani is far from a moderate. In Washington, a senior administration official said, "Unfortunately, the election of Mr. Larijani as parliamentary speaker is simply a continuation of the existing regime.... Whether he and Ahmadinejad get along is irrelevant. He's still fully supportive of all of their policies with which we disagree." (New York Times)
Javed Iqbal, 44 and Saleh Elahwal, 55, accused of agreeing to broadcast the Hizbullah television channel Al-Manar to U.S. customers, will face trial on terrorism charges, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman ruled on Wednesday. The U.S. Treasury branded Al-Manar a terrorist organization in March 2006, saying it supported Hizbullah's fund-raising and recruitment activities. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
A third Israeli relief team departed on Wednesday for Myanmar, including medical personnel, training specialists, and logisticians who will continue IsraAID's relief efforts in the field.
See also Video: Israeli Rescue Teams in Myanmar [Burma] (YouTube)
The Palestinians are proposing that a multinational force under U.S. command be deployed in the future Palestinian state after a peace agreement with Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Palestinian mortar barrages from Gaza on Wednesday damaged a house on an Israeli kibbutz. (Ynet News)
See also Poll: Southern Israel Residents Plan to Stay Despite Palestinian Rocket Fire - Stephanie Rubenstein
Despite thousands of rocket attacks, the vast majority of Israelis living in Gaza-periphery communities say they have no plan to leave their homes. In a poll released Wednesday by the Union of Local Authorities, 89.5% said they did not want to leave their areas. United Kibbutz Movement spokesman Aviv Leshem said remaining in the south, despite the situation, was the Zionist response to terrorism. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Last August, the International Atomic Energy Agency struck a deal with Iran on a "work plan" for clearing up outstanding questions about its nuclear program within three months. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, who launched the initiative as an end run around the Western campaign to stop Tehran's ongoing uranium enrichment, claimed that it would be a "litmus test." "If Iran were to prove that it was using this period for delaying tactics and it was not really acting in good faith, then obviously nobody - nobody - will come to its support when people call for more sanctions or for punitive measures," he said. On Monday, six months after the deadline, the IAEA issued a report saying, in essence, that Iran had not acted in good faith and was engaging in delaying tactics. (Washington Post)
See also Iran and the Inspectors - Editorial
The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency is a grim reminder that Tehran is pressing ahead with its nuclear program, and the U.S. and its allies don't have a strategy for containing it. The report says that Iran continues to defy the UN Security Council by enriching uranium - usable for reactors, or with a little more work, a weapon - and is building ever-more-powerful centrifuges. It also expresses serious concerns about evidence that Iran is working on programs with clear military applications: developing high-voltage detonators, underground testing and redesigning the Shahab-3 missile, possibly to accommodate a nuclear warhead. And why, as the report asks, is Iran's military involved in "procurement activities" for the program if it is intended only for nuclear power? (New York Times)
Reports of serious negotiations between Israel and Syria raise the possibility that the trouble-making Damascus regime may at last be contemplating a fundamental change in direction. Or Syria's rulers might be engaged in nothing more than an elaborate P.R. effort. Syrian promises alone are insufficient; they must be backed up by concrete and verifiable steps in the direction of long-term peace.
The importance of the Golan buffer zone was demonstrated when Syria and Egypt launched a surprise attack on Israel in 1973. This buffer zone enabled a small number of determined Israeli tank crews to hold off the Syrian divisions until Israel could mobilize its reserves and prevent catastrophe. So Syrian demands for the entire Golan should receive a skeptical hearing. Certainly such demands should be rejected as long as Syria continues to employ terrorists, threaten its neighbors, seek nuclear weaponry and work hand-in-glove with the aggressive fanatics ruling Iran.
Only a few months ago, President Bush put together a high-profile international conference to kick off what was supposed to be an intense Arab-Israeli peace effort. Administration officials worked hard to persuade Syria to attend that conference. It seems odd, then, that the Bush administration would complain about Israeli contacts with Syria. (Kansas City Star)
The Problem with Talking to Iran - Amir Taheri (Wall Street Journal)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert