Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hugo Chavez's Jewish Problem - Travis Pantin (Commentary)
Arab Media Blind to Darfur - Salah Khadr
Iran's Blood-Drenched Mullahs - Nir Boms and Shayan Arya (Washington Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran's missile tests last week will strengthen its position in diplomatic discussions over its disputed nuclear plans, Deputy Defense Minister Nasrullah Ezatti said Monday. "The maneuvers helped the Islamic Republic to go to the negotiating table with a full hand," he said. (Reuters)
Israel and the Palestinians disagreed over the final declaration at a Mediterranean summit and the wording will have to be changed, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Monday. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said his delegation "categorically opposed" wording in the text submitted by Israel that referred to a "state of the Jewish people." (AFP)
Middle East envoy Tony Blair canceled a visit to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Tuesday due to a security threat, a spokesman for the former British prime minister said. "Unfortunately Mr. Blair has had to postpone his visit to Gaza due to a specific security threat which would have made it impossible to proceed," the spokesman said. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday branded UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the Second Lebanon War a failure, saying that it had not achieved the aim of disarming Hizbullah in Lebanon. Barak told a Labor Party forum on Monday that the resolution had not worked, does not work now, and will probably never work. Despite the resolution's call for a strict ban on arms shipments to Hizbullah, the group has rearmed and now has a larger rocket arsenal than it did during the war. "Hizbullah is continuing to ignore [the resolution] with the ongoing intimate assistance of the Syrians," Barak said. (Ha'aretz)
The Iranian and Syrian militaries have assisted Hizbullah in setting up advanced radar installations atop Mt. Sannine in Lebanon's Beka Valley which can be used to track Israeli planes from the Mediterranean Sea to Damascus, the Azerbaijan-based Trend News Agency reported. (Jerusalem Post)
The Canadian Internet service provider iWeb recently removed three websites powered by Hamas and Hizbullah - both designated as terrorist organizations in Canada. Jonathan Halevi, co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd. and a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, had filed a complaint after discovering that an official Hamas website was being hosted in Canada. After reporting that Hizbullah may be activating sleeper cells in Canada, CBC questioned iWeb about two additional websites, one promoting Hizbullah and the other in support of Hamas, both of which were eventually taken down.
According to Halevi, as much as 95% of online activity powered by terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda and Hamas, is hosted by American servers. "Nobody is getting sued for supporting terrorist organizations on the Web. There is an urgent need for an international Internet police," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Prisoner exchange is governed by international humanitarian law as detailed in the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions (1949). At the end of a conflict the states implement an exchange of captured soldiers. In the interim, the captured soldiers are entitled to the status of Prisoners of War, who must be provided with adequate facilities and care as well as communication with the outside world.
Israel's enemies, using proxy guerilla organizations such as the Iranian-proxy group Hizbullah, operate outside the legal framework of the laws of war - routinely committing war crimes such as indiscriminate attacks (the deliberate targeting of civilians as such) and perfidy (disguising combatants as protected individuals such as civilians). The organizations' fighters are unlawful combatants who are not entitled to the protected status of POWs, and are subject to prosecution as war criminals.
By exchanging prisoners with the proxy organizations as if they were law-abiding states, Israel can be seen as upgrading the status of the organizations' unlawful combatants. Such exchanges afford them the same rights as lawful soldiers, without demanding from their leaders the reciprocal obligations. At the same time, Israel downgrades the rights of its own captured soldiers by overlooking the organizations' systematic depravation of POW rights for Israeli soldiers under the Geneva Conventions. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The West's latest offer to appease Tehran constituted a major achievement for the Iranians. It promised civilian nuclear power plants, economic assistance, new airplanes, agricultural assistance, hi-tech transfers and a freeze on the expansion of economic sanctions against the nuclear-weapons-seeking mullocracy. In exchange, the Iranians weren't even required to end their uranium enrichment activities. All they needed to do was promise not to expand their current enrichment activities.
As David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, explained to Newsweek, at their current, known level of uranium enrichment the Iranians are producing 1.2 kg. of enriched uranium a day. At this enrichment level, they will be able to produce a nuclear bomb by next year. So the international community's willingness to accept continued Iranian uranium enrichment at current levels is a clear signal of the international community's willingness to accept a nuclear-armed Iran. (Jerusalem Post)
The First Lebanon War's original aims of ensuring a Lebanon free of Syria and its terrorist proxies, oriented toward peace and resistant to Islamism, are precisely those desired by the West today. The legacy of Lebanon is not merely anguish, but also lessons that can help avert such catastrophes in the future. Trying to impose peace on a Middle Eastern nation by military means can prove calamitous - that is the first lesson of Lebanon as well as Iraq. But, having embarked on that course, a precipitous pullout can yield even deadlier results.
Furthermore, war aims must be fully endorsed by the government and communicated to the public. Winning in the Middle East also means playing by Middle Eastern rules - maneuvering between rival ethnic groups, deterring and incentivizing them, and identifying which of them predominates.
Lastly and most pertinently, trust Israel's instincts. The West's forward-most outpost in the Middle East, Israel correctly signaled the danger of Osirak and of a terrorist-dominated Lebanon. Israel is now warning about the cataclysm impending from a rapacious, nuclear-armed Iran. The West would be well-served to listen. The writer is a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. (New Republic)
Israeli Doubts over Syria Peace - Jonathan Marcus (BBC News)
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