Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Palestinians Silence Dissent in West Bank, Gaza - Mohammed Daraghmeh (AP/Washington Post)
Islamist Website Discusses Poisoning Water Systems of Major European Cities (MEMRI)
Israel, Turkey and U.S. to Hold Search and Rescue Drill (Turkish Press)
The End of Al-Qaeda? - Philippe Gohier
"Honor" Killing Comes to the U.S. - Jeff Jacoby (Boston Globe)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has rejected an Israeli peace proposal, Nabil Abu Rdainah, Abbas' spokesman, said on Tuesday. Under the proposal, Israel would give the Palestinians 92.7 percent of the West Bank, plus all of Gaza, according to Western and Palestinian officials briefed on the negotiations. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's proposal does not offer a solution to competing claims to Jerusalem, and would only be implemented once Abbas reined in militants and re-established control of Gaza, which Hamas seized a year ago.
Olmert's proposal first emerged several months ago and was published in greater detail on Tuesday, prompting Abu Rdainah's response. "The Israeli proposal is not acceptable," he said. "The Palestinian side will only accept a Palestinian state with territorial continuity, with holy Jerusalem as its capital, without settlements, and on the June 4, 1967 boundaries." He called the Israeli proposal a "waste of time." Olmert spokesman Mark Regev said, "We are committed to continuing the effort to try to reach a joint Israeli-Palestinian document." (Reuters)
See also Chief PA Negotiator Discounts Reported Peace Proposal - Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff
Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians were unaware of the existence of such a proposal. "At no time were the Palestinians presented with a detailed set of proposals by Ehud Olmert or any Israeli official," he said. "All the details mentioned in this report are either completely untrue or are not linked to reality." Erekat said the Palestinians would not accept any solution that excludes the issues of Jerusalem and the "right of return" for Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post)
The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday imposed sanctions against five more Iranian firms that had provided support or materials to Iran's nuclear and missile programs. The move bans Americans from doing business with them and freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction. "These five nuclear and missile entities have been used by Iran to hide its illicit conduct and further its dangerous nuclear ambitions," said Stuart Levey, the Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. "Responsible financial institutions and businesses worldwide are taking steps to avoid doing business with Iranian nuclear and missile entities, as well as with the front companies and cut-outs the Iranian regime uses to disguise its activities," Levey said. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The U.S. has rejected an Israeli request for military equipment and support that would improve Israel's ability to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. The Americans viewed the request, which was rejected at the highest level, as a sign that Israel is in the advanced stages of preparations to attack Iran. They warned Israel against attacking, saying such a strike would undermine American interests. When President Bush visited Jerusalem in May, he held a private meeting on the Iranian threat with Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Barak. The Israelis presented requests for specific items of military equipment, along with diplomatic and security backing.
Two weeks ago, Barak visited Washington and warned that Iran was liable to advance its nuclear program under cover of the endless deliberations about sanctions. In an attempt to compensate Israel for having rejected all its proposals, Washington then offered to bolster Israel's defenses against ballistic missiles. However, it would not agree to supply Israel with any offensive systems. (Ha'aretz)
Some 210 Israelis and 30 new immigrants from Georgia arrived in Israel on Tuesday night, with an additional 400 Israelis to follow shortly. Pini Avivi, the Israel Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general for Central Europe and Eurasia, said, "600 Israelis and Jews assembled at the embassy. The objective was to get them out of Georgia by midnight. They're happy to go back home." Israel's Health Ministry announced that it will send two and a half tons of medical supplies to Georgia. (Ynet News)
See also Israeli Reporter Wounded in Georgia
Yediot Ahronot reporter Tzadok Yehezkeli, 52, was seriously injured Tuesday in Georgia while covering the fighting in Gori, near the South Ossetian border. Three Israeli doctors landed in Georgia at midnight to help treat Yehezkeli, who was then flown to Israel. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's strategy, which relied on wide international support for an embattled democracy and quick intervention by NATO, was never realistic. Vladimir Putin's resurgent Russia has been steadily eating into Georgian territory by supporting breakaway movements, and Saakashvili sought to reverse this process. He thought Georgia could make its move during the Beijing Olympics, when Putin would not want to be seen as a ruthless attacker. This was a foolish and costly mistake - Putin had no interest in protecting his image. At the same time, Washington is focused on nuclear threats from Iran and the ongoing war in Iraq. Both require some cooperation from Moscow.
For Israel, the speed and brutality of the Russian attack on Georgia are another reminder that our survival in the Middle East requires a realistic assessment of the power balance in the region. In Lebanon and Gaza, the hope that European and UN forces will prevent Hizbullah and Hamas from acquiring and using weapons is dangerously naive. In the case of Iran's nuclear program, Israel's own power and ability to defend against and deter attacks remain the most effective forms of insurance. The writer is chairman of the Political Studies Department of Bar-Ilan University. (Jerusalem Post)
This is the beginning of a larger international effort to find a permanent resolution to the South Ossetian and Abkhazian problem. The self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia seceded from Georgia in the early 1990s, with the Russian military providing crucial help. In practice, Russian policies amounted to de facto annexation: most residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were granted Russian citizenship, and both republics were given various forms of economic aid. Moreover, Russian military contingents in both regions - officially the OSCE-sponsored peacekeeping force - provided shields against potential Georgian efforts to bring the seceding regions back under effective Georgian sovereignty.
By inflicting a military knock-out punch on Georgian President Saakashvili, perceived by Russia as a mere puppet of the U.S., Russia sent the message that it would neither tolerate hostile regimes in bordering states nor permit its economic hegemony in the region to be challenged.
Russia's use of force could in the long run completely undermine Russian credibility when it speaks against the use of force in Iran or condemns potential future confrontation between Israel and Hizbullah (in 2006, Russia condemned in the harshest terms Israel's "excessive use of force"). Finally, as Israelis know well, bombing and invading small countries never looks good on TV in the West, however justified it might be. In the court of public opinion, Russia has already lost. The author is the Jay and Leonie Darwin Chair in Russian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
Iranian leaders constantly issue "aggressive" statements against the Gulf countries. At times, they declare their intention to burn the region, the military bases, and the oil wells if their country comes under a U.S. military attack - as stated by Ali Shamkhani, military adviser to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. At others, they meddle in the domestic affairs of the countries of the region or declare illegitimate the ruling regimes in the Gulf countries - as said by Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Research Manuchehr Mohammadi. In his opinion, the legitimacy of the Arab Gulf regimes will trigger the upcoming crisis in the Middle East. Mohammadi's declarations will not be the last ones made by an Iranian official against the regional countries.
Iran's role is not "veiled" anymore but "exposed." Iran is active in Lebanon and in the south of Iraq, it cooperates with Hamas leaders and supports the Hawthi's followers in Yemen. Iran is trying to create a Sunni-Shiite conflict in the Gulf region and on Arab borders, in order to expand its influence and win more supporters, either through buying in "dollars" or by exporting the Khomeini revolution. (Dar Al Hayat-Lebanon)
Russia and China Subverting Iran Sanctions - Editorial (Washington Times)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert