Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Iran Opens New Naval Base in Gulf (Telegraph-UK)
U.S. Fears Opening Tehran Mission Will Aid Ahmadinejad - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
Sudan Liberation Movement Leader: "We Will Open an Israeli Embassy in Khartoum" (MEMRI)
Islamists Say Damascus Backed Lebanon Attack (AFP)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei confirmed Monday that traces of radioactive material were found at a site in Syria bombed by Israeli planes, but said the source was inconclusive. "It's not highly enriched uranium. It could have come from so many different ways," he said in Dubai. ElBaradei called specifically for more cooperation from Damascus, saying the agency needs "a lot of transparency on the part of Syria." (AP/Washington Post)
In order to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb, "We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us," Israeli Air Force Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan told Der Spiegel in an interview. "The Iranian regime is not only a problem for the Air Force or the State of Israel. It is a problem for the entire free world. It is shameful that 70 years after the Reichskristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) there are still heads of state who call for the destruction of our people. History teaches us that we have to take those announcements seriously. And we take them very seriously."
Spiegel: Iran's nuclear facilities are spread around the country and are partly located underground. Is it even technically possible to destroy them?
Nehushtan: "I can only say this: It is not a technical or logistical question." (Der Spiegel-Germany)
See also Ex-IDF Chief: Military Option Against Iran Still Exists - Bradley Burston
Former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon told the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Jerusalem on Monday that keeping the military option on the table was a vital element of a wider strategy encompassing political isolation of the Tehran regime, and international economic "smart sanctions." "I believe that most of the Western armed forces, especially air forces, have the right capabilities to deal with the Iranian regime, where it comes to intelligence, precise munitions, the ability to launch air strikes, penetrating defense systems, targeting the right facilities....Technically speaking, there is a military option," Ya'alon said. (Ha'aretz)
Lebanon's Salafists, often equated with terrorists in much of the Arab world, have teamed with Saad Hariri and his mainstream Future Movement, with ties to the Bush administration. "They used to be very marginal," Benedetta Berti, a terrorism specialist at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, said of the Salafists. "Now, they have to be taken into account by any political movement. They have become a significant political force. Not by number, but in terms of the political impact they could have."
The curious experiment could have implications for the rest of the region. "One of the main reasons Salafists join the jihadist...and terrorist groups is because of alienation and marginalization," said Mustafa Allouch, a Future Movement lawmaker from Tripoli. But some wonder whether the Salafists are gaming the system to expand their reach and achieve their extreme goals, which include the radicalization of Sunni Muslims throughout the Middle East. (Los Angeles Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel will release 250 Fatah prisoners in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in December, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced Monday during a meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem. Sources at the Prime Minister's Office said that Israel releases Palestinian prisoners every year ahead of the Muslim holiday. (Ynet News)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak toured Sderot Monday with British Foreign Minister David Miliband, who said, "Israel should, above all, seek to protect its own citizens." "I'm here today because Sderot has become the front line of Israel's security....Israeli people need to know that the British people know of Sderot, and we know of the tragedy they are facing, and we stand with them." (Ynet News)
The IDF Home Front Command connected the city of Ashdod to the Color Red rocket warning system in recent days, following an estimate that Hamas now possesses long-range rockets capable of reaching the coastal city. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai visited the city Monday to supervise preparations, noting that "the cease-fire is crumbling." Palestinians fired at least 13 Kassam rockets and three mortars at Israel from Gaza on Monday. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Kenya declared a national holiday when Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential election. In Egypt the celebration was somewhat different: Government-controlled goons burned down the headquarters of the liberal democratic party that tried to embrace President Bush's "freedom agenda." Ayman Nour, the leader of that party, challenged Hosni Mubarak in Egypt's first contested presidential election in 2005, in large part because of Bush, who called on Egypt to "show the way" in the democratization of the Middle East. Mubarak won the election handily, then used a handpicked judge to sentence Nour to prison on trumped-up charges. The would-be democratic reformer has been behind bars ever since.
The episode is significant because it demonstrates a principal conclusion that Mubarak and other "pro-Western" autocrats seem to have drawn from Obama's election: that the threat of U.S. pressure for political liberalization has passed. Mubarak is convinced that the next president won't pester him about human rights, reports the Egyptian press. (Washington Post)
Am I the only person wondering why Israel isn't included in the G20? According to their own description, the G20 is composed of "systemically important industrialized and developing economies" that come together to "discuss key issues in the global economy." Israel is clearly an economic powerhouse, both in the region and globally. They have the second-highest number of startups in the world after the U.S. and the largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies outside of North America. The G20 might actually learn more about healthy economics from a country that turned nothing into something. (Huffington Post)
In an attack which shocked Tel Aviv by the harshness of its tone, Switzerland has accused Israel of wantonly destroying Palestinian homes. In addition, the Swiss called east Jerusalem an "integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory." The Swiss attack is only the latest incident in a rising "cold war." Earlier this year, Israel summoned Swiss Ambassador Walter Haffner to its Foreign Ministry offices in Jerusalem to protest against Switzerland's signing of a multi-billion dollar energy deal with Iran.
So incensed were Zionists when Swiss Foreign Minister Michelle Calmy-Rey wore a headscarf and was pictured smiling and joking with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, that the Anti-Defamation League placed a series of advertisements in various national newspapers - including Swiss ones - which claimed that Switzerland's energy deal with Iran made Switzerland the "world's newest sponsor of terrorism." Calmy-Rey reacted angrily to Israel's criticism, saying that Switzerland was "an independent country that has its own strategic interests to defend." It wasn't always like this. The very first Zionist congress was held in Basle in 1897. (FirstPost-UK)
Do Not Compare Israel's Security Fence to Nazi Ghettoes - Deborah Lipstadt (Emory Wheel)
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