Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Election Day in Israel (Ynet News)
Ex-Amnesty International Official to Head UN Probe of Israeli Actions in Gaza (AFP)
Hamas' Challenge to the PLO - Mohammad Yaghi (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Yemeni Jews Demand Rescue - Kawkab al-Thaibani (Yemen Times-Yemen)
Nazi Find Sheds Light on Egypt's Sensitive Past - Lee Keath (AP)
UN Human Rights Council Urges Saudi Arabia to Give Women Rights (Ms. Magazine)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Obama told a press conference Monday: Iran's "financing of terrorist organizations like Hizbullah and Hamas, the bellicose language that they've used towards Israel, their development of a nuclear weapon or their pursuit of a nuclear weapon...all of those things create the possibility of destabilizing the region and are not only contrary to our interests, but I think are contrary to the interests of international peace."
"My national security team is currently reviewing our existing Iran policy, looking at areas where we can have constructive dialogue, where we can directly engage with them. And my expectation is, in the coming months, we will be looking for openings that can be created where we can start sitting across the table, face to face; of diplomatic overtures that will allow us to move our policy in a new direction."
"As we engage in this direct diplomacy, we are very clear about certain deep concerns that we have as a country, that Iran understands that we find the funding of terrorist organizations unacceptable, that we're clear about the fact that a nuclear Iran could set off a nuclear arms race in the region that would be profoundly destabilizing." "My designation of George Mitchell as a special envoy to help deal with the Arab-Israeli situation, some of the interviews that I've given...indicates the degree to which we want to do things differently in the region. Now it's time for Iran to send some signals that it wants to act differently as well and recognize that even as it has some rights as a member of the international community, with those rights come responsibilities." (New York Times)
The UN said on Monday that Hamas has returned all of the aid supplies that it had seized in Gaza last week. UNRWA had suspended imports of goods Friday after accusing Hamas of twice seizing aid supplies, accusing Hamas of taking blankets, food and other goods from a warehouse and 10 aid trucks. (Reuters)
The PA has stopped paying for scores of Palestinian patients being treated in Israeli hospitals. Palestinians whose children were being treated in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem say they have been instructed by Palestinian health officials to place them in facilities in the West Bank, Jordan or Egypt. "We have been bombarded by frantic parents. This is a political decision taken on the backs of patients," said Dr. Michael Weintraub, director of pediatric hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplantation at Hadassah.
The Palestinian health minister, Fathi Abu Moghli, said he was examining the entire referral procedure because he had no desire to see the wounded from the Gaza war receive Israeli care. An Israeli clinic set up on the Israeli-Gaza border the day the war ended has already closed since both Hamas and the PA boycotted it. Dr. Abu Moghli said that with 24 hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank, there was no reason for so many Palestinian patients to go to Israeli facilities, which he said were much more expensive and contributed to a culture of dependency.
Dr. Weintraub said that if patients "live 10 minutes from Hadassah, they will do everything they can to get admitted. And we are happy to take them. There are no politics in our wards. Twenty percent of our patients are Palestinians, and we have one common enemy: cancer. The rest is immaterial." (New York Times)
As Iran marks the 30th anniversary of its revolution on Tuesday, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's legacy lives on in fact and myth - from Iran's opposition to America as the "Great Satan," to the spread of its ideology of resistance. Khomeini's words and ideas are still drawn upon daily by politicians of all stripes, who fight to prove they follow Khomeini's "true path." When former President Khatami declared his candidacy Sunday for June presidential elections, he said he had to take part because his "heart is with the revolution, with the Imam, with Iran." (Christian Science Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
IDF troops spotted an armed Palestinian trying to cross the Gaza-Israel border late Sunday and opened fire, after which a bomb belt he was wearing detonated. Islamic Jihad said the man killed was on a mission to attack an Israeli patrol along the border. (Ha'aretz)
Human rights groups have called on Hamas to investigate widespread allegations of abduction, torture and killing of Palestinians accused of being collaborators with Israel during the war in Gaza. "There is a state of vigilantism and chaos, lawlessness in the Gaza Strip right now," Randa Siniora of the Independent Commission for Human Rights said Sunday. Separately on Sunday, the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights called for an investigation into the death of Jamil Shakoura, who died in a Gaza hospital after being beaten in the custody of Hamas security forces.
Khalil Abu Shammala, a human rights monitor, told Al Jazeera that dozens of Fatah members were shot and tortured during the war. Naem Atallah told Al Jazeera that he found the body of his son Osama, a Fatah supporter, at Gaza's Shifa hospital after he was taken away from the family home by ten masked men who said they were from internal security. Osama, a teacher and father of five children, had been strangled, suffered blunt force trauma to his head and been shot. (Al-Jazeera-Qatar)
See also Gaza: Hamas Kneecappings, Punishment Beatings and Killings of "Collaborators" Revealed (Amnesty International)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Some Middle East pundits have recently emerged as advocates for a one-state solution, which would undermine Israel's legitimacy and internationally recognized right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state in the land of my forefathers. The one-state solution has enough intrinsic flaws to render it no solution at all. From Israel's perspective, it is not possible for the Jewish people to accept an arrangement that signifies the end of the existence of a Jewish state. From the Palestinians' perspective, they should not be denied the opportunity to take their national destiny into their own hands.
The area of the West Bank and Gaza is nine times as large as Singapore's, yet the combined population of Palestinians in both regions is smaller than that of Singapore. This Southeast Asian country enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. We have faith that the Palestinians are capable of achieving similar success, and we will continue to work tirelessly with our partners across the negotiating table to establish an autonomous Palestinian state where the people will institute a modern economy based on science, technology and the benefits of peace. (Washington Post)
In 1979 when Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran, many in Washington had been happy to see the shah go. On Nov. 1, 1979, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser and now, ironically, an Obama adviser on Iranian affairs, met in Algiers with Iranian Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan and Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yazdi to discuss normalization of relations. Iranian students, outraged at the possibility, stormed the American embassy in Tehran, taking 52 diplomats hostage for 444 days. On Aug. 31, 1984, national security adviser Robert McFarlane decided to ship arms to Iran to win the goodwill necessary to free U.S. hostages held by Iranian proxies in Lebanon. Not only did the Iranian leadership stand McFarlane up during his trip to Tehran, but Hizbullah seized more hostages for Tehran to trade.
During President Clinton's second term, the State Department encouraged U.S. businessmen to visit Iran, until Iranian vigilantes attacked a busload of American visitors in 1998. Secretary of State Albright even ordered U.S. officials to cease referring to Iran as a rogue regime, and instead as a "state of concern." It was during this time that, according to the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, Tehran sought to develop a nuclear warhead. The writer, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, was an Iran country director at the Pentagon between September 2002 and April 2004. (Weekly Standard)
What Hamas Has Wrought - Edgar M. Bronfman (Huffington Post)
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