Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Clinton Offers Handshake of Friendship to Syria - James Hider (Times-UK)
Iran Seeks Arrest of 15 Israeli Leaders for Gaza Operation (AP/Washington Post)
Puzzled in Gaza - Yvonne Green (Jerusalem Post)
Report: Russia to Send 50 Armored Vehicles to PA (AP/International Herald Tribune)
End of the Turkish-Israeli Honeymoon? - Haymi Behar
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Obama sent a secret letter to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev last month suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing long-range weapons, American officials said Monday. The letter, hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago, said the U.S. would not need to proceed with the interceptor system if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles. U.S. officials said that while the letter did not offer a direct quid pro quo, it was intended to give Moscow an incentive to join the U.S. in a common front against Iran. (New York Times)
After the Gaza donors conference in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters: "I am troubled by the continuing rocket attacks coming out of Gaza, 15 to 18 rockets in the last several days. We call upon all parties to move toward a durable ceasefire, but it is very difficult for any country to just sit and take rockets falling on its people. That is the crux of the Israeli problem. How are they supposed to respond when they continue to have that kind of attack?"
Q: Will the U.S. Administration consider engaging with Hamas, the same way you're reaching out to Iran?
Clinton: "Hamas is not a country. It is an entity that has to understand what the principles for any engagement are, not just from the United States. The Quartet...as well as the Arab League are in agreement that there are certain principles that Hamas would have to adopt in order for any of us to engage with Hamas: recognize Israel, renounce violence, and agree to abide by the prior PLO agreements....Everyone knows what Hamas must do, and it is up to Hamas." (State Department)
See also Clinton Reiterates Need for Two-State Solution - Roni Sofer (Ynet News)
See also Clinton Says U.S. Diplomacy Unlikely to End Iran Nuclear Program - Paul Richter
The Obama administration has already concluded that a diplomatic overture to Iran is unlikely to persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions. Secretary of State Clinton told the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Abdullah ibn Zayed al Nuhayyan, in a private meeting Monday that it is "very doubtful" a U.S. approach will persuade Iran to relent, said a senior State Department official. But Clinton said an Iranian rebuff could strengthen America's diplomatic position. She said that Iran's "worst nightmare is an international community that is united and an American government willing to engage Iran." (Los Angeles Times)
International donors at a conference in Egypt pledged $4.48 billion over two years to support the Palestinian economy and rebuild Gaza, but made clear none of the funds should end up in the hands of Hamas. (Financial Times-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, filed an official complaint with the UN Security Council Monday regarding the rocket fire from Gaza on Israeli towns. "Since Israel declared a unilateral cease-fire on 18 January 2009, there have been nearly 100 rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip," Shalev wrote. "These ongoing attacks not only hinder efforts to reach a stable and durable cease-fire, but they represent an ongoing threat to the peace and security of Israel, as well as the people of Gaza." "In response to these ongoing attacks, Israel has the inherent duty to exercise its right to self-defense enshrined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter." (Ynet News)
See also Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Shmulik Hadad
Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket that landed south of Ashkelon late Monday evening. (Ynet News)
For hundreds of years floodwaters drained into the garden of the kings of Judea, east of the Shiloah Pool in Jerusalem, which is described in the Books of Nechemiah and Ecclesiastes. The Turks and the British took care to preserve the open green area for hundreds of years as a public area, intended for preservation and development of parks and tourism. About 20 years ago, the Jerusalem municipality shored up the water runoff there, and an illegal Palestinian outpost arose. Within 18 years 88 buildings went up, causing significant and irreversible damage to antiquities, according to the director general of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman.
Construction was finally halted after the Jerusalem municipality confiscated tractors and heavy machinery from the lawbreakers, and the existing buildings are being dealt with legally by means of demolition orders and indictments. After a plan for laundering the construction was initiated by the inhabitants and human rights organizations, the planning commission rejected the plan. In response, the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Movement in Israel have begun demonstrations and initiated an outcry to protest "the intention to carry out the demolition orders in the King's Garden."
While carrying out the demolition orders as written, nearly 20 years after the violation was committed, may be just, it is not wise. A more fair solution, suggested by municipal council member Yakir Segev, is to evacuate the lawbreakers and to give them compensation and land elsewhere. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The need to reconstruct Gaza is Gaza's own doing - the direct consequence of the penchant for terror displayed by the governing Hamas and other like-minded groups, of their insistent practice of targeting Israeli civilians for over eight years with assorted rocketry. Misguided efforts at assistance will prop up the very regime that is the root cause of Gaza's woes. Hamas will benefit from resources bestowed even on ostensibly non-belligerent organizations. Those funds will free Hamas from responsibility for public welfare and free up money for rearmament.
Gaza would have faced far less hardship had it not invested its energies in gun-running, rocket-manufacture and bunker and tunnel construction. Israel cannot, and will not, allow materials into Gaza that are likely to be misused. The transfer of funds must be made contingent on a proven commitment to cease rocket attacks, demonstrated by several months of uninterrupted calm. Without this, reconstruction contributions will wind up boosting Hamas' war-chest.
As long as Israelis are fired upon, no Gazan reconstruction can last. Sooner or later Israel will again have to protect its citizens - as would every donor nation were its people similarly threatened. The prerequisite for sustainable reconstruction is an end to the abuse of Gaza as a base for attacking Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
The International Atomic Energy Agency's recent report on its investigation into Syria's nuclear activities reinforces concerns that the Assad regime was secretly building a nuclear reactor until it was destroyed in late 2007. According to the U.S. intelligence community's publicly released 2009 threat assessment, the Assad regime, despite its professed desire for better relations with Washington, has maintained its interference in Lebanon, support for Palestinian terrorist groups, and close ties with Iran; further, it has "increased substantially" its military support for Hizbullah.
The extent to which the U.S. can persuade Syria to change its attitude toward the IAEA investigation from one of recalcitrance to one of voluntary cooperation will serve as a concrete test of Damascus' willingness to change its ways and mend fences with the international community. The writer, an associate fellow of The Washington Institute, is former senior director for Middle East affairs on the National Security Council. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Don't Push Israel to Give Territory to Terrorists - Tom Gross (Wall Street Journal Europe)
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