Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel Switching to U.S. Pistachios - Michael Doyle
Yemen Court Hands Down Death Sentence in Israel Spy Case (Reuters)
Canada Bars British Lawmaker over Hamas Support (AFP)
Land of Opportunity (Economist-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki warned European leaders during talks in Brussels on Monday against easing a boycott of Hamas Islamists. Malki said European overtures could undermine Palestinian unity talks by giving Hamas the impression that "the international community, and especially the European Union, is ready to change its position towards Hamas," whether the group agrees to abide by interim peace agreements signed with Israel or not. (Reuters)
The U.S. Monday said UN expert Richard Falk was "biased" in calling for an investigation of Israel's January offensive in Gaza on grounds it could be construed as a war crime. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said, "We've expressed our concern many times about the special rapporteur's views on dealing with that question....We've found the rapporteur's views to be anything but fair. We find them to be biased. We've made that very clear." (AFP)
See also Israel Slams UN Rights Report on Gaza
Israel on Tuesday slammed a report by a UN human rights investigator which said its three-week war in Gaza was possibly a war crime. "Unfortunately this is a further example of the very one-sided, unbalanced and unfair attitude of the (UN) Human Rights Council," government spokesman Mark Regev said. "This sort of report does the service of human rights no good whatsoever," he said. "It's a politicization of human rights." (AFP)
In Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hizbullah stronghold, a mammoth reconstruction drive is underway to rebuild 241 of the 282 buildings destroyed in the 2006 war. Project director Hassan Jechi said $400 million has been allocated to the effort. Jechi and Hizbullah are evasive when it comes to revealing where they are getting the funds to carry out this massive project, amid wide speculation that Iran is Hizbullah's main financial backer. (AFP)
Kamal Medhat, the no. 2 leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon, and three of his associates were killed near Sidon on Monday in a roadside bomb blast. (Los Angeles Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi spoke Monday about the publication of allegations regarding hitting civilians during the Gaza operation. "The IDF is one of the world's most moral armies, and if there are isolated incidents, they will be investigated and dealt with," he said. "We operated in a very complex atmosphere that is also inhabited by civilians, and we took every possible measure to minimize harm to civilians. We scattered leaflets over the Gaza Strip, warned civilians to stay clear of areas that were to be attacked by making use of the Arabic press, and called hundreds of thousands of households. But in an environment like this, some harm to civilians is unavoidable." (Israel Defense Forces)
After a special ministerial committee proposed sanctions against Hamas security prisoners held in Israel, in hopes of advancing a deal for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, dozens of people protested outside the Sharon Prison on Monday and blocked the entrance of visitors. Yoel Marshak of the Kibbutz Movement said, "We are here to...block visitation to their prisoners, as long as they are not allowing anyone to see Gilad Shalit."
The joint protest of the World Likud, Beitar Movement and Kibbutz Movement displayed a unified front in the demand to have the conditions of security prisoners changed to match those under which Shalit is held. "With Gilad Shalit held for 1,000 days now without anyone knowing where he is, we cannot have Palestinian prisoners enjoying visitation, watching television, and reading the newspapers," said Marshak. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
President Barack Obama's video message to Iran marking the Persian New Year last week spoke volumes about the strategy that lies behind his pledge to reach out to Tehran. When the Bush administration reached out to Iran, it sought consciously to go around its leaders and speak directly to the Iranian people, hoping to drive a wedge between the two. Obama's message began: "I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran." Because the president was talking to Iran's leaders, he was effectively saying the U.S. recognizes their legitimacy and isn't overtly seeking a regime change.
The long search for Iranian "moderates" has proved so futile that the administration is prepared to deal with what it gets, not what it wishes it had. The message was designed to give the Iranians what they always complain they don't get: respect. Twice Obama referred to Iran by the title its leaders use, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The deeper question is whether outreach has any real chance to make a difference. Privately, senior administration officials harbor real doubts. (Wall Street Journal)
The enduring lesson of the Holocaust and that of the genocides that followed is that they occurred not simply because of the machinery of death, but because of state-sanctioned incitement to hatred. As international tribunals have recognized, the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers; it began with words. Ahmadinejad's Iran is increasingly resorting to incendiary and demonizing language, including metaphors reminiscent of Nazi and Rwandan provocation. As minister of justice in Canada and involved in the prosecution of Rwandan incitement, I believe the precursors of provocation in Iran are more threatening than were those in Rwanda.
President Barack Obama has made the important connection between Iran as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran as an inciter of hate and genocide against Israel, and Iran as an illegally developing nuclear power. As a state party to the Genocide Convention, the U.S. has not only the option but the obligation to take action to prevent genocide. A careful review of the evidence recently led a group of over 40 eminent international jurists, including former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, to conclude that Iran should be held to account for its hateful incitement to genocide, as prohibited under international law.
Diplomacy targeted solely at Iran's nuclear threat mistakenly ignores the terrifying and vilifying context in which that threat operates and, inadvertently, sanitizes the provocation to genocide. When Obama engages Iran directly, it is crucial that the illegal incitement to genocide so pervasive in Ahmadinejad's Iran not be swept under the rug. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
The Arab Peace Initiative: A Primer and Future Prospects - Joshua Teitelbaum (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert