Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel Pledges to Work with U.S. for Mideast Peace - Steve Weizman (AP)
Hamas TV Teaches Children: "Death Is Honor" - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
Canadians Counter Israeli Wine Boycott - Sheri Shefa
(Canadian Jewish News)
Israeli Envoy Gets UN Post Despite Arab Opposition - Shlomo Shamir (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Obama made his most direct outreach to Muslims around the world Monday, telling Turkey's National Assembly that the U.S. "is not and never will be at war with Islam." "Our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a violent ideology that people of all faiths reject," he said. (Washington Post)
See also Obama: U.S. Supports "Two States, Israel and Palestine, Living Side by Side in Peace and Security"
President Obama told the Turkish Parliament on Monday: "In the Middle East, we share the goal of a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. Let me be clear: The United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. That is a goal shared by Palestinians, Israelis and people of goodwill around the world. That is a goal that the parties agreed to in the road map and at Annapolis. That is a goal that I will actively pursue as president of the United States." (AP)
Rejecting the policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as "extremist," Mir Hussein Moussavi, 68, a former prime minister who last month announced his candidacy for president in the June elections, said Monday that he favored improved relations with the West and greater individual freedoms at home. "We need to pursue an active foreign policy to achieve detente," he said. "Extremism has cost us a high price." But he said he would not back down from the country's nuclear program, which began when he was prime minister from 1980 to 1988. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
President Obama will visit Israel and the West Bank in June, a senior diplomatic source confirmed. Before Obama's visit, special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell will make another visit to the region beginning April 13.
An American official told Ha'aretz that Obama does not oppose the inclusion of Hamas in a Palestinian unity government. However, as preconditions for any diplomatic exchanges with Hamas, the U.S. insists that it cease violence, recognize Israel and accept previously signed accords. The Americans also ask that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who has resigned, return to head the next Palestinian government and be responsible for the PA's finances. (Ha'aretz)
During a phone conversation on Monday Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for an official visit to Egypt for talks. (Ha'aretz)
A fragment of a limestone plaque bearing several letters of ancient Hebrew script from the period of the Kings of Judah nearly 3,000 years ago has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in the ancient City of David just outside the Old City of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
In March, the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) special rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, published a report on Israel's Gaza operation that makes far-reaching allegations against Israel and the potential illegality of its actions. These assertions, however, rather than having a factual or legal basis, are essentially political in nature. Now that the U.S. is to be a member of the council, it should ensure that future reports are more balanced and credible.
By presenting a case that completely disregards the actions of one of the warring sides - Hamas - and its ongoing rocket attacks, the report's findings could very well undermine future investigations by the UN or other international bodies. The writer, a Fulbright scholar, is a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
The U.S. government is pursuing a high-stakes gambit to improve relations with Iran. While many are doubtful that the diplomatic outreach will resolve 30 years of differences between Tehran and Washington, political scientist Sadegh Zibakalam, who heads the department of Iranian studies at Tehran University, said Obama's strategy just might work, by undermining the worldview of Iranian hard-liners. "If there is rapprochement between Iran and the United States, then the hard-liners would receive a psychological blow because they can no longer claim that Iran is waging its historical crusade or struggle against an unjust world power," he said.
The Iranian leadership is divided over the question of relations with the U.S. The hard-liners are championed and led by the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is simply disregarding Obama's olive branch and is saying the animosity, the war, must be carried on. (Los Angeles Times)
At last week's Arab League summit in Qatar, Arab leaders disagreed so profoundly on how to deal with Iran that they passed over this key question in silence. But they did find common ground on condemning the indictment of President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Darfur. They expressed solidarity with Bashir and rejected what Syria's President Bashar Assad called the court's "fabricated accusations," while four million Muslim men, women, and children in Darfur were at risk of perishing because the Sudanese tyrant chased international aid organizations from the region. (Boston Globe)
See also The Forgotten People of Darfur - Nat Hentoff
It's not in the least surprising that Iran and Hamas ardently support Sudan's Master Mortician. According to the speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani, the global arrest warrant for Gen. al-Bashir is an "insult to all Muslims." (Washington Times)
See also The Arab League Honors the Butcher of Sudan - Joseph Loconte (Weekly Standard)
The Face of Palestinian "Resistance" - Jonathan Tobin (Commentary)
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