Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
PA PM Fayad Not Returning - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
U.S. Troops Take Part in Israel X-Band Radar Test - John Vandiver (Stars and Stripes)
Egypt Detains 15 Over Rockets Bound for Gaza (Reuters)
Hamas Bomb Factory Found in West Bank Mosque (AFP)
Haifa Suicide Bombing Victim Dies Seven Years after Attack - Ahiya Raved (Ynet News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Sunday to hold talks with the Palestinians. In a phone call with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Netanyahu "spoke of the cooperation and the discussions that they have had in the past and added that he intends to do so again in the future in order to advance peace between us and the Palestinians," a statement from his office said. Abbas had called Netanyahu for the Jewish holiday of Passover and the two had a "friendly and warm" conversation. (AFP)
See also No Confrontation Expected with Visiting U.S. Envoy - Herb Keinon
Jerusalem does not expect any confrontation with the U.S. when Middle East envoy George Mitchell arrives Thursday for his first meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Because the U.S. envoy is expected to come so often, there is no sense in Jerusalem that every visit will be full of high drama. The prevailing sense in Jerusalem is that the Obama polices do not differ too greatly from those of the former Bush administration when it comes to the Middle East. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Israel: Differences with U.S. on Mideast "Semantic"
Differences between Israel and the U.S. over the Middle East conflict are fundamentally semantic and will be harmonized within a few weeks. "They point more to wording and semantics than to reality," Transport Minister Israel Katz told Israel Radio on Saturday. (AFP)
Iran now controls the entire cycle for producing nuclear fuel, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said Saturday, highlighting his country's growing capabilities at a time when the U.S. wants to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program. Ahmadinejad has announced several times in the past that Iran has the knowledge necessary to produce its own fuel, but with the opening of a new facility near Isfahan to produce uranium oxide fuel pellets for a planned heavy-water reactor, the Islamic republic says it now has the capability on a large scale. (AP/Washington Post)
See also Senators Target Firms Doing Business with Iran - Sean Lengell
Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Sunday called for increased sanctions against foreign companies that trade with Iran, saying such action is crucial to stunt the Middle Eastern country's push for nuclear weapons. The U.S. government must "really crack down on companies doing business with Iran, to increase the cost of that business, to drive up the price of violating these sanctions on the part of the Iranians," Bayh told "Fox News Sunday." Coburn agreed, saying, "Talk isn't going to do it - there has to be consequences, and there are ways to make it very painful for Iran. They produce only about 30% of their consumable gasoline, and yet some of our allies continue to supply them with refined distillates." (Washington Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
An unmanned Palestinian fishing boat laden with explosives blew up on Monday off the coast of Gaza near the Israeli border after Israel Navy soldiers opened fire on the boat. No one was wounded in the blast. (Ha'aretz)
Senior U.S. officials in Washington and New York are leaning in favor of participating in the "Durban 2" UN-sponsored anti-racism conference scheduled to take place on April 20 in Geneva, diplomatic sources said on Sunday. Diplomats informed leading Jewish officials in New York that Washington has increasingly become convinced of the need to dispatch representatives to the conference. Israel plans on boycotting the conference because it expects to be singled out for criticism at the forum. Dozens of human rights groups in the U.S. have petitioned President Obama to rethink his decision to boycott the conference. (Ha'aretz)
An unusual statement released in Cairo last week discusses Hizbullah's activities in Egypt, with plans by its operatives to attack tourist sites there and possibly shipping through the Suez Canal. On the basis of the details released in Egypt, this is one of Hizbullah's largest undercover terrorist operations outside Lebanon. "Exposing the ring perhaps reflects the willingness of those who run it to assist Hamas, but mostly to harm Egypt," an Egyptian political source told Ha'aretz. "Whoever thinks Egypt will set aside its national interests and allow terrorist groups run by foreigners to operate from inside its territory is making a bitter mistake." Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah is held directly responsible for funding and organizing the terrorist ring inside Egypt.
Iran is depicted in the Egyptian press as the supreme enemy of Egypt and the Arabs in general. The revelations about the ring confirm Egyptian suspicions and justify Cairo's diplomatic efforts against Iran. (Ha'aretz)
See also Egypt State-Controlled Paper Denounces Nasrallah and Hizbullah
The state-owned Egyptian newspaper al-Gomhouria newspaper said Sunday: "We do not allow you, monkey sheikh [Hassan Nasrallah], to mock our judiciary, for you are a bandit and veteran criminal who killed your countrymen, but we will not allow you to threaten the security and safety of Egypt...and if you threaten its sovereignty, you will burn!" The editorial, by editor Mohamed Ali Ibrahim, covered the front page and carried the headline "A criminal who knows no repentance" over a picture of Nasrallah. "I say to you what every Egyptian knows, that you are an Iranian party," Ibrahim wrote. "Are there instructions from Iran to drag Egypt into a conflict?" Egypt and Iran have not had full diplomatic relations since shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. (Reuters)
See also Egypt: Nasrallah Wants to Turn Us into Lebanon - Ali Waked
Egyptian officials responded angrily to Hassan Nasrallah's speech Friday, in which the Hizbullah secretary-general admitted that his organization has been smuggling weapons into Gaza. "Nasrallah wants to turn Egypt into a playground like Lebanon," one of the officials told the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper on Saturday. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
On Apr. 9, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's atomic energy agency, announced that the Islamic Republic had installed 7,000 centrifuges in its Natanz uranium enrichment facility. The announcement came one day after the U.S. State Department announced it would engage Iran directly in multilateral nuclear talks.
On June 14, 2008, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's spokesman, debated advisers to current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the University of Gila in northern Iran. Ramezanzadeh criticized Ahmadinejad for his defiant rhetoric, and counseled him to accept the Khatami approach: "We should prove to the entire world that we want power plants for electricity. Afterwards, we can proceed with other activities." The purpose of dialogue, he argued, was not to compromise, but to build confidence and avoid sanctions.
"We had an overt policy, which was one of negotiation and confidence building, and a covert policy, which was continuation of the activities," he said. The strategy was successful. While today U.S. and European officials laud Khatami as a peacemaker, it was on his watch that Iran built and operated covertly its Natanz nuclear enrichment plant and, at least until 2003, a nuclear weapons program as well. The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (Wall Street Journal)
Many Egyptians can't bring themselves to believe that Hizbullah was running agents and planning terror attacks in their country. But last week's news should not have surprised them. Iran never made a secret of its plans to export its brand of Islamic revolution to the whole of the Middle East, bringing about the destruction of Israel in the process. Hamas and Hizbullah are the Tehran regime's tools in working toward this goal. We are not talking this time of a few Bedouin being bribed to launch terror attacks against Israeli tourists: the target was Egypt itself. (Jerusalem Post)
Goldstone Mission Another Unfair UN Fact-Finding Farce - Alan Baker (Jerusalem Post)
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