Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Report: Arabs Formulating New Peace Plan (Jerusalem Post)
Israel May Exit Lebanon Border Village - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
Palestinian Mortar Fire from Gaza Continues (Jerusalem Post)
Joint Command Set Up at U.S. Radar Base - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israel is on board with key elements of President Obama's agenda in the Middle East, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tuesday after meeting with Obama at the White House. "[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu said he will cooperate (with) the commitments of the previous (Israeli) government. The previous government accepted the Roadmap (to Middle East peace). In the Roadmap, you'll find the attitude to the two-state solution," Peres said. He also said that if Obama wants to engage Iran, the Israelis are willing to back him.
Responding to an Israeli media report that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had said that greater U.S. assistance in deterring Iran's nuclear ambitions hinged on peace talks with Palestinians, officials said Emanuel's comments were not meant to pressure the Israelis. Sources said Emanuel told AIPAC members that America's Arab allies, in particular Jordan, would find it easier to support tougher sanctions on Iran if there were progress toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace. (FOX News)
See also Peres: Israel Can't Stop Natural Growth in Settlements - Ron Kampeas
Israel cannot control natural settlement growth, Israeli President Shimon Peres told Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday. Peres said he told Biden that "Israel cannot instruct settlers in existing settlements not to have children or get married." (JTA)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Tuesday. Ahmadinejad also spent time with the leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian radical groups based in the Syrian capital. Ahmadinejad boasted that "Those who one day called Iran and Syria part of 'the axis of evil' now want to develop relations with Iran and Syria." He also contended that the Syria-Iran alliance had achieved "victories" in preventing "the big powers' offensive to dominate the region."
"Syria and Iran have been from the very beginning united and in agreement to stand on the side of the Palestinian resistance," Ahmadinejad added. "We see that the resistance will continue until all occupied territories are liberated." (AP/New York Times)
India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel should join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the global pact meant to limit the spread of atomic weapons, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller said Tuesday. "Universal adherence to the NPT itself, including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea...remains a fundamental objective of the United States," Gottemoeller told a meeting of the signatories of the pact. (Reuters)
See also Israel: Signing NPT Won't Prevent Nuclear Armament - Roni Sofer
An Israeli official on Wednesday criticized a U.S. call for Israel to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), citing the pact's failure to prevent countries from obtaining nuclear arms. "It is therefore hard to understand why there should be such an insistence on a treaty that has proven its inefficiency," a senior official at the Israeli Foreign Ministry said. The official said the treaty had not stopped Iraq and Libya from trying to obtain nuclear potential, and that "This miracle cure (NPT) has not prevented any country from acquiring nuclear arms, as we can see in the case of Iran." "We are baffled by the U.S. insistence that (Israel sign the NPT)." (Ynet News)
See also below Commentary: Secret U.S.-Israel Nuclear Accord in Jeopardy - Eli Lake (Washington Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The Palestinian Authority and Hamas on Tuesday rejected Prime Minister Netanyahu's call "to resume peace negotiations without any delay, without any preconditions." PA officials in Ramallah said the PA would not resume peace talks with Israel as long as Netanyahu did not change his policy toward the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday said a damning UN report on Israel's conduct in its recent offensive against Hamas in Gaza was not legally binding. In a letter he agreed to attach to the report at the request of Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Yossi Gal, Ban condemned Hamas' cross-border rocket fire on Israeli civilians that sparked the conflict which was ignored by the UN committee report. Ban also commended the Israel Defense Forces for its close coordination with the UN during the operation. He added there would be no further reports by the UN on the subject. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
President Obama's efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons threaten to expose and derail a 40-year-old secret U.S. agreement to shield Israel's nuclear weapons from international scrutiny, former and current U.S. and Israeli officials say. For the past 40 years, Israel and the U.S. have kept quiet about an Israeli nuclear arsenal that is now estimated at 80 to 200 weapons. Israel has promised not to test nuclear weapons while the U.S. has not pressed Israel to sign the nuclear NPT, which permits only five countries - the U.S., France, Britain, China and Russia - to have nuclear arms. The accord was forged at a summit between Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and President Nixon on Sept. 25, 1969, and commits both the U.S. and Israel never to acknowledge in public Israel's nuclear arsenal. Israeli defense doctrine considers the nuclear arsenal to be a strategic deterrent against extinction. (Washington Times)
See also Breaking Faith with Israel - Editorial
Will the U.S. sell out its strongest ally in the Middle East to cozy up to its worst enemy? America treats Israel and Iran differently because they are fundamentally different. Israel is a dependable U.S. ally and a free liberal democracy. Iran is a long-standing enemy of the U.S., is directly or indirectly responsible via Iraqi insurgents and others for more deaths of U.S. service members than any country since the Vietnam War. Its people suffer under an oppressive theocracy. We approve of an Israeli nuclear force for the same reason we approve of a British, French or American nuclear force: We know it will serve peaceful purposes. We oppose an Iranian nuclear force for the same reason we oppose a North Korean nuclear force: We know it will not serve a peaceful purpose. Any attempt to establish parity between Israel and Iran on the nuclear issue is dangerous and naive. Pressing Israel to make its suspected nuclear arsenal into a bargaining chip only weakens our allies without defanging our foes. (Washington Times)
The Justice Department on Friday formally dropped its four-year-old case against two former pro-Israel lobbyists for allegedly conspiring to violate the 1917 Espionage Act. The two lobbyists had been charged in August 2005 with conspiring to disclose national defense information to people not authorized to receive it - the first time that civilian, non-government employees had been prosecuted under the act. The same charges technically could be applied to academics, think tank analysts and journalists who seek and receive security information in conversations every day.
In a March 27 letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., asking the Obama administration to review the case, the defendants' attorneys wrote that they would show that the information relayed to their clients was not classified defense information but material already in the public domain and "not potentially damaging to national security." To demonstrate that, the lawyers wrote that two of the government officials who prosecutors said passed classified information to the defendants "have told both us and/or government investigators that they were authorized to speak with our clients and knew full well (and even intended) that our clients pass the information on to others."
The defense lawyers also said the testimony of J. William Leonard, the most recent former director of the Information Security Oversight Office, which is responsible for the government-wide security classification system, would "establish that the information was innocuous and that the defendants had every reason to believe that their conduct was innocent." (Washington Post)
Spanish Judge Went Too Far: Targeting Gaza Terror Mastermind Not a War Crime - Robbie Sabel (Ynet News)
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