Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Hamas Will Not Recognize Any Agreement Signed by Abbas - Saed Bannoura (IMEMC-PA)
Hamas Seeks to Carry Out Executions without Abbas' Approval (Xinhua-China)
Hamas Denies Preventing Rocket Attacks Against Israel (Xinhua-China)
Egyptian Police Bribed by Gaza Smugglers (Maan News-PA)
India's First AWACS Arrives from Israel (Times of India)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday rejected a Western proposal for it to "freeze" its nuclear work in return for no new sanctions and ruled out any talks with major powers on the issue. His comments are likely to further disappoint the U.S. administration which is seeking to engage Iran diplomatically. Ahmadinejad proposed a debate with Obama at the UN "regarding the roots of world problems," but he made clear that "Our talks will only be in the framework of cooperation for managing global issues and nothing else....The nuclear issue is a finished issue for us." (Reuters-Washington Post)
Venezuela and Bolivia are supplying Iran with uranium for its nuclear program, according to a secret Israeli government report. Both regimes have a history of opposing U.S. foreign policy. Bolivia has uranium deposits, while Venezuela has an estimated 50,000 tons of untapped uranium reserves. The report also charges that Iran-backed Hizbullah has set up cells in Latin America and that Venezuela has issued permits that allow Iranian residents to travel freely in South America. The report says Venezuela and Bolivia are violating UN economic sanctions with their aid to Iran. (AP/Washington Post)
Iran has sent six warships into international waters and the Gulf of Aden in a move security experts are calling a "muscle flexing" show of defiance following missile tests last week. Foreign policy experts are calling it an aggressive move targeted at a Western audience and regional powers like rival Saudi Arabia. Jim Phillips, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Heritage Institute, said Ahmadinejad was using the opportunity to thumb his nose at the U.S. and UN to advance his own popularity in Iran ahead of the country's June 12 election. (FOX News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
In an interview with David Frost for Al-Jazeera English television on May 23, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said: "Mr. Netanyahu really came forward with a good faith approach of immediate negotiations with the Palestinians, with Mahmoud Abbas. By the way, we have requested a meeting with Abbas, but to no avail so far. But we have said we are ready to start without any preconditions....We are willing to start on a very intensive, multi-track approach, whereby there will be a security track, an economic track and also a political track."
"We are very willing to work and help the Palestinians to build capacity so far as the security situation permits. Our policy is to open up everything, to really have a free flow and really bring the economic level and all other aspects of life in the West Bank up to par to Israelis." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
During the IDF offensive in Gaza in January, Hamas has claimed that 343 of those killed were innocent police officers. However, a study by the independent Orient Research Group, commissioned by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to investigate the identities of those killed, says 286 of the 343 "police officers" killed were members of terror organizations, the vast majority of them belonging to Hamas' military wings.
Referring to the claim that an Israel Air Force strike hit members of a Hamas traffic police training course, the report said 88% of those present were terror operatives, many belonging to the al-Qassam Brigades. The report explained that "The enlistment of al-Qassam Brigades operatives in official [police] security positions allowed the Hamas government to pay their wages with government funds." (Ynet News)
The Palestinian Authority is once again using Western aid money to proclaim that killing Israeli woman and children is heroic. The PA chose to name its latest computer center "after the martyr Dalal Mughrabi," who led the 1978 bus hijacking that killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children, including American photographer Gail Rubin. The new center is funded by Mahmoud Abbas' office, Al-Ayyam newspaper reported on May 5. U.S. law prohibits the funding of Palestinian structures that use any portion of their budget to promote terror or honor terrorists. Last summer the PA sponsored "the Dalal Mughrabi football championship" for kids, and a "summer camp named for martyr Dalal Mughrabi," Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
When the actual talks with the Palestinians are launched, Israel will have to avoid making the basic diplomatic mistake that previous governments have made in defining Israel's primary interests - especially when it comes to Jerusalem. For most of the past two decades, an asymmetry could be observed in how the two parties handled their struggle in the diplomatic sphere. While the Palestinians maintained that their goal was to achieve a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem, most Israeli declarations sufficed with general statements that the goal is peace, or peace and security.
Whereas Israel presented an abstract goal, the Palestinians spoke about a clear and well-defined purpose. As a rule, the side that presents clear objectives is the triumphant one in any political conflict. Little wonder, then, that the contemporary diplomatic discourse is focusing on the Palestinian narrative, and Israel's arguments have been swept aside. This process comes despite the fact that Israel's claims rest on a broad base, and have in the past received solid international recognition, especially when it comes to Jerusalem.
Two Israeli governments that proposed to divide Jerusalem never reached a final agreement. Israel need not be bound to the protocols of a failed negotiation. To protect Jerusalem, Israeli diplomacy must reestablish the unification of the city as a clear national goal, and not abandon the subject of Jerusalem exclusively to Palestinian spokespeople. The writer heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and was the Israeli ambassador to the UN. (Ha'aretz)
Q: What is your position regarding building in the E-1 area?
Barak: I believe that Jerusalem is beyond discussion. In Jerusalem, no one intends to build in Arab neighborhoods, but building inside Jewish neighborhoods is something that is recognized and undisputed, part of the national consensus. There is no construction currently about to begin in E-1. Prime Minister Rabin was the one who envisioned Maale Adumim as a part of the State of Israel and saw the need to build there. I continued this, as has every Israeli government. There is a corridor that connects Har Hatzofim to E-1 and actually it is the Palestinians from A-Zaim on one side and from Anata on the other side that are building there illegally. (Israel Army Radio, 25May09)
See also Protecting the Contiguity of Israel: The E-1 Area and the Link Between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim - Nadav Shragai (ICA-JCPA)
I have a question for my human rights colleagues. Why doesn't the fate of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit trouble you in the same way as does the fate of the Guantanamo prisoners? During the three years Shalit has been held by terrorists, the world human rights community has done nothing for his release. He is a wounded soldier, and fully falls under the protection of the Geneva Conventions. The conventions say clearly that hostage-taking is prohibited and that representatives of the Red Cross must be allowed to see prisoners of war. The fact that representatives of the Quartet conduct negotiations with the people who are holding Shalit vividly demonstrates their scorn of international rights documents and their total legal nihilism. The writer is a renowned human rights activist and the widow of the late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Andrei Sakharov. (Jerusalem Post)
Seven Mistaken American Assumptions - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland (Ynet News)
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