Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at www.dailyalert.org|
July 2, 2009
Ahmadinejad Unwelcome in Parts of Iran - Amir Taheri (New York Post)
Saddam Hussein Faked Nukes to Deter Iran - Glenn Kessler (Washington Post)
Gaza Blockade Run Called "Reckless Publicity Stunt" - Kent A. Miles (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Sweden Funding Extreme Anti-Israel Groups - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Three opposition leaders including leading presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, former speaker of parliament and presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, and former president Mohammad Khatami openly defied Iran's top political and religious authorities Wednesday, vowing to resist a government they have deemed illegitimate after official certification of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection. They called for annulment of the June 12 vote and the continuation of protests. The three made clear that they do not oppose Iran's system of religious government, but they charged that the country is turning into a dictatorship. (Washington Post)
See also Opposition Movement in Iran Not Over, Experts Say - Samira Simone (CNN)
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told FOX News Tuesday: The question of a settlement freeze is "part of a much wider issue, whether together with the United States and our Palestinian and Arab neighbors, we can launch an original peace initiative to be led by the president of the United States. Within this context, many issues had to be addressed. One of them is the settlement issue. And we already said, Prime Minister Netanyahu said in his speech, we are not going to launch new settlements, we are not going to launch new projects or suburbs in the existing settlements. We are not going to expropriate land." (FOX News)
Six months after her sister Irit Shitrit's death in a Palestinian rocket strike, Ayelet Modoh, 37, describes how the missile exploded as the two sisters headed home from the gym in the city of Ashdod. The siren sounded, they got out of the car, and discussed where to lie on the ground because they could not find a shelter. Then came a faint whistle, followed by a massive blast and a deadly wave of shrapnel. During the Gaza conflict, rockets fired by Hamas reached ever further into Israel - to places like Ashdod - putting hundreds of thousands more Israelis in mortal fear.
Ashdod residents were not used to the frequent sirens and the few seconds to dash to a bomb shelter, which communities nearer Gaza, such as the town of Sderot, have endured for years. In Sderot, Avi Maman, 47, a fire fighter, picks at peeling paint as he wanders through the ruins of the single storey house where he grew up and raised his three children. Debris and scraps of insulation hang from the hole in the roof left by the rocket that landed on it on Dec. 30. A barrage of 50-60 rockets per week during the height of the conflict has dropped to about one a month, but even so, says Mayor David Buskila, the remaining threat means "you can't really feel it's over." (BBC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The U.S. administration has not been successful in securing commitments from Arab countries to take steps toward normalizing relations with Israel, a senior source in Jerusalem said Wednesday. The source said Obama's recent meeting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia did not produce a commitment to encourage the other Arab states to begin normalization. "In such a situation, the Americans can't continue demanding gestures only from Israel, such as the demand that Israel freeze settlement construction," the source said.
At a meeting with U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell on Tuesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly argued that any steps taken by Israel would have to be accompanied by assurances that the Arab states would also move forward. (Ha'aretz)
The Palestinian Authority has intelligence indicating Hamas is planning to attack its officials, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday. Abbas told Russian television: "We have verified information that Hamas is hoarding weapons and explosives. The Authority has found two tons of explosives belonging to Hamas." He said Hamas was also amassing light, medium and heavy arms, machine guns, RPG launchers, and presidential guard uniforms. "We know there is a cell seeking to carry out assassinations of senior PA officials." (Ynet News)
Fatah officials said Wednesday that at least 500 Fatah supporters have been detained by Hamas security forces in Gaza over the past few days in a major security crackdown. "The prisons in the Gaza Strip are so full that Hamas doesn't have enough money to feed all the detainees," said a Fatah official in Ramallah. "In many cases the detainees receive permission to call their families and ask for food." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Certain opinion leaders in Washington and New York have begun to speak with shining eyes about the need to administer a dose of tough love to Israel: to train it, wean it, set boundaries for it. To force it against its will to do what is good for it. The results can be seen almost every day on television screens: a diplomacy comprised of public reprimands. Even as it bows and scrapes to Saudi Arabia and is scrupulously careful of Iran's honor, the new United States humiliates Israel.
But the question the White House ought to be asking itself is whether riding roughshod over Israel serves its goals. The answer is unequivocal: no. Already, Israel's public humiliation is hurting America. It is making even moderate Arabs unwilling to contribute anything to advancing the diplomatic process. And without a significant Arab contribution, there will be no diplomatic process.
A continued tough love policy toward Israel is liable to do damage that is far more serious - and irreversible. Without a strong Israel, a Middle East peace can neither be established nor survive. Without a strong Israel, the Middle East will go up in flames. Therefore, instead of playing games taken out of a basic training manual, Americans and Israelis must work in harmony. They must think outside the box and come up with a creative solution, based on listening to each other and mutual respect. They must jointly advance a genuine regional peace. The time has come to replace tough love with sensible, grown-up love. (Ha'aretz)
Last December, Vali Nasr, the Iran expert and now special assistant to Ambassador Holbrooke, talked about the rise of Iran, and the marginalization of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Nasr argued that most Arab states have a deeper interest in containing Iran than they do in containing Israel. "Once upon a time we used to think - and some people still do - that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the key to solving all the problems of the region: terrorism, al-Qaeda, Iran, and Iraq," he said. "I think the Persian Gulf is the key to solving the Arab-Israeli issue. All the powers that matter - Iran, Saudi Arabia, and even...Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc. - are all in the gulf. And all the conflicts that matter to us - Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran - are in the gulf and then to the east."
The remarkable thing about this moment in the Middle East is that Arab leaders speak about Iran more critically than even Israeli prime minister Netanyahu does. "Even if we forget that Iran is trying to obtain a nuclear capability, all gulf and Arab countries are extremely unhappy with the Iranian involvement in our region," a senior official of the United Arab Emirates recently told me. "We see this today in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Yemen. We just saw the Moroccans breaking diplomatic ties with Iran because of that. We've been seeing that in one way or the other in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Sudan." (Atlantic Monthly)
Agreements Must Be Honored - Dov Weissglas (Ynet News)
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