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 21, 2009
Will Iran's Political Turmoil Shake Hizbullah? - Nicholas Blanford (Christian Science Monitor)
Mitchell Denies Claim He Plans to Retire (Foreign Policy)
Walter Cronkite's Interview with Anwar Sadat - Philip Stone (followthemedia.com)
Israel's Enemies Are a Strong Match in Cyber Realm - Mohammed J. Herzallah
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he wants to make ''economic peace'' with the Palestinians, and the first fruits are already being seen in eased Israeli restrictions that are stoking a retail and entertainment boom in the West Bank. Netanyahu's policies - along with improved Palestinian security performance - have begun to make a dent, prompting the International Monetary Fund to predict last week that the economy could grow by 7% this year, its first optimistic forecast in three years. ''There is undoubtedly progress happening,'' said international Mideast envoy Tony Blair. Privately, some Palestinian officials acknowledge that Netanyahu has done more in four months than his recent predecessors. (AP/New York Times)
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has emerged as a driving force behind efforts to crush a still-defiant opposition movement. The corps has assumed an increasingly assertive role in virtually every aspect of Iranian society and its aggressive drive to silence dissenting views has led many political analysts to describe the events surrounding the June 12 presidential election as a military coup. "It is not a theocracy anymore," said Rasool Nafisi, an expert in Iranian affairs. "It is a regular military security government with a facade of a Shiite clerical system." The corps has become a vast military-based conglomerate, with control of Iran's missile batteries, oversight of its nuclear program, and a multibillion-dollar business empire reaching into nearly every sector of the economy. (New York Times)
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is on a 10-day visit to Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Colombia on a mission partly aimed at stemming rising Iranian influence in Latin America, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Monday. "Israel, along with many others, is concerned about Iran's infiltration into Latin America, primarily through Hizbullah," Ayalon said. In May, an Israeli Foreign Ministry report accused Venezuela and Bolivia of supplying Iran with uranium. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Intelligence Affairs Minister Dan Meridor insisted on Tuesday that Israel and the U.S. had a clear agreement dating back six years permitting Israel to build within the construction lines of existing settlements. He said Israel had honored its Roadmap commitment to a settlement freeze within the parameters agreed with the U.S., and that the U.S. administration's refusal to acknowledge and abide by those understandings was deeply problematic.
"It is of great importance to us that what the [previous] U.S. administration agreed to is not overlooked," Meridor said at a briefing in Jerusalem organized by The Israel Project, adding that the credibility of future agreements and understandings was at stake. He stressed that what he called the "oral understandings" regarding what construction would and would not be permitted under the terms of the freeze were reached "by America and Israel," and did not lapse because of the change of administration. "The agreement is binding on us and them." (Jerusalem Post)
Senior Hamas and Fatah officials stated their objections on Sunday to U.S. suggestions that Palestinians accept a land swap with Israel and give up the right of return. The officials said the U.S. is pushing for a final status agreement with Israel that does not include the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel, and maintains Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank. Senior Fatah official Hatem Abdul Qader said, "the U.S. is trying to deceive the Palestinians through these proposals, which they think are creative, but [exist] only in their imaginations." He also said that Palestinian refugees cannot give up the right to return to their homes in what is now Israel.
Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil said that "the issue of a land swap has been proposed since the Camp David negotiations....Yasser Arafat rejected this at the time." He also stated Hamas' "categorical rejection" of the American proposals. "It's a waste of time for the U.S. administration headed by Obama to begin its political maneuvers with a rejected argument." (Maan News-PA)
UN peacekeeping troops in Lebanon did nothing to stop a group of Lebanese citizens from crossing the border into Israel near Mount Dov on Saturday near Shaba Farms, raising a Lebanese flag. The Israel Defense Forces did not respond because the civilians were unarmed and not dangerous. In a letter of complaint to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Israeli UN envoy Gabriela Shalev said witnesses reported seeing the troops cooperating with the infiltrators. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The latest threat to Middle East peace is not a rocket from Gaza or a terrorist bombing. It is a Jerusalem apartment project - at least that's the view in the State Department. The State Department's fit over 20 new units on the site of the Shepherd Hotel, which stands on the edge of an Arab neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, contrasts with the official silence of the U.S. on the vast number of Palestinian dwellings being constructed illegally in Jerusalem. According to the 2003 book, Illegal Construction in Jerusalem, by Justus Reid Weiner, a senior Palestinian official boasted that they built 6,000 homes without permits in four years. Some of these homes have been funded by foreign sources with little interest in promoting peace. (Washington Times)
See also Illegal Construction in Jerusalem - Justus Reid Weiner (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
There is no denying that the Israeli invasion of Gaza last winter was a harsh campaign. Palestinian terrorists had for years hidden themselves among hospital patients, school children and seniors while they fired rockets, mortars and sniper rifles into civilian communities inside Israel. But the accusation that large numbers of Israel soldiers have come forward to confess they were ordered to target civilians is a fantasy of anti-Israel aid groups. Israel's obsessive critics want it to be true, so they make up the "proof."
The IDF's Military Advocate General and the independent criminal investigation unit of the military police have delved into more than a dozen allegations, but no solid evidence or eyewitness testimony can be found. It's part of a stubborn pattern, unfortunately: Israel's critics - both within the country and without - are so desperate to discredit the Jewish state that they refuse to let mere facts stand in their way. (National Post-Canada)
Israel has entered a new era of thinking in which old categories of Left or Right are irrelevant under a national unity government bringing together the two main ruling parties. This new posture is not one of desperately asserting Israel's yearning for peace, but rather saying: We're serious, we're ready, we're not suckers but we're not unreasonable either. We want peace on real terms, not just more unilateral concessions and higher risk without reward. Not experimenting with our survival to please others. Not some illusory celebration of a two-state solution for a week and then watching it produce another century of violence.
Is it really such a brilliant idea to rush into giving a state without serious conditions to a Palestinian regime which has failed to govern competently what it already has, daily broadcasts incitement to murder Israelis, is profoundly corrupt, and has already lost half its patrimony to a rival whose goal is a new genocide? (Jerusalem Post)
Why Should Israel Have Jerusalem? - David Hazony (Commentary)
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