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 24, 2009
U.S. Dispels Fears over Israel Sanctions (Jerusalem Post)
Poll: Israelis Mistrust International Security Pledges, Want Palestinian "Freeze" to Match Israeli Construction Freeze in West Bank - Zak Colman (Jerusalem Post)
IDF, U.S. Conduct X-Band Radar Test - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
What the West Bank Actually Looks Like - Michael J. Totten (Commentary)
British Anti-Semitism Doubled after Gaza War - Cnaan Liphshiz (Ha'aretz)
America's First Jewish Air Force Commander Makes Israel Visit - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
South Korea to Develop Radar with Israel - Jung Sung-ki (Korea Times)
Solar Energy in Israel (Economist-UK)
Hiking the Israel Trail - Joanna Chen (Newsweek)
Israelis Share Expertise in Responding to Terror - Robert Wiener
(New Jersey Jewish News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Seven months after Israel's military campaign in Gaza to stop rockets from being fired on its southern communities, Hamas has suspended its use of rockets and shifted focus to winning support at home and abroad through public relations, aiming to build what Hamas leaders call a "culture of resistance." Hamas leader Ayman Taha explained: "The current situation required a stoppage of rockets. After the war, the fighters needed a break and the people needed a break." Increasingly, people are questioning the value of the rockets, not because they hit civilians but because they are seen as relatively ineffective. In June, just two rockets were fired from Gaza, one of the lowest monthly tallies since the firing began in 2002.
A play currently seen nightly in Gaza City called "The Women of Gaza and the Patience of Job" includes a satirical scene in which a Hamas fighter describes a fellow fighter who made the Israelis quake in their boots: "He hit Tel Aviv!" From the audience emerges a dismissive laugh, for it knows how meaningless such boasting proved over the years. The show's writer, Said al-Bettar, said he wrote the scene to make the point that "We were the victims of a big lie." (New York Times)
UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy told the Security Council on Thursday that an illegal weapons stockpile that exploded last week in southern Lebanon belonged to Hizbullah. "The depot belonged to Hizbullah, and, in contrast to previous discoveries by UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces of weapons and ammunition...it was not abandoned but, rather, actively maintained." The mere presence of such weapons and ammunition south of the Litani River represented a "serious violation of Resolution 1701," he said. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah, banned all unauthorized weapons between the Litani River and the Israeli-Lebanese border.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff joined in accusing Hizbullah of violating the UN weapons embargo in southern Lebanon and undermining the efforts of UN peacekeepers there. (Reuters)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the BBC Thursday the U.S. was waiting for an answer to its overtures, but Iran did not have "any capacity to make that kind of decision right now." Mrs. Clinton recently warned that Iran's time to respond was limited. "We've certainly reached out and made it clear...what we'd be willing to do, even now, despite our absolute condemnation of what they've done in the election and since, but I don't think they have any capacity to make that kind of decision right now." (BBC News)
Israel on Thursday rejected calls by France to freeze Jewish settlement building and to reopen border crossings into Hamas-ruled Gaza. "A solution to the settlements can only be reached through a comprehensive and final peace agreement," said Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. "In order to promote peace, France would do well to persuade the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations" with Israel, he added. Palmor said Israel's blockade of Gaza was the result of "the state of war imposed by Hamas" as well as the "detention for more than three years of (Israeli-French) soldier Gilad Shalit." (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at a reception on Thursday at the home of the Egyptian ambassador to mark Egypt's national day, said that Israel "valued efforts of Arab states to advance peace initiatives, and if these offers are not final offers, then I believe this spirit can create an atmosphere in which a comprehensive peace is possible." "We hope in the months ahead to forge peace with the Palestinians and to expand that into a vision of a broader regional peace," he added. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Netanyahu Calls for "Warm Peace" with Arabs (AFP)
The U.S. administration has issued a stiff warning to Israel not to build in the area known as E-1, between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim in the West Bank. Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed in the past to finally build the controversial E-1 housing project - as have several prime ministers before him. (Ha'aretz)
See also Protecting the Contiguity of Israel: The E-1 Area and the Link Between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim - Nadav Shragai (ICA-Jerusalem Center)
"All humanitarian aid sent into the Gaza Strip today needs to receive Hamas clearance," a senior Israeli defense official said Thursday. "Hamas uses violence against international organizations, including UNRWA, if they do not cooperate." Hamas has taken control of millions of dollars transferred monthly by PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad to the UN Development Program and designated for Gazans whose homes were destroyed during fighting last winter. Israeli government sources said it was "no secret" that UN officials in Gaza were having talks on a technical level with Hamas regarding the distribution of humanitarian aid there. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate made the improbable case that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. This assessment not only contradicted previous U.S. intelligence consensus but - as recent court documents show - also the conclusions of Germany, a key U.S. ally with excellent sources in Iran. The BND, Germany's foreign intelligence agency, has amassed evidence of a sophisticated Iranian nuclear weapons program that continued beyond 2003. Earlier this year, in a case about possible illegal trading with Iran, a special national security panel of the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe cited from a May 2008 BND report, saying the agency "showed comprehensively" that "development work on nuclear weapons can be observed in Iran even after 2003."
The BND further noted "the development of a new missile launcher and the similarities between Iran's acquisition efforts and those of countries with already known nuclear weapons programs, such as Pakistan and North Korea." The judges stated unequivocally that "Iran in 2007 worked on the development of nuclear weapons." The court's decision and the BND's reports raise the question of how, or why, U.S. intelligence officials could have come to the conclusion that Iran suspended its program in 2003. German intelligence officials wonder themselves. BND sources told me that they shared their findings and documentation with their U.S. colleagues ahead of the 2007 NIE report. It appears the Americans simply ignored this evidence, suggesting not so much a failure of U.S. intelligence but its sabotage. The politicized 2007 NIE report undermined the Bush Administration's efforts to rally international support for tough action against Iran. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
There's always a certain fascination watching tyrannies coming unstuck, and the convulsions of the Iranian regime are more colorful than most, as you'd expect from such clever and imaginative people, who specialize in illusion. The Iranians, on both sides, understand the stakes. They know that it is now too late to "fix" the political situation. There is no conceivable consensus to bind up the wounds caused by the regime's brutality, mass repression, and slaughter of innocents. And there is no way for the U.S. to avoid "meddling," since the internal conflict is over our values and our vision. As it has been for the past thirty years, we're the target of a war declared and waged against us by the Islamic Republic. We can win or lose, but we can't opt out of it. The writer is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Pajamas Media)
July 18 marked 15 years since the terrorist bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. In an instant, 85 people were killed and hundreds more injured. The seven-story building of the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina, AMIA - the longtime center of Argentinean Jewish life - was reduced to rubble. This monstrous act followed the destruction of the Israeli embassy in Argentina two years earlier. Twenty-nine people were killed in that terrorist bombing and more than 250 were injured. As an Israeli diplomat serving in Argentina at the time of both bombings, I saw it all. I was in the embassy during the first attack. My wife - mother of our five children - was killed. I myself was wounded. I witnessed the scene of utter devastation.
Two separate investigations held in Argentina on the bombings of the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA center implicate Iran as the mastermind, while Hizbullah was the executioner. Ambassador Daniel Carmon is deputy permanent representative of Israel to the UN. (New York Jewish Week)
It is said that U.S. President Obama will be ready with a blueprint for an imposed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by September. Israel is totally opposed to an imposed solution. The 1978 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty were triumphs for Israel's direct-negotiation approach. Israel argues that peace is to be achieved between Israel and its neighbors and not between the Arabs and the big powers, at Israel's expense. The Quartet can assist the parties by helping them to narrow gaps, but not by replacing them at the negotiating table.
The Palestinians hope that Obama will help them by imposing a settlement on the Israelis without the need for negotiations. Hence, the Palestinians want Obama to do for them what they are unable to do for themselves. (Winnipeg Free Press)
With the arguable exception of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which in 1947 called for the establishment of independent Jewish and Arab states - and which the Arabs rejected out of hand - just about every subsequent UN stand on the conflict has been to Israel's detriment. Not once has the GA unequivocally reprimanded the PLO or Hamas for engaging in airline-hijackings, bus bombings and other forms of anti-civilian warfare. Israel, in contrast, is censured at every opportunity. In 1975 the UN established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP). Unlike the Kurds, Roma, Copts, Uighur, Tibetans, and others peoples' who plead for international support, only the Palestinian Arabs have a permanent UN-funded body which does nothing but agitate on their behalf.
This newspaper endorses a campaign initiated by the Anti-Defamation League urging UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to dismantle the committee on the grounds that it is the "single most prolific source of material bearing the official imprimatur of the UN which maligns and debases the Jewish state." The CEIRPP is an obstacle to peace - it needs to go. (Jerusalem Post)
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced on June 8, 2009, that Israel must demolish the wall (which, incidentally, is mainly a fence), now two-thirds completed, between Israel's eastern border and the West Bank. There is, of course, not the slightest allusion to the families of the more than one thousand Israeli victims of Palestinian terror since the start of the second intifada, who were affected precisely by the lack of such a barrier and who should by rights be receiving Palestinian reparations.
Pillay also has nothing to say about the palisade being built by the government of Thailand, which is higher and longer than the Israeli barrier, to cordon off two million Muslims living in the south of the country. She has nothing to say about the "wall of shame" dividing Morocco from Western Sahara (1,500 miles), the electrified fence between Botswana and Zimbabwe (300 miles), and the soon-to-be-completed, ten-foot-high barrier along the entire border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, built by the Saudis to discourage terrorist infiltration. Security barriers have also been erected by India, Cyprus, and even by the UN, which installed a security barrier to protect Kuwait from Iraq. The U.S. is justifiably constructing a fence along its southwestern border with Mexico to prevent the influx of illegal immigration.
Both the American and Israeli fences have been compared to the Berlin Wall, an accusation which misses the point entirely. The Berlin Wall was intended to keep citizens in, not interlopers out. (Pajamas Media)
Yossi Klavan, 41, had been en route from his job at a high-tech firm in Jerusalem to his home in the West Bank settlement of Karnei Shomron when he saw the rocks coming last week. He tried to steer beyond the range of Palestinian stone throwers who had already pelted the bus ahead of him. Immediately he heard a large thud, the crashing of a rock into the side window. The window, made of reinforced plastic, did not shatter. Two more rocks hit the side of the car. "It's around the clock," said Klavan, who said his area has seen a noted rise in roadside incidents against Israeli cars. Overall, such attacks on West Bank roads have dropped markedly in the past year. But settlers say that such incidents are a reminder of the ongoing threat of violence that is part of their daily lives.
Israelis are not allowed to enter Palestinian-controlled areas without an army escort out of concern that they could be attacked or even captured. Avital, from Ofra, remembers the days in the 1980s before the outbreak of the first intifada when she and her neighbors would go to Ramallah on a daily basis - something no one has done in years. "We would go to the banks there for the shorter lines, get our prescriptions filled in the pharmacies. If our local grocery store ran out of challah on a Friday, I knew I could pop into the supermarket in Ramallah." (JTA)
Every day Palestinian laborers sneak into Israel by the dozens from the West Bank for work. The laborers can make up to $50 a day at construction sites and factories in Israel, up to four or five times what they would make in the West Bank. Before the second intifada, which began in September 2000, some 146,000 Palestinians were working inside Israel or the settlements, according to the International Monetary Fund.
"We are always looking for new methods - if the Israelis crack down on refrigerated trucks, we use ambulances; if they start stopping ambulances, we use hearses," says Abu Ali, a smuggler. Israeli police have arrested more than 16,000 undocumented Palestinian workers since the start of the year, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. In the vast majority of cases the smuggled people are quickly sent back to the West Bank. Abu Ali insists he would never help an aspiring suicide bomber to enter for fear of being caught by Israeli security forces. "The Israelis catch them before they ever leave the West Bank 95% of the time," he says. (AFP)
In virtually every Arab nation, demonizing and delegitimizing of Israel, and often of Jews, is a staple of government-controlled media, schools and mosques. This is true even of the Arab states with which Israel is formally at peace. At the same time, the Arab world is the chief support of fellow Arab leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his Sudanese regime's genocidal assault on the Muslim blacks of Darfur.
Tunisian human rights activist Mohammed Bechri argues that to understand Arab support for the genocide in Darfur, one has to recognize the "twin fascisms" - Bechri's term - that dominate the Arab world: Islamism and pan-Arabism. The first rejects the legitimacy of any non-Muslim group within what the Arabs perceive as their proper domain; the latter takes the same view towards any non-Arab group. The genocidal rhetoric, and efforts at mass murder, directed at Israel, and the genocidal assault on the Muslim but non-Arab people of Darfur follow from this mindset.
The major force driving genocidal agendas toward Israel and Darfur is Arab supremacism. It is abetted by a twisted ideological allegiance whose credo requires that hostility to the Jewish state and consequent sympathy for, or prettifying of, those dedicated to Israel's destruction trumps sympathy for Darfur and criticism of those participating in its people's annihilation. (FrontPageMagazine)
Turkish intellectuals have always taken a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli stance. Islamists associate the "Palestine question" with alleged Jewish involvement in the rise of Turkish secularism. Leftists see Israel as an imperialist state and an extension of American hegemony in the Middle East. Comparable themes are found among nationalist intellectuals. Turkish reactions to Israel's 2006 war in Lebanon and 2009 war in Gaza often spilled over into anti-Semitism. Newspaper columnists, some of them academics, belonging to the various ideological streams, helped fan popular sentiment against Israel and Jews. Any attempt by the Turkish Jewish leadership to confront Turkish society on combating anti-Semitism is likely to backfire and even further exacerbate the problem. Given the reality, the only options left for Turkey's Jewish community are to either continue living in Turkey amid widespread anti-Semitism or to emigrate. (Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism)
On June 5, 1967, Israel's air force destroyed Egypt's air force on the ground in a series of morning bombing raids that represented as much an intelligence victory as a military one. It was the culmination of years of careful work penetrating the Egyptian armed forces. "Don't call it the Six-Day War, call it the three-hour war," said Amit, the Mossad's chief from 1963-1968, who died last Friday at 88. In one spectacular operation in 1966, Amit engineered the defection of an Iraqi fighter pilot who landed his MIG-21 at an Israeli air base. The plane - among the most modern of the USSR's fighters - was immediately shared with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The Iraqi pilot was inspired to defect by someone he took to be his American girlfriend but who was actually a Mossad agent.
On Tuesday, Israel's president, Shimon Peres, said, "Generations of Israelis, entire generations of children owe Meir Amit a debt of gratitude for his immense contribution - a large part of which remains secret." (Wall Street Journal)
Israel today is a vibrant jewel of a nation on the eastern Mediterranean. Tel Aviv looks like San Diego or Barcelona. In the fourth quarter last year, when the global economy went all to hell, Israel's GDP was only off 0.5%, the best figure in the industrialized world. (The United States was off 6.3% and Japan 12.1%.) What's the secret? Ayelet Nir, chief economist at IBI, an Israeli investment firm, lists six major reasons Israel's economy has done well of late: a very conservative banking system - without most of the problematic financial instruments found in the U.S., no mortgage crisis, a current account surplus since 2003, negligible inflation, prudent governmental fiscal policy, and healthy integration into the world economy.
Israel produces more science papers per capita than any other country. Israel lags behind only the U.S. in number of companies listed on NASDAQ. 24% of Israel's workforce has a university degree; only the U.S. and Holland have a higher number. Israel leads the world in scientists and technicians per capita. Why has this produced a tech boom? Haim Harari, retired president of the Weizmann Institute of Science, says: "If the science Olympics were held in Europe, we'd be second to none. I claim our success has to do with the national character of Israelis. The Israeli - or Jewish - character is ambitious, chaotic, undisciplined, unorganized, often brilliant, and we think we know better than everybody else all the answers. These are the exact same skills you need in a high-tech start-up." An alternative theory, espoused by many serious Israelis, is that the prototypical pushy Jewish mother is driving the high-tech boom. Study hard! Make something of your life! (Weekly Standard)
In his new book The Israel Test, George Gilder sees Jews since their emancipation as the vanguard of human achievement. They may be few in numbers, but their creativity has brought prosperity to themselves and those around them, and that prosperity in turn has brought freedom. Thus Jews spearhead capitalism and the democracy indispensable to its proper functioning. Marxists, Nazis, and now Muslims and their apologists envy Jews because they cannot emulate them, and so set out to destroy the success that shows up their failure. The attitude you take towards Israel and Jews decides whether you love or hate freedom, and beyond that, mankind - that's the test he is proposing in the book's title.
An attack on Israel is a blow against the entire West. Alas for the Arabs and Muslims, stuck in their hate and envy when they are lucky enough to be so close to Israel that they could join in its success. And just in case the reader risks failing this test by jumping to a false conclusion, Gilder has a portrait of his very non-Jewish ancestry, saying, "We were classic WASPS all." (National Review)
See also Video: Why the U.S. Needs Israel - George Gilder (One Jerusalem)
In recent years there has been alarm in the Israeli media over Palestinian summer camps run by Fatah and Hamas, some offering paramilitary training for teenagers. Now, officials in the Jerusalem municipality say they're in a struggle to make municipal-run (read: Israeli) camps more affordable for the children of Arab eastern Jerusalemites.
"The Islamic movement is running summer camps with a very clear agenda: to indoctrinate young kids to a very strict religious viewpoint and what we know are very extreme messages, which of course we think is not the right thing," says Yakir Segev, a Jerusalem city council member. "There are community centers which the municipality supports, which have summer camps which are more moderate." To that end, the Jerusalem municipality tripled its budget this summer for city-funded day camps in eastern Jerusalem. "What we are trying to do is to provide parents with an alternative, by offering low-cost programs that will be a counter to the extremists," he says. Up to 8,000 children are now in such programs, a huge boost from previous years. (Christian Science Monitor)
How to Overcome the Settlements Impasse - Laura Rozen interviews David Makovsky (Foreign Policy)
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