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 27, 2009
PA's Dahlan: Arafat Deceived the World - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch-IMRA)
IDF: Hizbullah Has Rebuilt Arms Stockpiles in Southern Lebanon - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
U.S. Aids Palestinians in Budget Crisis (AP/New York Times)
Gaza Campers Stage Abduction of Israeli Soldier - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Bolivians Resist Iran's Search for Uranium - Martin Arostegui (Washington Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he hopes to work out key policy disagreements with the U.S. during a series of meetings this week with high-profile American envoys. "Naturally, in the context of friendly relations between allies, there isn't agreement on all points, and on several issues we are trying to reach an understanding, in order to make progress together toward our shared goals - peace, security and prosperity for the whole Middle East," Netanyahu said. He will meet with U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Adviser James Jones, and top Iran and Mideast specialist Dennis Ross.
At a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday, Mitchell described the differences with Israel as "discussions among friends" and "not disputes among adversaries." (AP)
U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell pledged to seek a quick resumption of peace talks between Israel and Syria over the disputed Golan Heights during his second trip to Damascus in a little over a month as the U.S. intensified its rapprochement with Syrian President Bashar Assad. "The messages coming to us from President Obama stress his administration's determination and resolve to open a new page with Syria," Assad's media adviser, Buthaina Shabaan, told Syrian state media on Sunday. (Wall Street Journal)
President Obama's strategy for rejuvenating Arab-Israeli peace talks is running into resistance from Saudi Arabia, which has rebuffed the American leader's appeals to play a more active role in his plans. Saudi officials have expressed skepticism about Obama's attempts to secure concessions from the Arab world in exchange for a commitment from Israel to stop building Jewish homes in the West Bank.
To drive that point home, the Saudis have been putting private pressure on their regional allies to make sure that they don't make any dramatic gestures unless Israel takes the first step. "The ambition to bring the Saudis on board has been disappointed," said one Western diplomat based in Riyadh. "It would be quite difficult for the Saudis to lead the way the U.S. is hoping, because any warmth towards Israel would be deeply unpopular with its public." (McClatchy-Miami Herald)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Iran's leaders on Sunday that if they were seeking nuclear weapons, "your pursuit is futile," and ruled out explicitly the possibility that the Obama administration would allow Iran to produce its own nuclear fuel, even under intense international inspection. Clinton told NBC's "Meet the Press": "I think it's clear we're trying to affect the internal calculus of the Iranian regime," adding, "What we want to do is to send a message to whoever is making these decisions that if you're pursuing nuclear weapons for the purpose of intimidating, of projecting your power, we're not going to let that happen." (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Lawrence Franklin, 63, a former senior officer in the U.S. Air Force, an intelligence expert, university professor and senior official in the U.S. administration, was accused of spying for Israel and lived under the specter of a 13-year prison term. He was ultimately sentenced to community service for bringing home classified documents. Franklin worked in the Secretary of Defense's bureau, as a senior policy analyst on Iran, Iraq, and Hizbullah. His superiors were Jews: Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, and Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy. Franklin believes these two senior officials were the actual, main targets of the FBI investigation, which, he says, wanted to incriminate them through him on a charge of spying for Israel.
Franklin replies cautiously when asked about anti-Semitism in the FBI: "I find it embarrassing to admit to a foreign journalist that highly passionate prejudices and biases like these still exist in an organization that is so respected and admired by the majority of Americans. I was asked about every Jew I knew in the secretary's bureau and had left, and that disturbed me very much." (Ha'aretz)
Hamas is digging tunnels next to UN facilities in Gaza under the assumption that the IDF will not target them during a future conflict, defense officials warned on Sunday. A tunnel adjacent to a UN school in Beit Hanun collapsed earlier this month, causing damage inside the school. (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas said two of its fighters were killed in an explosion in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza on Friday as they were on "a holy mission," a phrase used to describe militants on their way to carrying out an attack. (AP/Ha'aretz)
See also Two Hamas Men Killed While Placing Bomb Near Border Fence - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel's control of the West Bank (territory that should properly be called "disputed" rather than "occupied") was the result of defeating the Arab powers who initiated the Six-Day War of 1967. The status of aggressors and defenders is not interchangeable. Neither is the status of victorious powers and defeated ones. Nonetheless, Israel has taken unilateral steps toward peace, steps not reciprocated by the Palestinians. When Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, dismantling 21 settlements and displacing over 9,000 residents, it conducted the most comprehensive test of the "land for peace" concept in the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations. Yet Israel was rewarded with the creation of a terrorist enclave governed by Hamas, rather than the peaceful, responsible neighbor Israel would need in order to accept a Palestinian Arab state.
Peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians requires compromises on both sides. U.S. pressure on Israel, without any on the Palestinians, will not achieve the desired outcome. The writer is editor of Orbis, the quarterly journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. (Wall Street Journal)
The Obama administration needs to take four concrete steps on the Israeli-Palestinian front in the coming months: 1) Plan for the possibility of Palestinian elections in the coming year. 2) Develop an integrated program to strengthen Palestinian institutions in a broad range of sectors to lay the foundations for statehood. 3) Take immediate action to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 4) Conduct a public outreach and strategic communications effort in the Middle East outlining U.S. regional strategy, with increased attention to Israeli public opinion. The Obama administration will achieve its goal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict only if its actions are not viewed by Israelis as hostile to their interests. Israel and the U.S. cannot afford to surprise each other with unexpected, uncoordinated initiatives that collide with each other's strategic position. (Center for American Progress)
The current situation, in which Iran's economy is likely to do poorly in the next few years, is a perfect moment for the international community to impose additional sanctions on Iran. No longer can Iran offset the impact of those sanctions with a flood of oil income. There is excellent reason to expect that Iranian public opinion will blame the economic problems on hardliners' isolation of Iran from the international community.
Foreign pressure cannot cause Iran's economy to collapse, but such pressure may contribute to the intense debate inside Iran about the wisdom of a confrontational and isolationist policy toward the international community. That debate offers the best prospect for a fruitful resolution of the nuclear impasse, because those who want Iran to join the world are not willing to pay a high price for a nuclear program that they increasingly see as part of the Ahmadinejad agenda, not part of a national project. From testimony by the Washington Institute's deputy director for research before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on July 22. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
The U.S.-Israeli Dispute over Building in Jerusalem: The Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik Neighborhood - Nadav Shragai (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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