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 29, 2009
Hamas Aims to Make Gaza More Islamic - Diaa Hadid (AP-Washington Post)
British Court Nixes Anti-Israel Move by West Bank Group (AFP)
Carleton U. Replaces Prof. Accused in Paris Bombing - (Globe and Mail-Canada)
Syrian First Lady Dubbed MidEast's "Marie Antoinette" - Rose Foran (Media Line)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Accounts of prison abuse in Iran's postelection crackdown - relayed by relatives and on opposition Web sites - have set off growing outrage among Iranians, including some prominent conservatives. Some hospital officials have told human rights workers that they have seen evidence that well over 100 protesters have died since the vote. Several conservatives have said the abuse suggests a troubling lack of accountability. Mohsen Ruholamini, the son of an adviser to conservative presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai, died in prison after a severe beating. "Those who have turned this society into a police state and have ordered the use of force have to be held accountable," said Hamid-Reza Katouzian, a hard-line member of Parliament. (New York Times)
See also Iran Hard-Liners Warn Ahmadinejad He Could Be Deposed - Borzou Daragahi
Political hard-liners warned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday that he could be deposed like past Iranian leaders. The Islamic Society of Engineers, a political group close to parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, warned in an open letter to Ahmadinejad that he could suffer the same fate as Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, who was deposed in 1953 in a CIA-backed coup with the acquiescence of the clergy. The letter also cites the experience of President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, who was ousted in 1981 and fled the country after he fell out with the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Both leaders had been elected by huge margins. (Los Angeles Times)
Former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, who served in President Clinton's Cabinet from 1997 to 2001, said Tuesday that fears about Iran have replaced animosity toward Israel as the top concern of governments in the Persian Gulf and the broader Middle East. Cohen has made six trips to the Gulf in the past 18 months. "What has changed in the Gulf region from my perspective is that, in all my years in the past, the first thing I'd get was a lecture about Israel....I no longer receive that, and when I go and travel, what I hear is, there is greater fear of Iran than there is animus toward Israel," he said. (Washington Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Freezing the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank was once seen as a unilateral Israeli obligation. But the Obama administration is now treating this as part of a package that will require concessions from Arab states as well. "The Americans now understand that if they get anything from us on the settlement issue, it will only be in the broader context of some kind of Arab return," said an Israeli diplomat. Talks between U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell and Defense Minister Ehud Barak focused on a two-sided deal that will include reciprocal steps by Arab countries. (Ha'aretz)
The IDF will give more details in warnings issued to Palestinians before aerial strikes, such as more accurate timetables and suggested escape routes, to help residents not involved in terror activity to flee, the military prosecution's international law department said. During the Gaza operation, over 200,000 phone calls were made to Palestinian homes in Gaza and thousands of fliers were distributed in order to warn civilians. (Ynet News)
On July 16 a rocket from Gaza landed south of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, the first rocket attack in a month. On July 19 armed Palestinians launched RPGs and mortar shells at an IDF force patrolling the border fence near Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
The various terrorist organizations are exploiting the relative quiet in Gaza to rebuild their military networks. A correspondent for Russia Today TV accompanied operatives of a network calling itself "the Mujahideen Brigades" as they trained. He reported that Israel's Gaza operation did not destroy the military networks and that today they were investing great efforts to rebuild their military capabilities. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Obama administration's decision to take a stand on the issue of "natural growth" in settlements was tactically unsound. "Natural growth" is a peripheral issue with little relevance either to Palestinians' quality of life or to the ultimate disposition of territory in the West Bank. The fracas over this issue has stalled the peace process and shifted its focus from Arab-Israeli to American-Israeli relations.
According to recent polling, the dispute has already taken a toll, having diminished Israelis' confidence in the U.S. The diminution of that confidence - which former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert recently wrote was vital to Israel's decision to pull settlers out of Gaza and engage in the Annapolis peace process - would not only put in question U.S. effectiveness as an honest broker, but would be a setback for America, Israel, the PA, Arab leaders, and others who face common threats across the region and for whom American-Israel cooperation is of mutual benefit. The test now for President Obama is to maneuver out of the present crisis with that cooperation intact, and with the stage set for progress on the peace process, Iran, and the rest of America's Middle East agenda. (Economist.com-Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
See also For Middle East Peace, Think Small - Michael Singh
When it comes to Arab-Israeli peace, the president would be better served to think small. Hamas remains firmly in control of Gaza, and there are few prospects for dislodging, defeating, or taming it. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas enjoys mixed support at best from his constituents. Adding to these obstacles, relations between the U.S. and Israel have suffered over the otherwise peripheral issue of "natural growth" in West Bank settlements. The prolonged dispute has hardened the positions of Palestinians and Arab states, and undermined American reliability in Israeli eyes.
An opportunity exists to achieve progress between the Israelis and Palestinians, but it is a modest one, and the surest way to quash it is to overreach. The writer, former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, is the Ira Weiner fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (ForeignPolicy.com-Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Iran's apparent pursuit of a nuclear weapon is emerging as a major source of tension between the U.S. and Israel. On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on a visit to Israel, called for continued diplomatic engagement with Tehran. At a joint news conference with Gates, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak emphasized that Israel believed "no option should be removed from the table" when it came to Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu said he told Gates "the seriousness to which Israel views Iran's nuclear ambitions and the need to utilize all available means to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear-weapons capability."
Later in Amman, Gates said Israeli officials told him they were willing to give the administration's diplomatic overtures more time to work before deciding whether to use force against Iran. "I have the sense that as long as the process isn't completely open-ended that the Israelis are prepared to let it go forward," he said. Israeli officials made clear they were unhappy with the administration's outreach to Tehran and that they wanted tougher measures. Barak said any negotiations with Iran should be "short in time and well-defined in objectives." (Wall Street Journal)
Tehran Believes the U.S. Has Already Accepted a Nuclear-Armed Iran - Amir Taheri (New York Post)
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