Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Via Smartphone


August 12, 2009

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

70 Percent of Americans Say Israel Is an Ally (Rasmussen Reports)
    In a new nationwide survey, 70% of Americans say Israel is an ally, while none of the Islamic countries comes close to the positive feelings most have toward Israel.
    70% of Americans say Iran is an enemy of the U.S.
    39% believe Egypt is an ally. 23% see Saudi Arabia as an ally, although 25% see it as an enemy.
    81% believe Palestinian leaders must recognize Israel's right to exist as part of any Middle Eastern peace agreement.

Jews Leave Yemen for Israel (Yemen News Agency)
    Three relatives of Moshe Yaish al-Nahari, the Jew killed last year in northern Yemen, have left the country for Israel.
    Rabbi Yahya Yaish of Ridah in the Amran district said all Jews in the area are preparing to leave for Israel within the next days.
    Harassment has increased against Jews in the Amran and Kharef districts, with some Jews killed and others kidnapped, he claimed.

Israelis Warned: Leave Sinai Immediately - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
    The Counter-Terrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister's Office warned Israelis in Sinai to leave immediately.
    An estimated 40,000 Israelis are currently there, most of them Israeli Arabs.
    It also cautioned Israelis to refrain from traveling to Jordan, Morocco and Egypt.
    Travel warnings for Israelis also include Colombia, the Kashmir region, Mindanao in the Philippines, and parts of southern Thailand.

United Church of Canada Drops Israel "Apartheid" Wording (CBC News)
    Delegates at the United Church of Canada's national meeting have voted unanimously to reject controversial language used in material for a proposed divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.
    The United Church is still considering the resolutions themselves, but delegates voted Tuesday to repudiate and regret background documents that raised the ire of Jewish organizations across the country.

IDF Court Jails Soldier Who Stole Palestinian's Credit Card - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News-Ha'aretz)
    An Israel Defense Forces Military Court has sentenced a soldier who stole a Palestinian's credit card during the Gaza operation and withdrew $405 to seven and-a-half months in a military prison.
    The defendant has compensated the Palestinian in full, with interest, and has apologized.
    In addition to his prison sentence, the soldier was demoted from sergeant to private.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Fatah Party Election Brings in a New Generation - Isabel Kershner
    Fatah elected a mostly new leadership committee, ushering in a younger generation, according to election results released Tuesday. The new leaders grew up locally, in contrast to the exile-dominated leadership they are replacing. But many are familiar names and their election is not expected to bring about significant changes in Fatah policies. (New York Times)
        See also New Faces of an Unreformed, Hard-Line Fatah - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Many of the newly-elected members of Fatah's Central Committee may be younger than their ousted predecessors, but that does not mean that they are more reform-minded, less corrupt, or more moderate. The assumption that Muhammad Dahlan, Jibril Rajoub, Marwan Barghouti and Tawfik Tirawi are more moderate than old-timers like Ahmed Qurei, Nabil Sha'ath and Hani al-Hassan is completely mistaken.
        Fatah has said quite clearly that Israel must withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, including from all of the eastern part of Jerusalem, allow Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes inside Israel, dismantle all the settlements, including in Jerusalem neighborhoods, and evict all settlers living there and in the West Bank.
        Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in Israeli prison, was the head of the Fatah list that lost to Hamas in the January 2006 parliamentary election. Dahlan, Rajoub and Tirawi are all former security commanders who served as Yasser Arafat's henchmen. They are anything but reformists and moderates, and are best remembered for building detention centers, prisons, big villas and a casino for the Palestinians. Their main task was to suppress and intimidate political opponents, human rights workers, journalists and anyone who dared to challenge Fatah's corruption-riddled regime, and to hunt down Palestinians suspected of "collaboration" with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Security Team to Visit Syria - Khaled Yacoub Oweis
    A U.S. security delegation will visit Syria on Wednesday in a sign of growing cooperation between the two countries. The delegation will mainly discuss Syrian moves to curb infiltration into Iraq and insurgent networks Washington says are operating from Syria, diplomats said. "The Americans have presented the Syrians with names of main facilitators of insurgents they want captured," one diplomat said. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel, U.S. Discussing Settlement Compromise - Herb Keinon and Tovah Lazaroff
    Jerusalem and Washington are currently discussing a compromise agreement over the settlement blocs in the West Bank where construction that has already begun can continue, diplomatic sources said Tuesday. The compromise would allow most of the 2,500 housing units currently under construction to continue to be built, but Israel would declare a temporary moratorium on new projects. Most of the units are in the large settlement blocs near the Green Line such as Ma'ale Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, Gush Etzion and Betar Illit.
        However, a question has emerged regarding Ariel, which Israel defines as one of the large settlement blocs. Another issue that still needs to be worked out involves what building the U.S. will permit once the freeze ends. Israel is keen on returning to the understandings that it had with the U.S. under the Bush Administration, whereby construction would be permitted inside a settlement's current construction lines. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Nasrallah's Frustration - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The main reason for the current tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese front is growing frustration among Hizbullah's leadership as a result of its failure to advance any of its political or operational objectives. Hizbullah and the opposition bloc it leads wish to join the new Lebanese government with one-third of the ministers - thereby possessing veto power on government decisions.
        However, Prime Minister Saad Hariri has not rushed to comply with this demand for a number of reasons: Hizbullah and the bloc it leads failed to win the election majority they expected. Hizbullah's status among the Lebanese public, including the Shiites, greatly weakened in the wake of the destruction prompted by Nasrallah's escapade that led to the Second Lebanon War. Hizbullah's bargaining power has also weakened greatly as a result of the instability of the Iranian regime. The explosion of a weapons depot in south Lebanon last month proved again that Hizbullah prefers its own military interests over the welfare and well-being of Lebanese citizens. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Defense Ministry Refutes Claims of IDF Misconduct During Gaza Operation
    A new report by the Israel Defense Ministry's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) refutes specific claims made by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) earlier this year on the IDF's conduct in Gaza. To the charge that Israel prevented wounded Palestinians from leaving Gaza for medical treatment, the Defense Ministry said that Palestinian health authorities had refused to cooperate with the CLA to coordinate the transfer of wounded to Israel "despite numerous requests by the CLA." While PHR said 16 Palestinian medical personnel were killed during the operation, a Hamas statement noted that 9 of the 16 were Hamas operatives and fighters. Pictures of some of them appeared on Hamas Web sites holding RPGs and Kalashnikov rifles.
        While PHR claimed that the Palestinian health system "collapsed" during the operation, the Defense Ministry said, "During the operation, unprecedented amounts of medical supplies entered Gaza." A World Health Organization report noted that there was no shortage in medicine or medical supplies in Gaza and that hospitals were never more than 75% full. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • An Arab Call for Resettlement of Palestinian Refugees
    Daoud al-Shiryan, Al-Hayat columnist and deputy secretary-general of Al-Arabiya TV, recently published several articles calling for resettlement of Palestinian refugees: "Objecting to resettlement is no different than objecting to peace. It is nothing but an unrealistic slogan." "Arabs who object to the resettlement plan contend that they are motivated by their zealous devotion to the Right of Return. But...this spurious devotion has evoked the opposite reaction: a Palestinian now hopes to emigrate to America, Europe, Canada, or Australia in order to escape the hell of the Palestinian refugee camps."
        "[My] passion for resettlement is not a rejection of the Right of Return, but rather of the inhuman treatment of the Palestinians in the 'countries of the refugee camps.' Foremost among these countries is Lebanon, which bars the Palestinians from 72 professions, so as to prevent them from living in dignity."  (MEMRI)
        See also Putting First Things First - Solving the Arab Refugee Problem - Ruth King and Rael Jean Isaac (Family Security Matters)
  • Foreigners Cannot Understand the Israelis' Vulnerability - David Grossman
    Israeli author David Grossman said in an interview: "From the outside Israel looks like a bully-militant fist. Foreigners cannot really understand the vulnerability of people here and their lack of confidence in the fact that Israel will still exist in a few decades." "You must remember that for four years there was rocket shooting from the Gaza Strip. There was ongoing provocation. Israel had withdrawn its soldiers and settlers from Gaza. The Palestinians could have used this partial sovereignty in order to build up their land. Instead Hamas decided to bombard Israel."
        "All my life I have tried to prevent the use of military power, but I also insist on Israel's right as a sovereign state to defend itself when attacked. It is strange that Israel is the only country that is immediately criticized when it retaliates after years of rocket terror." "I have received many offers to work abroad. Israel is the only place on earth where I am not a stranger. I regard it as a privilege to take part in the creating of this country. In the Mishna (a commentary on the Hebrew Bible) there is a phrase saying the one who has experienced a miracle does not necessarily recognize it as a miracle. I recognize the miracle: We Jews do have a state."  (Der Spiegel-Germany)
  • Observations:

    Mideast Peace Starts with Respect - Ronald S. Lauder (Wall Street Journal)

    • As the Obama administration outlines its own prospectus for a comprehensive settlement to Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and the wider Arab world, it would do well to take note of some potential pitfalls.
    • Rule No. 1: Respect the sovereignty of democratic allies. When free people in a democracy express their preferences, the United States should respect their opinions. The current administration should not try to impose ideas on allies like Israel.
    • The administration would also do well to take heed of the Palestinian Authority's continued refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. A long-term settlement can only be forged on the basis of mutual recognition and respect. To deny the essence of the Zionist project - to rebuild the Jewish people's ancient homeland - is to call into question the seriousness of one's commitment to peace.
    • The core historic reason for the conflict is the Arab world's longstanding rejection of Israel's existence. The two-state solution was accepted by Israel's pre-state leadership in 1947 when it agreed to the partition plan contained in UN General Assembly Resolution 181. The Arabs flatly rejected it.
    • The recent rebuffs by Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia of efforts by the Obama administration to promote a more conciliatory attitude to Israel offer a salient reminder that those who started this conflict may not yet be in a mood to end it, whatever their rhetoric to the contrary.
    • No compromise can be made on Israel's right to exist inside secure borders unmolested by terrorist groups or threatened by belligerent states. An unambiguous strategy explaining precisely how Hamas and Hizbullah can be disarmed and how Iran can be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons is of central importance to any peace plan.

      The writer is president of the World Jewish Congress.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert