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|
September 14, 2009
Astronaut Ilan Ramon's Son Dies in Air Force Crash - Isabel Kershner (New York Times)
Poll: 59% Say U.S. Should Help Defend Israel (Rasmussen Reports)
Britain Training Libyan Special Forces - Thomas Harding (Telegraph-UK)
U.S. Pension Fund Confirms Israel Divestment - Ora Coren (Ha'aretz)
Second Temple Road Unveiled in Jerusalem - Nir Hasson (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Obama administration said Friday that the U.S. would accept Iran's offer to meet, fulfilling President Obama's pledge to hold unconditional talks despite the Iranian government's insistence that it would not negotiate over the future of its nuclear program. At the same time, administration officials said their expectations were extremely low. They also said their willingness to proceed was based in part on a recognition that some form of talks had to take place before the U.S. could make a case for imposing far stronger sanctions on Iran. (New York Times)
See also Meridor: No More Time to Waste on Iran
Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor said Saturday in an interview about Iran's development of nuclear weapons: "The time is now. There is no more time to waste, and that's not only the Israeli perspective....We are in a way fortunate that this is not only Israel's problem....The fact is that the alarm in the Arab world is related to the fear that Iran may have it (nuclear weapons)." "If there is no perception of a concerted effort, the other countries who are concerned with the possibility of a nuclear Iran could develop their own in the meantime....Then you will find a different world, one harder for a superpower to manage." (Reuters)
See also Tehran Is Wasting Time - Amos Harel
Iran continues to play its game of deception. The former chief of Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, told Ha'aretz the Iranians are behaving this way because "they're at such an advanced stage in their plans, all they need to do is to waste time while pushing hard for their immediate goal, which is to produce sufficient quantities of fissile material for two or three atomic bombs." In Israel, there are suspicions that the pace of the Iranian advance has accelerated. (Ha'aretz)
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, delivering a sermon at Tehran's Friday prayers, said that if opposition leaders continue to question the legitimacy of the political system, he would have to "take out the eye of the storm," setting the stage for the possible arrest of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Khamenei reiterated that Iran wouldn't bend to Western powers when it comes to its nuclear program. To give up rights, "whether nuclear right or otherwise, would result in a nation's demise," he said.
Khamenei's speech marked the anniversary of the death of Shiite Islam's founder Imam Ali. Khamenei recounted how Imam Ali had practiced patience with opponents until it was clear they weren't changing course, and then took out his sword to deliver them a final blow. (Wall Street Journal)
See also Text of Khamenei's Speech (MEMRI)
At least two rockets fired from southern Lebanon hit open areas near the northern Israeli town of Nahariya on Friday, and Israel returned fire. Israeli military officials said they held the Lebanese government and its army responsible for preventing such attacks. In Washington, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P. J. Crowley said the episode, along with an explosion at a Hizbullah weapons depot in July, highlights the urgent need to bring arms in Lebanon under control of the state. (New York Times)
See also Report: UNIFIL Knew of Plan to Fire Rockets at Israel - Roee Nahmias
UNIFIL forces in south Lebanon were notified in advance of the possibility that Katyusha rockets would be fired toward Israel, the Lebanese newspaper An Nahar reported on Sunday. A number of sources informed UNIFIL of the attack ten days before it was launched, and UNIFIL relayed the information to the Lebanese army two days before the attack, the report said. Eyewitnesses in southern Lebanon reported that four men arrived at a forest near the village of al-Kalila near Tyre, planted three rockets, set a timer, and then fled the scene. (Ynet News)
See also Militant Group Linked to Al-Qaeda Claims Rocket Attacks on Israel
The Ziad al-Jarrah division of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a militant group linked to al-Qaeda, said on Monday it was behind the firing of rockets into northern Israel. Ziad al-Jarrah, a Lebanese militant, was one of the 9/11 attackers. Abdullah Azzam was a preacher close to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. A group using the name Abdullah Azzam Brigades said it carried out deadly bombings at the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh in 2005. (Reuters-New York Times)
See also Israel Files Complaint with UN Over Rocket Fire - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Efforts to enable the announcement of a renewal of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations entered high gear Sunday, with Prime Minister Netanyahu discussing the matter in Cairo with Egyptian President Mubarak, even as U.S. envoy Mitchell was holding high-level talks in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
While Washington has been attempting to get Riyadh to improve relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia has been steadily intensifying its enforcement of the Arab League boycott of Israel. According to U.S. Commerce Department data, the number of boycott-related requests received by American companies from Saudi Arabia has increased in the past two years, rising from 42 in 2006 to 65 in 2007 to 74 in 2008, a jump of more than 76%.
Typically, Saudi officials ask foreign suppliers to affirm that any goods exported to the kingdom are not manufactured in Israel or contain any Israeli-made components. U.S. law bars American companies from complying with such demands, and requires them to report any boycott-related requests to the federal government. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Land First, Then Peace - Prince Turki al-Faisal
The writer is a former director of Saudi Arabia's intelligence services and ambassador to the U.S. (New York Times)
Iran's grandiose project to become the dominant power in the Middle East and North Africa clashes directly with Arab, U.S., Turkish and Israeli goals. Nevertheless, Iran has increased its reach through a host of methods, including cooperation, co-optation, as well as ideological and financial means. Tehran invests heavily politically, socially and militarily to intervene directly in Iraq and indirectly through proxies in Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen. It also seeks to grow the Shiite faith in predominantly Sunni countries such as Morocco, which severed ties with Iran a few months ago, and Yemen, where it is working to undermine the government by supporting the Zaidi Shiites' Al Houthi insurgency.
The Iranians have employed these tactics for years in their dealings with Arabs and others. Iran must adopt a reasonable, neighborly policy of non-interference in the affairs of the GCC, as well as other Arab countries near and far. Failing this, any Arab or GCC dialogue with Iran will be a waste of time and nothing more than a dialogue with the deaf. The writer is a professor of International Relations and the head of the American Studies Unit at Kuwait University. (Gulf News-UAE)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Three U.S. administrations did not exploit opportunities when Iran needed to reach out. The challenge now is to create a confluence of factors that will make Tehran again feel that a real deal with Washington is in its interest. Then engagement has a real shot. Under the current circumstances, it doesn't.
Diplomacy centered primarily on Iran's nuclear program is unlikely to work. The regime as well as many protesters view pressure to end uranium enrichment - a process to provide fuel for peaceful nuclear energy that can be subverted to develop a nuclear weapon - as a challenge to Iran's sovereignty and a denial of its economic development. Under the current circumstances, the regime is more likely to engage in a process - largely to get the world off its back - that would not produce enduring substance or real resolution. Robin Wright has covered Iran since 1973. Robert Litwak is the former director for nonproliferation at the National Security Council. Both are at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (Los Angeles Times)
Will the Palestinian state look like Gaza under Hamas? If that is the expectation, then it is not very likely that negotiations on the final status, even if started, would ever result in an agreement. Israel will not accept a hostile, independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, nor should it. The Israelis will have to have a high degree of confidence that once a Palestinian state is established, it will not become a launching pad for attacks on Israel.
Certainly, the Palestinian record thus far does not fill one with confidence. The divided polity, the clinging to rhetoric instead of reality, the record of corruption in the Palestinian Authority, and failure to govern effectively even in areas where the Authority has sway, creates the expectation of failure, instability, and continued hostility toward Israel as the path of least resistance.
Now the Palestinian Authority is advancing a new approach in a document entitled "Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State" published in August 2009, that sets out the objectives of the PA government for the next two years as a "full commitment to this state-building endeavor." It remains to be seen if Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad can deliver on the vision and reform. But it is virtually certain that without such an effort on the part of the Palestinians, there will be no peace agreement, no Palestinian state, and no respite from terrorism. The writer has served as U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel, and as Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East. (AmbassadorBlog)
Palestinian "Policemen" Killed in Gaza Operation Were Trained Terrorists - Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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