Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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


September 14, 2009

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Astronaut Ilan Ramon's Son Dies in Air Force Crash - Isabel Kershner (New York Times)
    Capt. Assaf Ramon, 21, the son of Israel's first astronaut, Col. Ilan Ramon, who died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, was killed Sunday when an F16-A plane he was piloting crashed in the West Bank during a training flight.
    See also An Israeli Tragedy - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    The tragic death of Capt. Assaf Ramon touched the hearts of every Israeli citizen. The memory is still fresh of the fatal reentry of the space shuttle Columbia, which claimed the life of his father and the rest of its crew of astronauts.
    When he completed the flight training course in July, Assaf, like his father before him, topped his class.
    See also Prime Minister: Entire Nation Is "Draped in Sorrow" - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a statement Sunday saying the entire nation was "draped in sorrow over the death of Assaf [Ramon], who fell from the skies, like his father Ilan, of blessed memory."

Poll: 59% Say U.S. Should Help Defend Israel (Rasmussen Reports)
    A survey conducted Sept. 3-6 asked: "Sometimes, when a country is attacked, the U.S. provides military assistance to help defend that country."
    "Yes, the U.S. should help defend": Canada 78%, Britain 73%, Israel 59%, Mexico 59%, Germany 53%, Japan 46%, France 45%.

Britain Training Libyan Special Forces - Thomas Harding (Telegraph-UK)
    For the past six months Britain's elite SAS troops have been schooling Col. Gaddafi's soldiers, for a regime which for years provided Republican terrorists with the Semtex explosive, machine-guns and anti-aircraft missiles used against British troops in Northern Ireland.
    Sources within the SAS have expressed distaste at the agreement. One SAS soldier said: "The IRA was our greatest adversary, now we are training their backers."
    Robin Horsfall, a former SAS soldier, said: "There is a long list of British soldiers who have died because of Gaddafi funding terrorists. The SAS is being ordered to do something it knows is morally wrong.''

U.S. Pension Fund Confirms Israel Divestment - Ora Coren (Ha'aretz)
    The U.S. pension fund giant TIAA-CREF confirmed Friday that it divested holdings worth $257,000 from Africa Israel Investments earlier this year in response to a request by the pro-Palestinian group Adalah-NY.
    However, Adalah-NY complained that the fund continued to invest in Israeli companies such as Israel Discount Bank, Cellcom Israel, Bezeq Israeli Telecommunications Corp., and Bank Leumi.

Second Temple Road Unveiled in Jerusalem - Nir Hasson (Ha'aretz)
    A paved road leading up from the Pool of Siloam toward the Temple Mount, thought to have been used by pilgrims during the Second Temple period, has been cleared over the past few months, Israel Antiquities Authority researchers said Sunday.
    Professor Roni Reich, who headed the excavation, said the exposed spot was "where Second Temple pilgrims began their ascent by foot."

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

  • U.S. to Accept Iran's Proposal to Hold Face-to-Face Talks - Mark Landler and David E. Sanger
    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)
  • Ayatollah Khamenei Warns Domestic Critics, Pledges No Change to Nuclear Program - Farnaz Fassihi
    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)
  • Rockets Fired from Lebanon Hit Israel - Isabel Kershner
    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 Intensify to Resume Peace Talks - Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh
    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)
  • Ignoring U.S. Requests to Normalize Relations, Saudi Arabia Steps Up Boycott of Israel - Michael Freund
    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)
  • No Dialogue with the Deaf Neighbor - Abdullah Al Shayji
    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):

  • Rethinking Our Iran Strategy - Robin Wright and Robert Litwak
    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)
  • What Will a Palestinian State Look Like? - Edward Walker
    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)
  • Observations:

    Palestinian "Policemen" Killed in Gaza Operation Were Trained Terrorists - Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • After international human rights organizations accused Israel of killing innocent Palestinian "traffic policemen" during the Gaza operation, a detailed investigation shows that a decisive majority of the Palestinian "policemen" were members of the military wings of the Palestinian terror organizations and fighters who had undergone military training.
    • Among the 343 members of the Palestinian security forces who were killed, 286 have been identified as terror organization members (83%). Another 27 fighters belonging to units undergoing infantry training raises this total to 313 (91%).
    • In the Dec. 27, 2008 attack on an officer training course at Gaza police headquarters, 89 dead were counted. Of these, 60 (67%) belonged to Hamas and almost all were members of its military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades. The total number of terror activists and fighters among those killed at police headquarters was 81 (91%).
    • The human rights organizations which reported on Palestinian casualties in Gaza failed to mention the affiliation of hundreds of Palestinian security personnel who were members of terrorist organizations and who were trained fighters, thus artificially inflating the list of "civilians" killed by the IDF.

      The writer, research director for the Orient Research Group and a research fellow of the Jerusalem Center, previously served as a senior adviser for political planning in Israel's Foreign Ministry and as head of the data and information branch in the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert