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 21, 2009
Obama to Avoid Gaddafi and Ahmadinejad at UN - James Bone (Times-UK)
FBI Arrests Three Men in Terror Plot that Targeted New York - Brian Ross, Richard Esposito and Clayton Sandell (ABC News)
Hamas: We Won't Respect Any Deal - (Jerusalem Post)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei Blasts Israel (Times-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Obama will meet in New York on Tuesday with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and Palestinian Chairman Abbas. On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Barak meets in Washington with Defense Secretary Gates. Barak said concern about Iran remains a top priority and that Israel favors tough sanctions after limited and well-defined diplomatic efforts being pursued by the Americans.
In an interview last week, Barak was quoted as saying that Iran does not pose an existential threat to Israel. The statement raised eyebrows in the U.S. because it seemed to suggest that Israel might be growing less concerned about Iranian nuclear weapons. But in a telephone interview, Barak said this was not the case. He simply wanted to urge his fellow citizens to refrain from panic over the Iranian program. (New York Times)
See also Abbas to Meet Obama, Netanyahu, But Won't Negotiate - Alastair Macdonald (Reuters)
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates last week explained the reasons behind the change in the U.S. missile defense posture: There has been "a change in our intelligence community's 2006 view of the Iranian threat: The intelligence community now assesses that the threat from Iran's short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, such as the Shahab-3, is developing more rapidly than previously projected. This poses an increased and more immediate threat to our forces on the European continent, as well as to our allies." (U.S. Department of Defense)
Secretary of State Clinton told the Brookings Institution on Friday: "Iran's continued failure to live up to its obligations carries profound consequences - for the security of the United States and our allies; for progress on global nonproliferation and progress toward disarmament; for the credibility of the IAEA and the Security Council and the Nonproliferation Treaty; and of course, for stability in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, and beyond. Our concern is not Iran's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy, but its responsibility to demonstrate that its program is intended exclusively for peaceful purposes. This is not hard to do. Iran's continued refusal to cooperate has damaged the credibility of its claim that it does not seek a nuclear weapon."
"There will be accompanying costs for Iran's continued defiance - more isolation and economic pressure, less possibility of progress for the people of Iran....Engagement must produce real results and...we have no appetite for talks without action." (U.S. Department of State)
The EU on Sunday condemned declarations by Iranian President Ahmadinejad including that the Holocaust is a "myth." "The presidency of the European Union condemns statements by President Ahmadinejad at the Quds Day rally in Tehran where he repeated denials of the Holocaust and of the right to exist of the state of Israel," a statement said. "Such statements encourage anti-Semitism and hatred. We call on the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran to contribute constructively to peace and security in the Middle East." Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. have condemned Ahmadinejad's comments. (AFP)
See also Moscow: Ahmadinejad Holocaust Jibe "Totally Unacceptable" (AFP)
Tens of thousands of opposition protesters swarmed the streets of Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan Friday, turning an annual rally in support of the Palestinians into the first major demonstration against the government of President Ahmadinejad in six weeks. "Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I'll sacrifice my life for Iran," chanted protesters in the capital. State-controlled Iranian television showed thousands of Quds Day attendees holding posters of Lebanese Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and chanting "Death to Israel," but the opposition stole the day. (Chicago Tribune)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Sources at the Prime Minister's Bureau as well as the Obama administration stress that it is unlikely that the meeting of Obama, Netanyahu and Abbas Tuesday at the UN will result in a resumption of negotiations. The sources acknowledged that the meeting is expected to be only a photo opportunity. "The differences on the issue of the settlements and the framework of the talks remain deep," the sources said. Senior officials at the U.S. administration offered similar comments.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will address the UN General Assembly on Thursday, where his speech will focus on the need for international action in order to stop Iran's nuclear program. (Ha'aretz)
When Iranian President Ahmadinejad is in New York this week, he will face an unprecedented coalition of Jewish, Iranian, labor, African-American and other activists demonstrating against his regime. His government's brutal crackdown on dissidents has led many progressive Jews to take a more aggressive stance on Iran and helped ally non-Jewish groups with campaigns against the Iranian regime. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said the broader theme of human rights has been "a way to bring other groups into this outside of the Jewish community." (Jerusalem Post)
Israel Air Force jets attacked three smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip Sunday in retaliation for Kassam rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel Saturday night, the IDF Spokesperson's Office said. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The central question about Iran, as Henry Kissinger has observed, is whether it wants to be a nation or a cause. The revolutionary zealotry of Ahmadinejad and his allies is among the obstacles the Obama administration faces as it prepares for Oct. 1 talks with the Islamic republic. As Ahmadinejad's letters make clear, he doesn't want a seat at the negotiating table with the great powers; he wants to overturn that table. A pragmatic bargain with Ahmadinejad is probably impossible. He's a revolutionary, not a dealmaker. Obama should be careful not to let the Iranian president stall for time. (Washington Post)
Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, leaving office in 2005, boasted how, during his two-year tour, he had deceived the Western powers. In his recent book The Rise of Nuclear Iran, author Dore Gold details how Rowhani bragged: "When we were negotiating with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan" (where the fuel conversion for Iran's nuclear weapons program took place). The Isfahan project had not yet begun when talks with the Europeans had, but it was completed while those talks continued. Gold explains Rowhani's diplomatic deception: "Thus, while Rowhani sat at the negotiating table, participating in the first trial run of the West's engagement with it over the nuclear question, Iran quietly moved from having no uranium conversion capability whatsoever to actually completing its clandestine conversion plant."
With Tehran most likely less than a year away from the finish line in its race to achieve nuclear weapons capability, why would it choose to negotiate now - as it enters the home stretch - to stop its program? It hasn't - Iran again only seeks to buy what little remaining time it needs to make its nuclear weapons program a fait accompli. The writer is a Marine veteran of the Persian Gulf and Vietnam wars. (Washington Times)
Israel's Gaza Vindication - Jackson Diehl (Washington Post)
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