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October 27, 2009

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: American Support for Israel Remains Solid (Reuters)
    According to a new nationwide survey of American attitudes released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Monday:
    67% see Israel as a strong, loyal U.S. ally.
    By a 3-1 ratio, the American people express more sympathy with Israel than with the Palestinians.
    64% of Americans believe that Israel is serious about reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
    53% believe leaders of the Arab world will continue to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, even if Israel stops all further construction in settlements.
    56% believe a Palestinian state must not be established until the Palestinians end the violence and accept Israel's legitimacy.
    In addition, 83% believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and 54% support U.S. military action to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons, up from 47% in 2007.
        See the full survey: 2009 Survey of American Attitudes on Israel, the Palestinians and Prospects for Peace in the Middle East (ADL)

Obama: Israel-Jordan Accord Proves Peace Always Possible - Natasha Mozgovaya (Ha'aretz)
    President Obama on Monday marked the 15th anniversary of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel by saying:
    "As we honor this historic event, we remember that peace is always possible despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles."
    "The courage of King Hussein and Prime Minister Rabin demonstrated that a commitment to communication, cooperation, and genuine reconciliation can help change the course of history."

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Why Are Egypt's Liberals Anti-Semitic? - Amr Bargisi and Samuel Tadros (Wall Street Journal)
    This week, Egypt will play host to the 56th Congress of Liberal International, the world federation of liberal and progressive democratic parties. Yet, at least in Egypt, the liberal parties are, for the most part, virulently anti-Semitic.
    Until Egypt's Jews were expelled by Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s and '60s, Egypt had a millennia-old, thriving Jewish community.
    As late as the 1930s, Jewish politicians occupied ministerial posts in Egyptian governments and participated in nationalist politics.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran to Demand Changes to Nuclear Fuel Deal
    Iran will accept the framework of a UN-drafted nuclear fuel deal, but will also demand changes to it, al Alam state television reported on Tuesday. The Arabic-language satellite television station, citing an unnamed official, said Iran would present its response to the proposed agreement within 48 hours. (Reuters)
  • UN General Assembly to Discuss Goldstone Report
    The UN General Assembly is to discuss the Goldstone report next month, an Arab diplomat said Monday. "The Arab group is requesting that the debated in the General Assembly in early November," said Arab League representative Yahya Mahmassani. (AFP)
  • British Police and Intelligence Officers Sent to Tackle UK-Funded Torturers on West Bank - David Rose
    The British government is sending police and intelligence officers to the West Bank to try to stop a wave of brutal torture by Palestinian security forces funded by UK taxpayers. Their mission is to set up and train a new "internal affairs" department with sweeping powers to investigate abuse and bring torturers to justice. On Saturday a senior official from the Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank and its security agencies, admitted that torture, beatings and extra-judicial killings have been rife for the past two years, with hundreds of torture allegations and at least four murders in custody, the most recent in August. British detectives will also train the Palestinian police and Preventive Security forces in how to question suspects without torturing them. Britain spends £20 million a year funding the forces responsible for the abuse.
        In the West Bank city of Nablus, Nasser al-Shaer, a former Manchester academic who was deputy prime minister in the short-lived Hamas Palestinian Authority government elected in 2006, said many of those released from detention in recent months were telling the same story - of torture, including beatings, being suspended from the ceiling, and electric shocks. (Daily Mail-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Regional Talks Postponed After Egypt Refuses to Sit with Israel's Foreign Minister - Barak Ravid
    France decided Monday to postpone a conference of the foreign ministers of the Mediterranean Union after Egypt said it would not participate if Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was present. The Mediterranean Union was set up by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, as a new iteration of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel Regrets Egypt's Negative Role Over Cancelled Meeting - Herb Keinon
    "It is a shame the Egyptians are playing a negative role in the region and taking a meeting that was aimed at improving the standard of living of Egypt's neighbors, and turning it into a political tool," a senior Israel Foreign Ministry official said on Monday, responding to the cancellation of a scheduled Mediterranean Union meeting. By leading this campaign against Lieberman, sources in the Foreign Ministry said, Cairo was both "harming its own interests" and "angering the European states."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Questions Amnesty Report on Water Allocation - Ehud Zion Waldoks
    The Israel Water Authority slammed Amnesty International on Monday over the publication of a new critical report on water allocation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Water Authority stressed that it routinely provided the PA with more water per year than the amounts stipulated in the Oslo Accords. It also said Palestinians routinely dug illegal wells and refused to purify and reuse their sewage for agriculture. Instead, they dumped their sewage into the streams in the West Bank, causing massive pollution.
        NGO Monitor president Prof. Gerald Steinberg said: "Rather than recognize that water supply is a complex regional issue, Amnesty focuses only on Palestinian shortages....The report adopts a painfully simplistic narrative which places blame solely on Israel, to the extent that the Palestinian leadership is absolved of responsibility for the agreements signed under the Oslo framework."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Refutes Claims on West Bank Water Supply - Yaakov Katz
    Palestinian claims that Israel denies water rights in the West Bank are "baseless and incorrect," said Lt.-Col. Amnon Cohen, head of the civil administration's infrastructures department. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel: World Bank Report on West Bank Water Distorts Facts (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Peres: "We Do Not Use Our Children as Human Shields" - Hagai Einav
    President Shimon Peres commented on the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on Monday, saying that "the problem is not on the Israeli side." Referring to Hamas' imprisonment of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, Peres said: "Unfortunately we are dealing with an organization that lacks rules and principles, and which cannot be trusted with anything it says." Speaking about the Goldstone report, Peres said that "everyone is asking how could there be more children killed on the Arab side. The explanation stems from our focus on protecting and shielding our civilians, while they put theirs in the battlefront. We do not use our children as human shields."  (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Is Turkey Leaving the West? - Soner Cagaptay
    In early October, Turkey disinvited Israel from Anatolian Eagle, an annual Turkish air force exercise that it had held with Israel, NATO, and the United States since the mid-1990s. It marked the first time Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) let its increasingly anti-Western rhetoric spill into its foreign policy strategy.
        The AKP's foreign policy has not promoted sympathy toward all Muslim states. Rather, the party has promoted solidarity with Islamist, anti-Western regimes (Qatar and Sudan, for example) while dismissing secular, pro-Western Muslim governments (Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia). This two-pronged strategy is especially apparent in the Palestinian territories: at the same time that the AKP government has called on Western countries to "recognize Hamas as the legitimate government of the Palestinian people," AKP officials have labeled PA leader Mahmoud Abbas the "head of an illegitimate government."
        In September, Erdogan defended Iran's nuclear program, arguing that the problem in the Middle East is Israel's nuclear arsenal. The writer is a senior fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Affairs)
  • Jews Prove an Easy Catch at the UN - Alan Howe
    In a sneering perversion of logic, some Arab and African nations, to whom human rights are an unnecessary indulgence, sit at some of the UN's top tables, including the UN Human Rights Council. Sharing leg space under the UN's influential desks are such legendary stalwarts of democratic fairness and equality as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Cameroon, Madagascar, Jordan, Nigeria, Senegal and China. Tin pots, basket cases, thugs - take your pick. They were just some of the countries that, as members of the Human Rights Council, initiated and sat on an inquiry into the Israeli actions in Gaza, which took place almost a year ago.
        The UN Human Rights Council had its finding sewn up in January when it sent "an independent...fact-finding mission" to the "occupied Gaza Strip." Occupied by whom? The Israelis walked away from Gaza four years ago, controversially forcing its grumpy civilians to leave. The only Israeli in Gaza that I can think of is the kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit, who has been held by Hamas terrorists for more than three years.
        Gazans paid Israelis back in spades for the long-sought opportunity to be masters of their own fate: they sent thousands of Kassam rockets over the border and on to local towns. Israelis wanted their government to stop the shelling and end the terror. That's why the Israeli army entered Gaza last December. If you are going to employ the terrorist tactics of hiding and operating in densely populated areas and schools, expect some painful collateral damage. Goldstone's report predictably accused Israel of human rights abuses in Gaza - so self-defense is now a crime? (Herald Sun-Australia)
  • Observations:

    IDF Chief: We Won't Rely on Others for Our Security (Israel Defense Forces)

    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said in Berlin on Monday:

    • I, Gabi Ashkenazi, the son of Josef Ashkenazi, may he rest in peace, a Holocaust survivor from Bulgaria, am here today as the commander of the Jewish defense force - the Israel Defense Forces, and proudly carry the flag of the State of Israel - the state of the Jewish nation.
    • Our obligation [is] to always remember and never forget the worst atrocities in the history of mankind, never take the threats of those who would harm us lightly, ensure our security ourselves, and never let anyone else control the future of Israel.
    • Even today, leaders of states publicly declare their desire to destroy the State of Israel - they reject the sovereign and national right of the Jewish nation to exist.
    • Our legitimate struggle against the terrorist organizations that disrupt the daily routine of our citizens has been used as an excuse by anti-Semitic advocates, Holocaust deniers and other hostile sources. Their attacks give legitimacy to the atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel.
    • The Israel Defense Forces, the shield of the Jewish nation, is not an army that advocates war - rather it is an army of defense. We do not look for battle, but nonetheless, if war is forced upon us we will do everything necessary to enable the citizens of Israel to live in their homes securely.

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