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|
November 30, 2009
Thousands of Palestinian Prisoners May Be Freed - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
Swiss Vote to Ban Minarets in Backlash Against Islam - Alexander G. Higgins (AP)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran's government will build ten new sites to enrich uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday, a dramatic expansion of the country's nuclear program and one that is bound to fuel fears that it is attempting to produce a nuclear weapon. Ahmadinejad told state news agency IRNA that construction of at least five nuclear facilities was to begin within two months. The announcement comes just days after a censure of Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency over the Islamic republic's refusal to stop enriching uranium, a key demand of Western powers. (Washington Post)
See also Iran Says UN Criticism Prompted New Nuclear Plans - Ali Akbar Dareini
Iran had no intention of building ten new nuclear facilities until it was strongly rebuked by the UN nuclear watchdog over its nuclear activities, Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi said Monday. The ten-fold expansion of Iran's nuclear program will likely significantly heighten tensions with the West. (AP/Washington Post)
See also U.S.: "Another Serious Violation of Iran's Clear Obligations" - Jeff Mason
Reacting to the announcement, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Sunday, "If true, this would be yet another serious violation of Iran's clear obligations under multiple UN Security Council resolutions and another example of Iran choosing to isolate itself....Time is running out for Iran to address the international community's growing concerns about its nuclear program." (Reuters)
The resounding censure of Iran on Friday by the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency signals the start of a potentially more confrontational phase in the Obama administration's dealings with Iran, including the prospect of strengthened U.S.-led efforts to cut off Iran's economic links to the world. Iran will face a "package of consequences" if it does not soon become a "willing partner" in talks on its nuclear ambitions, a senior U.S. official warned. (Washington Post)
See also Rebuke Recasts Standoff with Iran - David Crawford and Jay Solomon
U.S. officials said stronger-than-expected support for the measure reflected international consensus that Iran's nuclear ambitions need to be checked. U.S. officials said they were particularly pleased that the Chinese took part in writing the draft resolution the IAEA board passed. Officials said the final resolution included specific wording offered by Beijing.
Discussions have focused on eight "baskets" of areas that could be targeted, including Iranian banks, shipping companies, insurance firms and energy assets. U.S. officials said they have also focused on the assets of Iran's elite military unit, the Revolutionary Guard. (Wall Street Journal)
Iran's parliament passed a law on Sunday earmarking $20 million to support militant groups opposing the West and investigate alleged U.S. and British plots against the Islamic Republic. The legislation is widely seen as a response to Western criticism of Iran's violent crackdown against protesters following the disputed June presidential election. (AP)
Signs of Hamas' creeping Islamization are everywhere in Gaza. The Islamic Hamas movement banned girls last month from riding behind men on motor scooters and forbade women from dancing at the opening of a folk museum. Girls in some schools must wear Islamic headscarves and cloaks. "Ruling by itself, Hamas can stamp its ideas on everyone," said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political science professor at Gaza's al-Azhar University. "Islamizing society has always been part of Hamas strategy." (Bloomberg)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, "It is clear today, to anyone willing to check the facts, that Israel wants peace - to enter the peace process with the aspiration of fulfilling it....I don't see the same firmness on the other side." "I see preconditions being laid that never before existed. I see legal steps being taken at the international court to advance that absurd thing called the Goldstone report. You can't reach peace if the horizon is moving away." (Ha'aretz)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday called the government's move to enforce a construction freeze in West Bank settlements an unprecedented step that proves Israel is serious about pursuing Middle East peace. "The real significance is that for the first time, we are suspending all new construction for an extended period and therefore giving peace negotiations a chance," said Barak. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan may have been mentally unbalanced - I assume anyone who shoots up innocent people is. But the more you read about his support for Muslim suicide bombers, about how he showed up at a public-health seminar with a PowerPoint presentation titled "Why the War on Terror Is a War on Islam," and about his contacts with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric famous for using the Web to support jihadist violence against America - the more it seems that Major Hasan was just another angry jihadist spurred to action by "The Narrative" - even though he was born, raised and educated in America.
The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11. Propagated by jihadist Web sites, mosque preachers, Arab intellectuals, satellite news stations and books - and tacitly endorsed by some Arab regimes - this narrative posits that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand "American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy" to keep Muslims down.
Yes, after two decades in which U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny - in Bosnia, Darfur, Kuwait, Somalia, Lebanon, Kurdistan, post-earthquake Pakistan, post-tsunami Indonesia, Iraq and Afghanistan - a narrative that says America is dedicated to keeping Muslims down is thriving. This narrative allows Arab governments to deflect onto America all of their people's grievances over why their countries are falling behind. (New York Times)
The U.S.-Israel agreement on freezing construction in West Bank settlements represents a considerable, well-crafted, albeit unilateral, concession by Israel. The U.S. government praised the decision; it was pretty much what President Obama has been trying to obtain for nine months and has worked hard to negotiate. But it will have no impact whatsoever. On the contrary, the Palestinians and the Arab states will complain that it isn't enough and that they have more demands. In giving something in exchange for no material gain or even a gesture from the other side, Israel can only hope that the president appreciates this and remembers that he did not deliver on his promise to get some concession from the Arab side to match it. (Jerusalem Post)
The West is not deterring the mullahs. Instead, the mere prospect of their nuclear capability is deterring the West. Ahmadinejad and his friends sense their chance. They are putting pressure on the democratic nations to drop Israel in exchange for a tempering of Tehran's hostility. They are using the entire repertoire of intimidation, ridicule, and insult in an attempt to transform the Jewish state into what the Czech Sudetenland was for France and Great Britain in 1938: the price to be paid for "peace in our time."
Nobody can be sure that a nuclear-armed Iran will allow itself to be disarmed and deprived of its power without using its nuclear weapons. In that case, the world may be faced with the choice of either submitting to Islamism or defeating it - albeit at an unimaginable price. There is only one thing that can prevent the building of the Iranian bomb: the shutting down or destruction of the facilities that are producing the nuclear materials for it. The writer is a German political scientist. (Weekly Standard)
The Arabs Have Stopped Applauding - Fouad Ajami (Wall Street Journal)
It's been nearly six months since Barack Obama stirred hearts and raised hopes across much of the Arab world with his much-promoted Cairo address. The peace-process bubble burst two months ago when attempts to launch final-settlement talks between Israelis and Palestinians collapsed. Arabs who were led by Obama's rhetoric to believe that the U.S. would force Israel to make unprecedented unilateral concessions were bitterly disappointed. (Washington Post)
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