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|
December 2, 2009
Iran Just a Year Away from the Bomb? - Dieter Bednarz, Erich Follath and Christoph Schult (Der Spiegel-Germany)
Ex-IAEA Inspector: Press Iran Harder - Hilary Leila Krieger (Jerusalem Post)
Strategic Assessment-November 2009 (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Russia will join any consensus on more sanctions against Iran, a senior Russian diplomatic source said on Tuesday after Tehran declared it would expand nuclear activity in defiance of a UN rebuke. By referring to "consensus," Russia could be leaving itself an escape hatch since China has been the most resistant to punitive steps against Iran among the six world powers. "We will be thinking about sanctions, but this is not an issue of the next few hours or weeks," the source said. (Reuters)
See also Ahmadinejad: Nuclear Partner Russia "Made a Mistake" over IAEA Vote - Jay Deshmukh and Hiedeh Farmani
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that in the International Atomic Energy Agency vote last Friday, "Russia made a mistake. It does not have an accurate analysis of today's world situation." "The agency should not have bowed to pressure by Britain and the Zionist regime. Resolutions and sanctions are worthless in our view," he said. "Obama's behavior is worrying. We expected him to make changes," he added. (AFP)
Reliance Industries has since April stopped selling gasoline and oil to Iran in an apparent bid to escape sanctions by the U.S. Sources said Reliance sells fuel to traders with clear instructions that the final destination will not be Iran. (Economic Times-India)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that a ten-month freeze of new construction in West Bank settlements was only a "one-time, temporary" move. "We shall resume building once the moratorium is over," Netanyahu told a financial conference. "The future final-status accord in Judea and Samaria will be determined at the end of negotiations - and not a day earlier," he said.
Netanyahu also urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas yet again to resume negotiations suspended since last December, saying the Palestinians "need this peace no less than we do." (Ha'aretz)
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, condemned the organization's tradition of marking November 29, the date on which the UN approved its partition plan in 1947, as an occasion of "solidarity with the Palestinian people." Shalev told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that the hostility towards Israel fostered by the UN event was harmful to peace negotiations in the region.
"Do those in our region have the courage to say publicly that Israel is the legitimate nation-state of the Jewish people? Do the members of this body have the courage to confront Hamas and Hizbullah and all those for whom there is no two-state solution?" she asked. (Ynet News)
See also Statement by Israeli Ambassador to the UN General Assembly (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Israel on Tuesday slammed a Swedish proposal to recognize eastern Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. "The move being led by Stockholm damages the European Union's ability to take part and be a significant element in the mediation efforts between Israel and the Palestinians," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy. "The Europeans must pressure the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. Such moves like the one being led by Sweden lead to the opposite outcome." (Ynet News)
See also Knesset Speaker: Jerusalem Will Never Be Divided Despite EU Plan - Gil Hoffman
Knesset members from across the political spectrum condemned a plan by the EU that was reported on Tuesday to unilaterally declare Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. "Jerusalem must never be divided, because it would only enhance the conflict and not solve it," said Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, whose family has lived in the capital for a century. "Splitting sovereignty would bring about complete chaos," he said, adding that Israel had proven that adherents of Judaism, Islam and Christianity could live together in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Jerusalem: The Dangers of Division - Nadav Shragai (ICA-Jerusalem Center)
Sixteen Israeli NGOs received a total of NIS 31.5 million in European funding between the years 2006 and 2009, according to a new report published by NGO Monitor and the Institute for Zionist Strategies, discussed at a conference on the impact and transparency of European governments held at the Knesset on Tuesday. "For over a decade, European governments have been manipulating Israeli politics and promoting demonization by funding a narrow group of favored non-governmental organizations," said NGO Monitor's president Prof. Gerald Steinberg. NGO Monitor is calling for full transparency when foreign government money is used by NGOs. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Trojan Horse: The Impact of European Government Funding for Israeli NGOs (NGO Monitor)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel has justified fears of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. Israel's citizens are traumatized by years of rocket attacks from Gaza, which only intensified once Israel withdrew from there. The international community has shown somewhat limited understanding for Israel's concerns, because these attacks have not cost many lives.
What would Israel's situation be after withdrawing from the West Bank to the 1967 borders? All major population centers of Israel would be in range of Katyushas. These rockets were sufficiently destructive to bring life in northern Israel to a complete standstill when Hizbullah fired large numbers of them into Israel during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. If Israel is attacked from the West Bank, the impact will be devastating, and Israel will have no choice but to react forcefully - and as a result will, once again, be the target of international condemnation.
Hence if Israel continues the occupation of large parts of the West Bank, it is under constant international criticism but at least it is relatively safe. If Israel withdraws from the West Bank, it will open itself to attacks from there. Israelis will not be convinced that they can take risks for peace if they are not sure that the final agreement prevents any further demands that endanger Israel. The writer teaches at the psychology department of Tel Aviv University and serves as a member of the Permanent Monitoring Panel on Terrorism of the World Federation of Scientists. (Guardian-UK)
Precisely why Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, is so obsessed with developing nuclear power has never been adequately explained. Many of the facilities the Iranians have built so far, such as the massive underground enrichment facility at Natanz, are not suitable for the nuclear power plant that is currently being built by Russian technicians at Bushehr. If the enriched uranium being produced at Natanz is unsuitable for the country's domestic nuclear program, what else might it be used for? It is this and other glaring discrepancies about Iran's nuclear program that have led the West to conclude that Iran's nuclear intentions are far from peaceful, and that the regime is secretly working to construct an atom bomb.
The team of IAEA inspectors that was allowed to visit the Qom facility concluded that the facility has no obvious civilian or commercial use, prompting the suspicion that it has been built as part of a clandestine military program. If Iran acquires a nuclear weapons capability, many of the major Arab states will try to follow suit. Saudi Arabia is believed to have reached an understanding with Pakistan to acquire its nuclear know-how. (Telegraph-UK)
Israel: Don't Call Jerusalem the Palestinian Capital - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
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