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 7, 2009
U.S. Sees Homegrown Muslim Extremism as Rising Threat - Sebastian Rotella (Los Angeles Times)
U.S. Seeks More Israeli Concessions - Amnon Lord (Makor Rishon-Hebrew, 4Dec09)
Hizbullah Scouting Lebanese-Israeli Border (Jerusalem Post)
Report: Attack Against UNIFIL Thwarted - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
Palestinian Arrested with Six Bombs near Bethlehem (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
"Americans are at the head of the list of enemies and the British are the most awful of them," Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday. "Americans, Zionists and other oppressive powers tried to isolate Iran for the past 30 years, but they failed and with God's help they will also fail in the future," he added. (AFP)
See also U.S. National Security Adviser: "Clock Is Ticking" on Iran
U.S. national security adviser Jim Jones says Washington is still open to nuclear negotiations with Iran, but the picture is not a "good one." Jones said Sunday the "clock is ticking" toward the end of the year, when President Obama plans to review U.S. diplomatic efforts with Iran. (VOA News)
See also below Observations: The Iran Confrontation Simulation at Harvard - David Ignatius (Washington Post) and Gary Sick (Politico)
Witnesses say thousands of riot police and Revolutionary Guard members armed with tear gas, batons and firearms were deployed Monday outside Tehran University to prevent student demonstrations backed by the opposition. Government opponents shouted "Allahu Akbar" and "Death to the Dictator" from Tehran's rooftops in the pouring rain on the eve of student demonstrations planned for Monday. Authorities choked off Internet access and warned journalists working for foreign media to stick to their offices for the next three days.
Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi threw his support behind the student demonstrations, saying, "A great nation would not stay silent when some confiscate its vote." Mousavi claims President Ahmadinejad stole the June 12 election victory from him by fraud. (AP/Washington Post)
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, said on Sunday that construction will resume in Jewish settlements in the West Bank when a ten-month building limit is over even if stalled peace talks with the Palestinians are renewed. "This suspension is for its stated timeframe and not beyond it. This is a one-time and temporary decision, not a freeze of unlimited and infinite duration," Netanyahu said. (Financial Times-UK)
See also Prime Minister Netanyahu's Remarks to the Cabinet (Israel Prime Minister's Office)
31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), sent a letter Dec. 3 to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on the Obama administration to work toward disarming Hizbullah and clearing southern Lebanon of Iranian-sent weapons. The group asked Clinton to ensure greater accountability from the UN in enforcing Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Lebanon War and calls for the disarmament of Hizbullah. The letter notes that the Obama administration has requested more than $200 million for UNIFIL and $100 million in military assistance for the government of Lebanon. "For that much money," it said, "American taxpayers deserve to see results." (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has phoned several European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, asking them to oppose Sweden's initiative to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and Palestine. The proposal is to be discussed Sunday in Brussels at the meeting of foreign ministers of EU member states. Meanwhile, in an attempt to counter Israeli pressure, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad convened a group of European diplomats to ask them to support the Swedish proposal. (Ha'aretz)
See also Israel Opposes Swedish Initiative on Jerusalem - Roni Sofer
A senior political source on Monday defined Sweden's attempt to declare Jerusalem the capital of Palestine as an "underhanded move by Stockholm, a mere moment before its term as head of the EU is over. We are making efforts to thwart this move at the highest diplomatic levels." Senior political sources said the majority of the 27 European representatives were against such a move. According to the sources, those opposing the decision have accepted Israel's position that this is not the time to make any statements which may discourage the Palestinians from resuming peace talks. (Ynet News)
See also Jerusalem Mayor: City Must Stay United
"Throughout the history of the world, there is not one important city that was divided that functioned successfully...the lesson is too clear. Jerusalem must stay united," wrote Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in a letter to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, sent on Sunday. "Division focuses on differences rather than the common denominator that unites people of all faiths. We must not divide the heart and soul of the Jewish people." He added that freedom of religion was "greater today under the flag of Israel than it has been for 2,000 years." Barkat invited Ashton to Jerusalem so that she "may see first hand...the necessity of a united Jerusalem." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Text of Mayor Barkat's Letter (IMRA)
There was a 5.6% increase in the Palestinian national product during the first quarter of 2009 compared with the corresponding quarter last year, and a 5.4% increase in the second quarter of 2009, compared with the corresponding quarter in 2008. Israel continues to collect and transfer tax monies to the PA on a regular basis. Each month Israel transfers NIS 50 million to Gaza for the salaries of PA employees, and up to $13.5 million for the salaries of UNRWA workers (most of whom are Palestinians).
The number of Palestinians employed in Israel increased by 8.4% compared with 2008 and reached 47,161 in September 2009 (working in Israel or in West Bank settlements). About 14% of the Palestinian workforce is employed in Israel or in Israeli businesses in the West Bank. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Six days after his inauguration, President Barack Obama declared that "if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us." Unfortunately, the Iranian regime has responded by continuing its aggressive and illegal behavior. The Obama administration should increase U.S. negotiating leverage over Iran by imposing crippling sanctions on Iran, beginning January 1, until Iran verifiably complies with its international obligations.
Iranian officials have crowed about their success in using the 2002-2006 nuclear negotiations with the Europeans to buy time for Iran to advance its nuclear program. In order to deter the Iranian regime from similarly dragging out the current round of negotiations while advancing its nuclear program, it must be made clear that Iran will incur a significant cost for failure to suspend its enrichment-related activities, as required by UN Security Council resolutions.
Sanctions pressure is the best remaining hope for peacefully preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and for deterring other countries that might be contemplating following Iran's bad example. The writer, Professor of Law at Arizona State University, is a Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. (Arms Control Association)
Egypt's Grand Mufti, Ali Goma'a, should know better than attack a vote to ban minarets when in his own country, the construction of churches has been curtailed by the government for many years. As the saying goes, "those in glass houses..." One could argue that if Egypt held a referendum on the construction of church steeples in the country, a vast majority of Egyptians would approve a ban.
The Arab world has long avoided looking inward at its own problems, blaming Europe, the U.S. and Israel instead. The governments, especially the one in Cairo, love this. People don't see the facts on the ground as they are too preoccupied by the wrongs and injustices dealt abroad. Calls for a boycott of Swiss banks - which haven't picked up much steam - show how lost the Arab world is at times. They can lash out at a decision made in a foreign country, but they have yet to stand up for the rights of their own people in their own country. (Guardian-UK)
Who Loses the Iran Game? - David Ignatius (Washington Post)
Columbia University professor Gary Sick, a veteran National Security Council Iran hand, was the leader of the Iranian team in the Harvard simulation. His account:
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