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 8, 2009
IDF Intelligence: Iran Has the Technical Capability to Build a Nuclear Bomb (Jerusalem Post)
U.S. Man Accused of Helping Plot 2008 Mumbai Attack - Ginger Thompson and David Johnston (New York Times)
Egypt's Official Media Assail Ex-IAEA Chief ElBaradei - Heba Saleh (Financial Times-UK)
Russia Seeks More Israeli-Made Drones - Dan Williams (Reuters)
Thailand's Muslim Separatists Wage a Much-Ignored War - Duncan McCargo (Daily Star-Beirut)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Hamas second-in-command Musa Abu Marzouq said in an interview: "All paragraphs in the Goldstone report convict Israel and totally exonerate Hamas from any misconduct. For instance, the report exonerates Hamas from the accusation of using civilians as human shields and attributes this accusation to Israeli forces. Likewise, the report exonerated Hamas from all other accusations mentioned by Israel, and even when the report is dealing with the rockets which were launched from Gaza, it speaks about military groups without naming Hamas." Translated by Jonathan D. Halevi (Al-Mashahid Al-Siyasi-UK, Arabic, 5Dec09)
Thousands of people rallied against the Iranian government on Monday at universities across the country, defying a wide-ranging effort to suppress the protests. Protesters hurled rocks and set fires amid clouds of tear gas, while a vast deployment of police officers and plainclothes Basij militia members used chains, truncheons and stun guns to beat back chanting protesters. Some protesters burned posters of President Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Khamenei. There were reports of dozens of arrests and injuries. (New York Times)
Iranian President Ahmadinejad claims the U.S. is attempting to thwart the return of mankind's savior, according to Dubai-based Al Arabiya television. Ahmadinejad claims he has documented evidence that the U.S. is blocking the return of the Mahdi, the imam believed by Muslims to be the savior. "They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam," he said. He also claimed there have been plots by both the West as well as countries in the East to wipe out his country. "They have planned to annihilate Iran," he said. (FOX News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that he had heard from French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Syria was willing to relinquish preconditions for peace negotiations. Syrian President Bashar Assad had previously stated that Israel would have to be willing to withdraw from the Golan Heights in order to launch negotiations. (Ynet News)
See also Syria: Continued Golan "Occupation" Makes Resistance Necessary
Israel will not be able to achieve peace with Syria without relinquishing the Golan Heights, making resistance necessary as long as the "occupation" continues, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad said Monday, according to Israel Radio. Mikdad also stated that if talks with Israel were to fail, Damascus would resort to other means to recapture the territory. (Jerusalem Post)
According to a new national priorities list prepared by the Prime Minister's Office, the new geographic areas of national priority will include about two million Israeli citizens, 40% of whom belong to minority groups, mostly Israeli Arabs. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
On Nov. 25, Israel's government announced a 10-month construction freeze in the West Bank. "We hope that this decision will help launch meaningful peace negotiations," declared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "and finally end the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel." The Obama administration praised the decision and recognized its significance. By contrast, Palestinian leaders rejected Israel's gesture as grossly insufficient.
Twice - in 1948 and 1967 - the West Bank served as the staging ground for large-scale attacks against Israel. While defending itself, Israel captured the territory and reunited with its ancestral homeland: Haifa is not in the Bible, but Bethlehem, Hebron, and Jericho decidedly are. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis rushed to resettle their tribal land and widen Israel's borders, which at points were a mere eight miles wide. American policy-makers recognized Israel's need for defensible borders and, in November 1967, they supported UN Resolution 242, which did not call for withdrawals from "all the territories."
Mr. Netanyahu has taken the initiative and demonstrated his commitment to peace. Now the Palestinians must match that dedication and seize this propitious moment. The writer is Israel's ambassador to the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)
What is an Islamist foreign policy, exactly? Is it identifying with Muslims and their suffering, or is it identifying with anti-Western regimes even at the cost of Muslims' best interests? Turkey's foreign policy under Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan demonstrates that far from protecting Muslims and their interests, it is promoting a la carte morals - bashing the West and supporting anti-Western regimes, even when the latter hurt Muslims.
Since coming to power in 2002, Erdogan's AKP has dramatically changed Turkey's foreign policy. The party has let Ankara's ties with pro-Western Azerbaijan, Georgia and Israel deteriorate and has started to ignore Europe. Meanwhile, the AKP has built ties with anti-Western states such as Sudan while making friends with Ankara's erstwhile adversaries, including Russia, Iran and Syria, and positioning itself as Hamas' patron.
This is an ideological view of the world, guided not by religion but by a distorted premise that Islamist and anti-Western regimes are always right even when they are criminal, such as when they are killing Muslims. And in this view, Western states and non-Muslims are always wrong, even when they act in self-defense against Islamist regimes. The writer is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Los Angeles Times)
See also U.S. Concerned over Turkey's Moves toward Iran - Damien McElroy (Telegraph-UK)
See also Obama Seeks Turkey's Support on Iran Nuclear Issue - Ben Hancock (Christian Science Monitor)
The vast majority of Switzerland's 400,000 Muslims are from Turkey and Kosovo, and there is very little evidence that separatist, politically extreme Islam is growing rapidly there. The Swiss, however, read newspapers and watch television. And in recent years separatist and politically extreme forms of Islam have emerged in every European country with a large Muslim population: Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Sweden.
Fear of Islamist extremism shapes all European politics far more than anyone ever acknowledges. As grotesquely unfair as a referendum to ban minarets may have been to hundreds of thousands of ordinary, well-integrated Muslims, I have no doubt that the Swiss voted in favor primarily because they don't have much Islamic extremism - and they don't want any. (Washington Post)
See also Swiss Ban on Minarets Was a Vote for Tolerance and Inclusion - Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The recent Swiss referendum that bans construction of minarets is a rejection of political Islam, not a rejection of Muslims. In this sense it was a vote for tolerance and inclusion, which political Islam rejects. The writer is a Somali-born former Dutch parliamentarian. (Christian Science Monitor)
Israel-Bashers Hold a Double Standard on Rights Abuses - Ronald S. Lauder (Irish Times)
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