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|
January 7, 2010
Israel Tests New Short-Range Missile Defense System - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
Holocaust Museum Shooter Dies in Prison - Del Quentin Wilber
France to Set Up Unit to Investigate Genocide, War Crimes - Edward Cody
World Famous Pianist Protests Against BBC Anti-Israel Bias - Stephen Pollard and Robyn Rosen (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
Egyptian Threatened over Interest in Israel - Daniel Edelson (Ynet News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
As long as the Iran conversation was broad and dealt only with "sanctions," the Congress, the White House and the pro-Israel community seemed to be on the same page. But now that Iran has rejected just about every bouquet sent its way and the talk has turned to the details, longstanding differences over how best to go forward are taking center stage. With the backing of many Jewish groups, Congress appears to be pressing ahead with a package that targets Iran's energy sector. The White House appears to favor more narrow measures targeting the Iranian leadership and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. (JTA)
A Palestinian sniper shot and killed an Egyptian border guard Wednesday at a demonstration called by Hamas to protest against Egypt's interference with an aid convoy and its construction of an underground barrier designed to block tunnels used to smuggle goods and weapons into Gaza. Several hundred Palestinian protesters in Rafah began throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Egyptian security forces across the border, who responded with gunfire, witnesses said. (Los Angeles Times)
George Mitchell, the U.S. Middle East envoy, said on Wednesday that Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations should take no longer than two years and could be finished sooner than that. He said an Israel-Syria track could operate in parallel with an Israeli-Palestinian track. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas signaled on Monday that he is considering a proposal to relaunch stalled Middle East peace talks at a U.S.-backed summit with Israeli and Egyptian leaders early in the new year. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said, "We want to resume the talks from the point where they ended in December 2008" (which means incorporating all concessions proposed by the previous Israeli government). "We have every right to talk about a Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 borders, including Jerusalem," Erekat explained. Erekat ruled out the possibility that a tripartite meeting between Abbas, Netanyahu and President Hosni Mubarak would be held in Cairo if Israel does not completely freeze construction in settlements. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinian militants in Gaza launched a barrage of at least ten mortar shells at Israel on Thursday. The head of the IDF Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, on Wednesday warned residents of southern Israel that the recent quiet along the Gaza border may only be temporary and that civilians in the region should "prepare themselves for another round of fighting." (Ha'aretz)
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Holl Lute met with Israel Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch in Jerusalem on Wednesday to discuss bilateral cooperation on confronting terrorism. The U.S. is keen to learn about Israel's counter-terrorism experience, as well as how various Israeli law enforcement agencies work together and share information. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Beatings, arrests, show trials and even killings have failed to discourage Iranians from taking to the streets in protest. But those same tactics may be taking a toll on the government itself, eating away at its legitimacy even among its core of insiders, Iran experts are saying.
The evidence? Leaks about private meetings of the intelligence services and Revolutionary Guards; an embarrassing memo from state-owned television on how to cover the protests; a note about how the security services have been using petty criminals to fill out the ranks of pro-government demonstrations. "Since June, there has been much anecdotal evidence that suggests deep divisions between the hard-line commanders of the Guards and between the Guards and members of the regular armed forces who are dissatisfied with the election and its aftermath," said Alireza Nader, an analyst with the RAND Corporation.
At the moment, at least, few if any experts are predicting that the government will fall. "There is enough commitment to the survival of the Islamic republic among an array of forces in the government and society to assure the continued use of repression and violence," said Farideh Farhi, an Iran expert at the University of Hawaii. "But it is precisely the ineffectiveness of the methods used in controlling the crowds, combined with the unsuccessful effort on the part of some very hard-line forces to cleanse the Iranian political system of all rivals, that may persuade some leaders to change their minds." (New York Times)
Egypt exercised considerable force to demonstrate its determination in deciding who enters Gaza, how and when, as it stood off against Palestinians rioting over the delay of an aid convoy. Egypt is making it clear that from now on Damascus and Iran no longer have exclusive control over Hamas' moves, and that Cairo has a powerful economic lever at its disposal. Cairo is fed up with Hamas' foot-dragging and Tehran's meddling. In this Egypt is assisted by Saudi Arabia, which gave Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal an ultimatum to decide whether he is running an Arab organization or is under the "patronage of a foreign power," i.e., Iran.
Reconciliation with Fatah is one of the two conditions Egypt is demanding for opening the border crossings. The second pertains to the success of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal. (Ha'aretz)
Even today, conventional wisdom, including in Israel, continues to assert that Israel's international standing depends on its willingness to advance the "peace process." That invites an obvious question: if so, why has Israel's reputation fallen so low despite its numerous concessions for peace since 1993? The Oslo process led Israel to sideline its own claim to the West Bank and Gaza, which all Israeli governments (and international Jewish leaders) had stressed to some extent before 1993. The argument in favor of Israel's right to sovereignty there was simple: these territories are the historic Jewish homeland, the heart of the biblical Jewish kingdom. They were explicitly allotted to the future Jewish state by the 1922 League of Nations Mandate, which was never legally superseded.
None of this precludes an Israeli cession of these areas; countries often waive territorial claims to secure peace agreements. But only if Israel has a valid claim can the act of ceding these lands be a "painful concession" that could arouse sympathy and admiration from the world. If Israel has no claim, it is nothing but a thief. And no one would admire a thief for returning some, but not all, of his stolen property, or for offering to return some, but still not all, of the rest if granted sufficient compensation. (Commentary)
How to Foil an Intelligent Enemy - David Lapin (Jerusalem Post)
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