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 11, 2010
Abdulmutallab: 20 Other Muslim Men Being Prepared in Yemen to Blow Up Jets - Armen Keteyian (CBS News)
U.S. Violated Promise to Preserve IDF's Qualitative Edge - Barak Ravid and Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
Israel: Western Aid to Lebanese Army Could End Up with Hizbullah - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
Israel to Build Partial Fence along Egypt Border - Roni Sofer (Ynet News)
British MP Galloway's Convoy Stoned by Irate Egyptians (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
In addition to diplomacy and sanctions, the U.S. has developed contingency plans in dealing with Iran's nuclear facilities, Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, said Sunday, adding that the military has considered the impacts of any action taken there. Petraeus said Iran has strengthened its nuclear facilities and has enhanced underground tunnels. Still, the facilities are not bomb-proof. "They certainly can be bombed," he said. "The level of effect would vary with who it is that carries it out, what ordnance they have, and what capability they can bring to bear." (CNN)
The Obama administration is increasingly questioning the long-term stability of Tehran's government and moving to find ways to support Iran's opposition "Green Movement," said senior U.S. officials. The White House is crafting new financial sanctions specifically designed to punish the Iranian entities and individuals most directly involved in the crackdown on Iran's dissident forces, said the U.S. officials, rather than just those involved in Iran's nuclear program. In recent weeks, senior Green Movement figures - who have been speaking at major Washington think tanks - have made up a list of Revolutionary Guard-related companies they suggest targeting.
A number of Iran scholars in the U.S. said they have been contacted by senior administration officials eager to understand if the Iranian unrest suggested a greater threat to Tehran's government than originally understood. "The tone has changed in the conversation," said one scholar. "There's realization now that this unrest really matters." "The Green Movement has demonstrated more staying power than perhaps some have anticipated," said a senior U.S. official. "The regime is internally losing its legitimacy." (Wall Street Journal)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Friday met the foreign ministers of Jordan and Egypt and urged a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations as soon as possible and without preconditions. Her meetings signaled the start of a new U.S. push on the Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking front. According to news reports, the U.S. hopes to secure an agreement before the end of this year on the borders of an envisaged Palestinian state - which if achieved would effectively end the long-running conflict over what constitutes Israeli settlement on Arab land.
"The United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments, and meet Israeli security requirements," said Clinton. (VOA News)
See also PA Dampens U.S. Peace Push (BBC News)
See also Hamas Snubs U.S., Arab Efforts to Restart Mideast Peace (Xinhua-China)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Netanyahu told a delegation of visiting U.S. senators on Sunday that while Palestinian security forces in the West Bank were active against Hamas and Islamic Jihad, they "have trouble going against their own renegades." He was referring to the recent murder in the West Bank of Rabbi Meir Hai by members of Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigade. "They are showing timidity about addressing their own renegades," he said.
Netanyahu expressed frustration with continued Palestinian rejection of negotiations, and said the PA was trying to "internationalize the conflict" in the hope that the EU and UN would pressure Israel. He also said "the ultimate core issue is the acceptance of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It is not about settlements; it is about the existence of a Jewish state." (Jerusalem Post)
Security experts believe dissent against Hamas is growing in Gaza, prompting Hamas to relax its resolve to prevent rocket fire into Israel, Army Radio reported Monday. Over the last week, in a dramatic escalation, Gaza militants fired over 20 rockets and mortar shells into Israel, to which Israel retaliated with air strikes. On Sunday, an airstrike killed three Palestinian militants. (Ha'aretz)
See also Senior Islamic Jihad Commander Targeted
The terrorists targeted Sunday were four Islamic Jihad operatives in the central region of Gaza. Awad Abu Nasir, one of those killed, was a senior field commander, known to be behind dozens of IED and gunfire attacks. (Israel Defense Forces)
The IDF has drawn up plans for the possibility that in a future conflict with Hamas it will be ordered by the government to take over the Philadelphi Corridor in southern Gaza, which is lined with hundreds of weapons smuggling tunnels, defense officials said on Sunday. Such an operation would be designed to prevent Hamas from rearming following the conflict. The IDF believes that since the Gaza operation ended in mid-January 2009, Hamas has significantly boosted its military capabilities and has obtained long-range rockets, mostly from Iran. In addition, Hamas is believed to have obtained advanced, mostly Russian-made anti-tank missiles and shoulder-to-air missiles.
On Sunday, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yom-Tov Samia, the former head of the IDF Southern Command, told Army Radio, "We are facing another round in Gaza....I am very skeptical about the chance that Hamas will suddenly surrender or change its way without first suffering a far more serious blow than it did during the Gaza operation." The blow, he said, would be "more focused with long-range results including the conquering of territory that Hamas will understand it lost as a result of its provocations. We need to create a situation which reduces its oxygen supply." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
I am often asked why we can't have an aviation security system more like Israel's. We can and we should. But the key ingredient of Israeli security is not that their technology or staffers are better. It's not profiling or having just one international airport. It is willpower. Israelis as a nation have coalesced around the fact that they are in a deadly generational conflict that extends to their everyday activities, such as traveling. Attacks and casualties are unavoidable, yet unflinching determination and take-the-offensive mentalities are hallmarks of Israel's reaction. Because of this fundamental national consensus, when there are security breaches Israel does not wander down self-destructive paths, more focused on sound bites than results. The writer was head of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration from 2005 to 2009. (Washington Post)
While speculation about a "third intifada" is gaining traction in Israeli newspapers and Palestinian cafes, chances of another West Bank uprising this year appear slim. Palestinians and Israelis point to a weak, fractured Palestinian leadership that has disavowed violence, tight Israeli control in the greater part of the territories, and a budding West Bank economy that has led many Palestinians to conclude that the price of another intifada would be too high.
"The situation is not ripe," said Abdul Sattar Kassem, a Palestinian political science professor at An Najah University in Nablus. "There isn't the morale, motivation or the leadership for another intifada. People aren't sure what it would achieve. They think they have more to lose." "We don't feel the occupation as much," he added, and noted that the Palestinian Authority, largely funded by the U.S. and other countries, now employs 180,000 people who "are not ready to sacrifice their jobs for another intifada." Mahmoud Subuh, head of the Yafa Cultural Center in Nablus, noted that many young Palestinians are going abroad for school or jobs. (Los Angeles Times)
Mitchell: Settlements Will Help Determine Final Borders - Charlie Rose (PBS)
In an interview on Jan. 6 prior to his return to the region, U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell said:
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