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 27, 2010
Israel Flying Aid Remains in Haiti Caring for Children, Requests Urgent Donations (PRWeb)
Iran Leader Predicts Destruction of Israel (AFP)
Arkansas Recruiting Center Shooter Claims Ties to Al-Qaeda in Yemen (CNN)
The Middle East Has Always Been Hard - Michael J. Totten (Commentary)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional al-Qaeda affiliate, according to senior administration officials. The operations, approved by President Obama and begun six weeks ago, involve several dozen troops from the U.S. military's clandestine Joint Special Operations Command, whose main mission is tracking and killing suspected terrorists. The American advisers do not take part in raids, but help plan missions, develop tactics, and provide weapons and munitions. Highly sensitive intelligence is being shared with the Yemeni forces, including electronic and video surveillance.
The collaboration with Yemen provides the starkest illustration to date of the Obama administration's efforts to ramp up counterterrorism operations. Obama has ordered a dramatic increase in the pace of CIA drone-launched missile strikes into Pakistan in an effort to kill al-Qaeda and Taliban members along the Afghan border. There have been more such strikes in the first year of Obama's administration than in the last three years under President Bush. Obama also sent U.S. military forces briefly into Somalia as part of an operation to kill Saleh Ali Nabhan, a Kenyan sought in the 2002 bombing of an Israeli-owned resort in Kenya. (Washington Post)
See also Clinton Arrives in London for Yemen, Afghan Talks (AFP)
See also When Yemen Meets Gaza - Matthew Levitt
According to intelligence officials, up to a few dozen foreign fighters have entered Gaza from Yemen and other Middle Eastern and European countries. Some are experienced fighters there to provide training, while others seek to be trained and experience jihad. The writer is a senior fellow and director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (ForeignPolicy.com)
Spearheaded by U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), 54 congressmen sent a letter last week urging President Obama to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. "We recognize that the Israeli government has imposed restrictions on Gaza out of a legitimate and keenly felt fear of continued terrorist action by Hamas and other militant groups. This concern must be addressed without resulting in the de facto collective punishment of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip," they wrote. "We ask you to press for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza as an urgent component of your broader Middle East peace efforts." (Minnesota Independent)
See also Israel Responds to Congressional Letter on Gaza - Natasha Mozgovaya
The Israeli Embassy in Washington responded to the letter: "The Hamas government in Gaza does not meet the conditions set forth by the international community and the Quartet. As long as Hamas continues to attack Israel with missiles and other means, Israel will not open the border crossings. With this, Israel is doing everything possible to ensure that humanitarian aid enters Gaza in a controlled manner so that it is ensured that the population receives what it needs, including medical care in Israel. But Israel will not allow a neighbor that calls for its destruction to enjoy the benefits of an open border." (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid a wreath on Tuesday at a memorial to Holocaust victims at the Umschlagplatz in Warsaw, the spot where German Nazis in 1942 loaded 320,000 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto into cattle cars and sent them to the Treblinka death camp. President Shimon Peres is in Germany where he will address parliament to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday. (Ha'aretz)
See also Israeli Delegation in Poland Confronted with Posters of Barak, Livni "Wanted for War Crimes" - Tzvika Brot
Israeli Knesset members visiting Poland for ceremonies marking International Holocaust Day were surprised to see posters in Krakow on Tuesday offering 10,000 euro for information on the expected arrival in Europe of Defense Minister Ehud Barak or Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who were "wanted for war crimes." (Ynet News)
U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Cal.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Tuesday: "It is time for Palestinian Authority President Abbas to come to the negotiating table....The United States cannot negotiate on the Palestinians' behalf by proxy, as some have reported President Abbas would like. It would be unfortunate indeed if the Palestinians chose to stay on the sidelines rather than negotiate for the statehood they have long craved." "We may have done [Abbas] a disservice by not making clear at the outset of the administration that negotiations should not be linked to a settlement freeze," he added. (Ha'aretz)
The Palestinians engaged in talks with all Israeli governments since the Oslo Accords. Arafat conducted intensive negotiations with Netanyahu during his first term in office. However, since Netanyahu was sworn in as Israel's prime minister for the second time last April, the Palestinian leadership is coming up with constant excuses to avoid significant dialogue with Israel. Those who carefully read the full Obama interview with TIME realize that he has lost patience with the Palestinians' elusive conduct. Officials around Obama have spoken harshly: They charged that the Palestinians humiliated the president and screwed up his policy.
The Palestinians do not wish to negotiate with Netanyahu because they perceive him as a practical politician seeking practical solutions. Palestinian leaders did not mind talks with former Prime Minister Olmert because they knew he had no mandate to finalize any deal, and certainly not a "final-status agreement" which the talks focused on. In fact, they liked the futile talks and arguments. Yet when the possibility of a practical agreement first came up and they had to respond to it, they left the talks and did not return.
A very senior Palestinian figure says in closed-door sessions: "The current situation serves us well. Palestine is growing, the security situation is decent, Hamas is under siege in Gaza, and global public opinion endorses us and opposes the occupation. There is no rush for us....We have no incentive for entering talks with an Israeli prime minister who wants to get down to business." (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
President Obama has a once-in-a-generation opportunity over the next few months to help make the world a dramatically safer place by helping the Iranian people achieve a new form of government. Given the role that the Islamic theocracy in Tehran has played in leading and sponsoring anti-democratic, anti-liberal and anti-Western fanaticism for the past three decades, the toppling or even substantial reform of that regime would be second only to the collapse of the Soviet Union in its ideological and geopolitical ramifications. Those who have long advocated a "grand bargain" were right to talk about the immense global benefits if Iran could be integrated into the international order. Their big mistake was thinking such a bargain could be had with virulently anti-Western leaders.
Regime change is more important than any deal the Obama administration might strike with Iran's present government on its nuclear program. Regime change in Tehran is the best nonproliferation policy. With tougher sanctions, public support from Obama and other Western leaders, and programs to provide information and better communications to reformers, the possibility for change in Iran may never be better. The writer is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (Washington Post)
On Wednesday, Justice Richard Goldstone will give the George Herbert Walker, Jr. Lecture in International Studies at Yale University. Justice Goldstone accepted a mandate from the UN Human Rights Council, a body used by some of the world's worst human rights abusers to deflect attention from their own authoritarianism and brutality, to investigate Israel, and only Israel, over its attack last year on the internationally-recognized terrorist group Hamas.
The report he produced is a perversion of human rights and international law. It treats Hamas' allegations with meticulous credulity, but Israeli claims with flippant skepticism. It is riddled with factual errors and twisted accounts of the war. The members of Goldstone's staff have long histories of anti-Israel political activism. The report makes frequent and unsupported editorial declarations against Israel and included testimony from residents of Gaza who feared retaliation from Hamas. Justice Goldstone himself has admitted that nothing in the report would be admissible as credible evidence in a court of law.
It is astonishing that Yale would attempt to legitimize Goldstone by awarding him the Walker Lecture - and thereby take sides in a bitter controversy. We believe that Justice Goldstone should come to Yale. But if he is to make an officially sanctioned appearance on campus, it should be in a debate in which his alleged judicial impartiality can be challenged - not a coronation that seeks to sanitize his work and shield him from much-deserved criticism. (Yale Daily News)
We Are Still in the Shadow of the Holocaust - Michael Gove (Telegraph-UK)
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