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|
February 3, 2010
Two More Huge Israeli Gas Fields Found (Globes)
North Korea Resumes Military Aid to Syria - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
Nine More Dissidents Facing Execution in Iran - Martin Fletcher (Times-UK)
Christmas Day Bomb Suspect Abdulmutallab Providing Intelligence - Carrie Johnson (Washington Post)
Study: Financial Times Disproportionately Blames Israel - Jonny Paul (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
In written testimony to Congress Tuesday, U.S. director of national intelligence Dennis Blair said Iranian advancements in enriching uranium and other areas backed up judgments in a 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that Iran is "technically capable" of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon in the next few years. "We continue to assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that bring it closer to being able to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so."
Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East and it continues to expand the scale, reach and sophistication of its ballistic missile forces, "many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload," Blair said. (Reuters-Washington Post)
See also Iran Launches Rocket into Space - Chip Cummins (Wall Street Journal)
Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, told lawmakers on Tuesday that al-Qaeda and its affiliates had made it a high priority to attempt a large-scale attack on American soil within the next six months. (New York Times)
See also Intelligence Officials Warn Attempted Al-Qaeda Attack Months Away
Al-Qaeda is deploying operatives to the U.S. to carry out new attacks from inside the country, CIA Director Leon Panetta told Congress. (FOX News)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state television Tuesday that Iran has "no problem" sending low-enriched uranium abroad and getting it back several months later, when it is enriched to 20% capacity. He offered no timetable. In response, the White House urged Iran to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency. (VOA News)
Well-informed official French sources have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has called for French and European officials to pressure Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table with the Israelis. The source quoted Mitchell as saying "the time has come to stop finding excuses" and that the Palestinians "are content" with the current situation. Mitchell rejected French calls for an international conference and for U.S. guarantees to both Israel and the Palestinians. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Visiting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told a special session at the Knesset on Wednesday that the Goldstone report tried to "incriminate Israel for its legitimate response" to Palestinian terrorists' rocket attacks. The Italian leader also argued that the world "cannot accept" a nuclear-armed Iran. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Italian Prime Minister Says Israel Should Be an EU Member (Telegraph-UK)
See also Israel Wants Italy's Aid in Blacklisting Iran's Guards (AFP)
The IDF Spokesperson confirmed that Israeli aircraft attacked two tunnels in southern Gaza on Tuesday. One of the tunnels was meant to be used to carry out a terror attack within Israel, while the other was used to smuggle weapons from Egypt. The attacks were carried out in retaliation for the attempt to detonate explosive barrels on Israel's southern beaches and in response to rocket fire at Israel from Gaza. (Ynet News)
See also Deputy IDF Chief: Terror Groups Determined to Carry Out Attacks - Hanan Greenberg
The explosive devices found off Israel's southern shores on Monday point to the determination of terror organizations to carry out attacks and their search for new routes, IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz said Tuesday. Gantz noted that last year's IDF operation in Gaza was carried out well and "led to a relative calm on the southern border, which joined a very significant state of calm on the northern border." He added that Hamas continues to grow stronger by smuggling weapons through sea and land, and that Hizbullah continues to accumulate weapons from Syria and Iran. (Ynet News)
See also IDF: Explosive Barrels Endangered Gaza Fishermen - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told the Herzliya Conference on Tuesday that "the state being built here is Palestinian, and who should build it rather than us? A peace process is needed, because this will lead to the end of the occupation. We want to be ready for a state which is about to be established, and we are ready to establish it by 2011. We are encouraged because we have made progress in creating an infrastructure in the past two years."
"We are currently in a situation of political deadlock. There is not practical dialogue. There have not been negotiations for the past 16 years and we have lost a lot of time. Instead of returning to the Oslo Accords, we must be led by a way which will make us understand that the occupation is about to withdraw. We need a political horizon which will result in a Palestinian state. We, the Palestinians, want to live next to you, in peace, security and welfare." Sources in Fayyad's entourage said he had received death threats following his decision to attend the conference. (Ynet News)
See also Fayyad Is Not Representative - Howard Schneider
"The good news: For the first time ever, the Palestinians have someone willing to think constructively and build their society. Bad news: He is not representative," said Dan Schueftan, director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa. (Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
George Mitchell recently concluded yet another unsuccessful bid to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. President Barack Obama acknowledged that he had underestimated the difficulties and had failed to move the parties forward. If Obama and Mitchell think that simply applying "more of the same" blandishments and minor pressures in the coming year will break the logjam, they are still underestimating the difficulties.
Salam Fayyad's current state-building effort finds expression in radically improved West Bank security, economic and institutional capabilities. This is the first time since the Oslo process began that Palestinians are succeeding at state-building. Their "bottom-up" efforts even correspond with Prime Minister Netanyahu's "economic peace" policy.
Mitchell might consider refocusing his efforts toward developing an integrated policy for stabilizing and pacifying Gaza, shepherding West Bank state-building toward an agreed new interim status even without direct talks, while facilitating an Israeli-Syrian process that advances moderation in Palestine as well. The writer is former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. (New York Times)
Hamas' line of defense vis-a-vis the Goldstone report has been shaped by a group of Palestinian jurists headed by Diya al-Din Muhsin al-Madhoun, former legal adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and today chairman of the Tawtheeq (documentation) organization on which the Goldstone committee relied for information. In a series of interviews to the media, Madhoun elaborated Hamas' main legal arguments.
Madhoun asserts that all of historic Palestine is occupied land and that international law legitimizes the right of self-defense of the Palestinian people. Therefore, Madhoun argues that "resistance operations conducted by the Palestinian resistance organizations, including launching rockets and mortar shells at the occupying Zionist forces, and all other military operations, are legitimate according to international law under the principle of defending our people and liberating our occupied land." Madhoun argues that Israel's claim for self-defense constitutes a grave violation of the Palestinian people's right to self-defense as reflected in its armed struggle to liberate the land of Palestine.
A declared terrorist organization, which adheres to Islamic law (sharia) as the only source of legitimacy and promotes an ideology of genocide, is receiving legal support from human rights organizations and internationally respected jurists in its lawfare waged against a democratic state. Even more peculiar is Judge Goldstone's decision to rely without reservations on Tawtheeq in preparing its report, while its experts publicly make a travesty of international law and argue that Israel violated the Palestinians' right to kill Israelis in the armed struggle to destroy Israel. Lt. Col. (ret.) Halevi served as a senior adviser for political planning in Israel's Foreign Ministry. (ShalomLife-Canada)
Finally, Some Palestinian Responsibility - Einat Wilf (Jerusalem Post)
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