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 19, 2010
Did Britain Know in Advance about Dubai Hit? (Daily Mail-UK)
UK Denies Advance Knowledge of Fake UK Passports (BBC News)
Hamas Vows to Avenge Mabhouh's Killing (AP/Qatar Tribune)
Hamas: 1967 Border Has No Legitimacy (Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades-Hamas)
Seven Jailed in UK for Gaza Protest Violence - Jessica Elgot (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
Report: Five Muslim Soldiers Arrested over Fort Jackson Poison Probe (Fox News)
UNRWA Soccer Tournament Named after Terrorist - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
Canadian Minister: An Attack on Israel Is an Attack on Canada - Elad Benari (Shalom Life-Canada)
Herodian-Era Aqueduct Unearthed near Jerusalem's Jaffa Gate - Nir Hasson (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
UN nuclear inspectors declared for the first time on Thursday that they had extensive evidence of "past or current undisclosed activities" by Iran's military to develop a nuclear warhead. The report by the new director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, also concluded that Iran's weapons-related activity apparently continued "beyond 2004," contradicting an American intelligence assessment that work on a bomb was suspended at the end of 2003. The report cited new evidence of a concerted drive in Iran toward a weapons capability. It also reiterated evidence that Iran had tested ways of detonating weapons and had worked extensively to design warheads small enough to fit atop a missile. (New York Times)
Uranium particles found at a Syrian desert complex bombed to ruin by Israel in 2007 point to possible covert nuclear activity, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday, lending public support to Western suspicions of a nascent nuclear reactor at the site that Washington said was North Korean in design and geared to making weapons-grade plutonium. "The presence of such particles points to the possibility of nuclear-related activities at the site," said the report by new IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano. "Syria has yet to provide a satisfactory explanation for the origin and presence of these particles." "Syria has not cooperated with the agency since June 2008 in connection with the unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and the other three locations allegedly functionally related to it," said the report. (Reuters)
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, delivered a fiery speech Wednesday, saying his nation "will never back down from its positions and it could by no means be intimidated by threats." He said Iran opposed not just U.S. ambitions in the region but the entire American-dominated global system.
"They utter lies against Iran over its nuclear programs, human rights record and democracy because the Iranian nation is steadfast and firm," he said. "The real belligerent is the U.S. The U.S. has turned the Persian Gulf into an arms depot, launched invasions against Iraq and Afghanistan and is now throwing its gauntlet at Pakistan." "It is natural for the Islamic Republic to face opposition by several arrogant governments, led by Zionist companies." (Los Angeles Times)
Iran heads a new blacklist issued by the Paris-based Financial Action Taskforce, an intergovernmental agency charged with assessing which countries are abiding by money-laundering protocols. The international financial system must tackle "ongoing and substantial money laundering and terrorist financing" emanating from Iran, the agency said in a statement Thursday. (Guardian-UK)
Norway has granted asylum to Oslo-based Iranian diplomat Mohammed Reza Heydari, who resigned in January to protest his government's violent response to opposition demonstrations in Tehran, Norwegian officials said Thursday. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are to be renewed next week using the "proximity" talks format, a senior government official in Jerusalem said on Thursday. The Israeli and Palestinian teams will sit in separate locations, and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell and his staff will convey messages between them. Mahmoud Abbas met in Ramallah on Thursday with David Hale, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, who gave Abbas American assurances regarding the renewal of talks with Israel, including a timetable for the move from indirect to direct talks and clarifications regarding the issue of the 1967 borders. A senior government source in Israel said that Israel wants the parties to move as soon as possible from proximity talks to direct talks on all core issues. (Ha'aretz)
Following a meeting in London between Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor and a senior British diplomat on Thursday, Israeli officials are cautiously optimistic that a diplomatic crisis with Britain can be avoided over the fake British passports apparently used in the assassination of Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. One Israeli diplomatic official said there was no diplomatic crisis with the UK "because there is nothing to connect this with Israel." Just because the media had determined that the Mossad was responsible did not make it so, he said. (Jerusalem Post)
International criticism over the assassination of senior Hamas man Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai is unwarranted, as other states use similar methods in their war on terrorists, a senior official in Jerusalem said Thursday. While refraining from confirming that Israel was involved, he said, "Israel is not the only country dealing with this phenomenon. All Western states threatened by terror use similar methods. Hence, the silent agreements and understandings among them, as well as the sharing of information, must continue." (Ynet News)
Brig. Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser told the Jerusalem Conference on Wednesday that "the main central military threat against Israel is the missile threat....Threats of missiles are becoming more severe at an extremely quick pace....During the Second Lebanon War, Hamas had 13,000 missiles. Today, the number of rockets and missiles spread around Israel is in the tens of thousands." (Israel Defense Forces)
An IDF soldier was injured Thursday when a bomb was detonated against a force patrolling the Israeli side of the security fence opposite Gaza. IDF soldiers later discovered a second bomb. The IDF sees Hamas as responsible for maintaining peace and quiet in Gaza. (Israel Defense Forces)
A Palestinian from a village near Jenin was detained on Thursday after attempting to enter Israel via the Jalameh crossing, near Afula, with two bombs. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Hamas Leader Killed in Dubai
Not all extrajudicial killings are unlawful. Every soldier who kills an enemy combatant engages in an extrajudicial killing, as does every policeman who shoots a fleeing felon. There are several complex legal questions involved in assessing these situations. First, was the person who was killed a combatant in relation to those who killed him? If Israel killed Mabhouh, there can be absolutely no doubt that he was a combatant. He was actively participating in an ongoing war by Hamas against Israeli civilians. Indeed, it is likely that he was killed while on a military mission to Iran in order to secure unlawful, anti-personnel rockets that target Israeli civilians. Both the U.S. and UK routinely killed such combatants during the Second World War, whether they were in uniform or not.
If the Israeli Air Force had killed Mabhouh while he was in Gaza, there would be absolutely no doubt that the action would be lawful. It does not violate international law to kill a combatant, regardless of where the combatant is found and whether or not he is engaged in active combat at the moment of his demise.
Richard Goldstone, in his interviews, has suggested that Israel should protect itself by more proportionate measures, such as commando raids and targeted killing of terrorists engaged in the firing of rockets. Well, there could be no better example of a proportionate attack on a combatant who was deeply involved in the rocket attacks on Israel. If Israel was responsible for the killing, it had only two options: to let him go on his way and continue to endanger Israeli civilian lives by transferring unlawful anti-personnel weapons from Iran to Gaza, or to kill him. There was no third alternative. (Hudson Institute New York)
Excuse me for not sending flowers to the funeral of the terrorist killed in Dubai. As military chief of terrorist group Hamas, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh had the blood of many Israeli soldiers and civilians on his hands. He was in charge of smuggling rockets and grenades into Gaza so his murderous gangs could lob them into Israel. To say he had it coming is an understatement. So why such a fuss about his execution? Whose side are we on, the terrorists or those with the courage to stand up to them? Make no mistake, I don't like the British passport being used to gain illegal entry to another country. But my top priority will always be security and the world is undoubtedly more secure now that Hamas has lost another murderer from its ranks. (Daily Express-UK)
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was a linchpin of Hamas' efforts to smuggle arms from Iran into Gaza. His death dealt a severe blow both to the organization's operations and its image - which explains why Hamas has been exhibiting panic for the last few weeks. The leaders of Hamas' military wing, which Mabhouh helped found, vowed revenge and will clearly do their best to carry out some attack on Israel soon to uphold their jihadi image.
When he was killed, Mabhouh was en route to Sudan - where, according to foreign reports, Israel once bombed an arms convoy headed for Gaza. Before Hamas can resume its smuggling, it must find out how some intelligence agency penetrated its smuggling network. Moreover, the killing has a deterrent effect - Hamas' boasts of its military prowess will now be taken with a grain of salt by the people in Gaza. (Ha'aretz)
There is a need for a new U.S. strategy that drops the engagement illusion and begins to treat Iran as the single biggest threat to Mideast and U.S. security. Sanctions can be part of that strategy, but they will need to be more comprehensive than anything to date. They must also be ramped up rapidly because they will need time to be felt by the regime. The U.S. should give up on the UN, which will only delay and dilute such pressure, and build a sanctions coalition of the willing.
The U.S. can also speak and act far more forcefully and clearly on behalf of Iran's domestic opposition. The regime's recent crackdown suggests that the chances of regime change in the near term are remote, but popular animosity against Iran's rulers still seethes underground. The U.S. should assist that opposition in any way it can, especially with technology to help communicate with each other and the world.
Finally, the option of a military strike will have to be put squarely on the table. Sanctions have little chance of working unless they are backed by a credible military threat. The risks of military action are obvious, but the danger to the world from a nuclear Iran is far worse. (Wall Street Journal)
The notion that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad can somehow be turned from his alliance with Iran and sponsorship of terrorism is one of the hardiest of the Middle East. No number of failed diplomatic initiatives, or outrages by Mr. Assad, seems to diminish its luster. The latest attempt to test it comes from the Obama administration, which this week nominated the first U.S. ambassador to Damascus since 2005 and dispatched a senior State Department official, William J. Burns, to meet with Mr. Assad.
Having carried out a campaign of political murder in Lebanon, including the killing of a prime minister for which he has yet to be held accountable, Mr. Assad continues to insist on a veto over the Lebanese government. He continues to facilitate massive illegal shipments of Iranian arms to Hizbullah, dangerously setting the stage for another war with Israel, and to host the most hard-line elements of the Hamas leadership. He continues to harbor exiled leaders of Saddam Hussein's regime and to allow suicide bombers to flow into Iraq for use by al-Qaeda.
He told one group of Western visitors that he would no more break with Iran than the U.S. would break with Israel. He says that Syrian sponsorship of Hizbullah and Hamas is not on the table. He has promised to check suicide bombers bound for Iraq but has never done so. Anyone who thinks the Obama administration has come up with a way to change the Middle East through detente with Syria would do well to study the history of Mr. Assad's decade in power. That gambit has been tried, by more Western diplomats and politicians than can be counted, and the results are clear: It doesn't work. (Washington Post)
As Lebanon marks the fifth anniversary of the murder of prime minister Rafik Hariri, it has come full circle back into the Syrian fold. In 2005, Lebanese public opinion pushed Syrian troops out of Lebanon. Lebanese politicians and pundits swore then that Syria would never again set foot on Lebanese soil, and Hizbullah faced a terrible dilemma between loyalty to the Lebanese motherland and dependency on Syria. But the Lebanese "order" was restored. The current prime minister, Saad Hariri, the victim's son, has already paid Damascus a visit, embraced Bashar Assad, and Lebanese politics continue to be dictated by Syria and Iran. (Ha'aretz)
Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, the authors of The Israel Lobby, have been dead wrong in trying to blame the Israel lobby or the Israeli government for America's invasion of Iraq. And now Walt is repeating the same nonsense in a recent column on the Foreign Policy website, where he wrote that Tony Blair's testimony last month before Britain's Iraq War Commission confirmed that "the Israel lobby...played a key role in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003." I have read Blair's testimony. I don't find it to be proof of anything of the kind.
Walt does not seem to have taken the trouble to have read the transcript of Blair's testimony. If he had, he would have realized that Blair was not talking about how invading Iraq might benefit Israel, but about the conflict then occurring between Israel and the Palestinians. The second intifada had reached a new height with the Passover and Haifa suicide bombings and the beginning of the siege at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Blair was concerned that the Bush administration was not actively pursuing the peace process and wanted the administration to put the Arab-Israeli issue on a par with the threat of Iraq. These discussions led eventually to getting Bush to launch the "Roadmap" for peace. The discussions Blair and Bush had with the Israelis were not about Iraq but about the peace process. The writer is a senior editor at The New Republic and a visiting fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (New Republic)
The Israel Defense Forces' strong commitment to disaster relief dates back to 1953. The IDF has provided rescue and recovery operations, as well as hospital services and identification of human remains, on numerous occasions. When in August 1999 the Izmit earthquake claimed at least 17,000 lives in Turkey, on the same day of that tragedy, Israeli relief workers arrived in the affected areas, set up and installed a field hospital comprising two hospital wards for adults and children, an isolation room, operating room, x-ray facility, two clinics and medical equipment. The field hospital that the IDF operated in Adapazari treated 1,200 injured, performed 40 operations, and assisted with 15 births. Israel would provide similar assistance a few months later after a second major tremor.
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit commented at the time: "From the first moment after the earthquake, we found Israel in all her power by our side. I want to express my gratitude to all of the Jewish people for their support.'' Haiti is no Gaza. The Haitian government has not unambiguously and repeatedly declared its intention to destroy Israel and kill Jews. (Hurriyet Daily News-Turkey)
Jews who migrated to Israel left property everywhere from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. Some research estimates that about $1 billion worth of personal and community assets were left behind by 850,000 Jews who forfeited all when they left their old countries for the new one. Israeli legislation to protect the rights of Jewish migrants from Arab countries and supported by the government proposes that Israel secure the right of these Jews' to compensation within the framework of the peace process. Supporters say these Jews are every bit as refugees as the Palestinians displaced with Israel's establishment and should be an equally important issue in the peace process. (Los Angeles Times)
See also Jewish Refugees from Muslim Lands - Linda Menuhim
The idea of symmetry between two populations of refugees - Jews and Palestinians - was first born at the Wye Plantation summit with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who demanded compensation for all refugees in the conflict by establishing an international fund. During the Bush administration, Congress endorsed a resolution calling for the mention of Jewish refugees every time there is a mention of Palestinian refugees. (Jerusalem Post)
Why don't we see demonstrations in London, Paris, and Barcelona against Islamic dictatorships? Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan? Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel? Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism?
In every pro-Palestinian European forum they are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan. They are never preoccupied when Hamas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom.
In my native city of Barcelona, the city council decided to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel by having a week of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Spanish President Zapatero places the blame on Israel for the conflict in the Middle East. Yet Spain has suffered the worst terrorist attack in Europe and it is in the crosshairs of every Islamic terrorist organization.
I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not anti-Israeli like my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel. To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews. The writer is a Spanish journalist, writer, and former member of parliament. (Tablet)
I sometimes ponder the peoples of the world, their relative qualities, their contribution to the contemporary world and their role in history. I sometimes ask myself which peoples I most admire. At the top of my list are the Jewish people. No people have contributed more to civilization than the Jews. They have led or played decisive roles in developing or powering philosophical movements at all points of the spectrum.
Beleaguered peoples such as my own could do worse than draw upon the example of the Jews. They offer some lessons about how a culturally distinct people might hold their own and succeed in a world that is often without pity. They have never forgotten history and fight staunchly in defense of the truths of history, but they never make their history a burden for the future. They have worked out how to deal with the past without cultivating and nurturing victimhood among themselves. Too many peoples turn victimization in history into the victimhood of the present.
They have maintained an identity as a community and a sense of peoplehood, religion, tradition, culture and history while at the same time engaging at the cutting edge of whatever the world has to offer. This is a vision for an Aboriginal future in my part of the country. The writer, an Aboriginal leader and activist, is director of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership. (The Australian)
When the shooter burst through the door, the students were ready. They jumped over and around tables. They rushed the gunman. They screamed and tossed anything within reach; backpacks, books, pens. In less than five seconds, the would-be killer was on the floor, powerless to carry out his planned massacre. Alon Stivi, 48, a recognized expert on counterterrorism, violence prevention, security, and hand-to-hand combat, has launched a special training program to make students and office workers safer even from the most extreme forms of violence.
Since the mid-1960s, 207 people have been in killed in on-campus shootings in the U.S. "With the techniques I teach, you don't have to be a martial artist, a soldier, a policeman or policewoman to protect yourself," Stivi says. "You can be anybody." When the gunman bursts through the doors, the students cowering under tables are sitting ducks. He methodically walks around the room, picking off victims one at a time. Stivi shows how to survive - to act as a group and apply the tactics he terms "collective resistance." "There's strength in numbers," he adds. "You have the element of surprise." (Orange County Register)
When marketing entrepreneur Salwa Youssef began planning a Miss Palestine contest last year, she knew she was pushing the boundaries of social convention. Since then, she's been denounced online as unreligious and unpatriotic, while the Palestinian government forced her to postpone the competition. "I need more freedom. To be a woman here, you are under control," says Ms. Youssef, who heads her own advertising firm in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "We cannot talk, we cannot choose, we cannot do anything we like." (Christian Science Monitor)
Israel Is Back - Guy Bechor (Ynet News)
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