Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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February 22, 2010
UK Officer Defends Israeli Forces - John McManus (BBC News)
Israel Unveils New Drone Fleet that Can Reach Iran - Tia Goldenberg (AP-ABC News)
67 Percent of Americans View Israel Favorably - Lydia Saad (Gallup)
Bomb Hurled at Cairo Synagogue - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
PA Gives Israel Kassam Rocket Seized in West Bank (Ha'aretz)
New Israel Campus Beat Published (Conference of Presidents-Israel on Campus Coalition-Jerusalem Center)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Gen. David Petraeus told "Meet the Press" on Sunday: "We have over the course of the last year pursued the engagement track. I think that no one at the end of this time can say that the United States and the rest of the world have not given Iran every opportunity to resolve the issues diplomatically. That puts us on a solid foundation now to go on what is termed the 'pressure track.' And that's the course in which we're embarked now." (MSNBC)
Syria dismissed on Saturday an International Atomic Energy Agency recommendation to allow its inspectors unrestrained access, days after the agency said a bombed Syrian complex could have been a nuclear site. The report, by new IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano, prodded Syria to permit unfettered inspections to check out any covert atomic activity. "Syria is not obliged to open its other sites to inspectors," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said. (Reuters-Washington Post)
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas official assassinated in Dubai, was betrayed by a close associate, the emirate's police chief claimed. Lt.-Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim described whoever leaked details of Mahbouh's arrival to his assassins as "the real killer," Abu Dhabi's al-Khalij newspaper reported. (Guardian-UK)
See also Hamas: Assassinated Operative Put Himself at Risk - Rizek Abdel Jawad
Hamas legislator Salah Bardawil said Saturday in Gaza that Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh unwittingly led his attackers to him by talking about his trip over the phone and making hotel reservations on the Internet. "Al-Mabhouh called his family by phone before he traveled to Dubai and told them of his plan to stay in a specific hotel, and he booked his travel through the Internet. This undoubtedly created a security breach in the movements of al-Mabhouh," Bardawil said. The killing of al-Mabhouh has put Hamas on the defensive over purported security lapses. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Spanish counterpart Miguel Moratinos are promoting an initiative by which the EU would recognize a Palestinian state in 18 months, even before negotiations for a permanent settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are concluded. The initiative is based on a plan by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to establish a Palestinian state in two years, which is the time he estimates is needed for the development of state institutions.
Israel has expressed to Kouchner and Moratinos its clear opposition to the initiative, noting it was contrary to the principles of the peace process. "An imposed solution will not achieve the goals," Israel stressed. "If the European Union will determine the results of the negotiations in advance and promises the Palestinians recognition of a state, they will have no motivation to resume negotiations," the Israeli message states. (Ha'aretz)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview: "Both Palestinians and Syrians have adopted a strategy of unwillingness to negotiate. They present us with extremist preconditions that they did not present to earlier Israeli governments. I don't know any other government in the world that would enter negotiations under conditions that determine in advance how they should conclude. The critics expect us to accept the Palestinian and Syrian dictates....It will take time for the Palestinians and Syrians to retreat from the positions they have taken. I think the Palestinians, at least, may be backing down. There are signs that negotiations with them will begin in the foreseeable future." (Ha'aretz)
The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved a comprehensive plan to preserve 150 heritage sites across the country including Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Speaking at the cabinet meeting held in Tel Hai in the Upper Galilee, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Our existence depends not only on the IDF or our economic resilience - it is anchored in our store of knowledge and the national sentiment that we will bestow upon the coming generations, in our ability to justify our connection to the land." (Ynet News)
See also Strengthening Israel's National Heritage Infrastructure - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister's Office)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The rationale for the Iranian nuclear program has changed over time. Today, as Iranian hawks consolidate their power and the Revolutionary Guards emerge as a key pillar of the state, Tehran views nuclear weapons as the means to regional preeminence. A nuclear shield would give Iran freedom to project its power in the Middle East. Such an Iran is unlikely to be subtle about brandishing the nuclear card.
An emboldened Iran would test Washington in several ways. It would probably lend more support to Hizbullah and Hamas and encourage them to act more aggressively against Israel. It might step up subversive activities against the Gulf sheikdoms and demand that they evict U.S. troops from their territory. A nuclear Iran could also be tempted to transfer nuclear materials and technologies to other countries. Or give fissile material to a terrorist group.
If Tehran remains determined to go nuclear and preventive attacks prove too risky or unworkable to carry out, the U.S. will need to formulate a strategy to contain Iran. In doing so, however, it would be a mistake to assume that containment would save the U.S. from the need to make tough choices about retaliation. If Washington is not prepared to back up a containment strategy with force, the damage created by Iran's going nuclear could become catastrophic. James M. Lindsay is senior vice president and Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Washington Post)
I was the legal advisor to the officer in command of Gaza from 1994-97, and in that capacity was involved in targeted killing decisions. I believed when I served in the Israel Defense Forces, and I believe now, that targeted killings are lawful, predicated on the following caveats. There must be reliable, valid, viable and corroborated intelligence indicating that the individual intends to commit future terrorist acts. International law does not tolerate revenge-based action. In addition, the decision must meet tests of proportionality, military necessity, alternatives and collateral damage.
I think there is a fundamental difference between drone attacks as presently conducted [by the U.S.] and targeted killing, for the latter is person-specific whereas the former seems to result in not insignificant collateral damage. I have long advocated person-specific operational counter-terrorism as a means to protect the state and to protect innocent lives. The writer is Professor of Law, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah. (Los Angeles Times)
One frequently overlooked fact about the killing in Dubai is that there have already been arrests - of two Palestinians in Jordan who have been extradited to Dubai. Even if the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was indeed [done by] those pesky Israelis and not the result of a Hamas power struggle or an assassination carried out by one of the many Arab groups who loathe the Islamist Hamas with as much passion as the Israelis, were they right to do it?
Frankly, I find it hard to understand anyone who doesn't realize that it's one fewer terrorist planning murderous attacks on civilians. Al-Mabhouh was personally responsible for the murder of IDF soldiers in the '80s and was, by all accounts, in Dubai to arrange an arms deal with the main Hamas sponsor, Iran. Any country has the right to defend itself from attack, and Israel has even more right to do so than any other country on earth for the simple reason that when a country loses a war it faces a few years of rebuilding and recovery. If and when Israel loses a war it will simply cease to exist. (Independent-Ireland)
UN Nuclear Watchdog Outlines Suspicions about Iranian Military Nuclear Activities (International Atomic Energy Agency)
According to a report by the IAEA Director General dated 18 February 2010:
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