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|
March 25, 2010
CNN Poll: Israel a Friend and Ally - Rich Barbieri (CNN)
UN Rights Council Condemns Israel, U.S. Opposes (Reuters)
Saudis Arrest Al-Qaeda Terrorists Targeting Oil Sector - Souhail Karam (Reuters)
Hamas to Proceed with Execution of "Collaborators" - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
U.S. and Israeli officials struggled Wednesday to resolve a dispute over U.S. demands that Israel make goodwill gestures to lure Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who held two hours of talks with President Obama on Tuesday, cleared his schedule Wednesday to undertake additional negotiations with senior U.S. officials, including special peace envoy George Mitchell and White House adviser Dennis Ross. U.S. and Israeli officials are working on a document dubbed "the blueprint," which covers all issues, including Jerusalem, that need to be resolved to let talks go forward. (Washington Post)
See also U.S. Presses Israel on Jerusalem Housing - Helene Cooper and Isabel Kershner
President Obama pressed Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday to give a written commitment to rein in any further building in East Jerusalem. Netanyahu continued to balk at American demands that he reverse the housing plan for the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood. (New York Times)
Gen. David Petraeus on Wednesday denied saying that U.S. support for Israel hinders America's national security interests. At a press briefing at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH, Petraeus explained that the quote that bloggers attributed to his Senate testimony was actually plucked out of context from a report that Central Command had sent to the Armed Services Committee.
"There's a 56-page document that we submitted that has a statement in it that describes various factors that influence the strategic context in which we operate and among those we listed the Mideast peace process," he said. "We noted in there that there was a perception at times that America sides with Israel and so forth. And I mean, that is a perception. It is there. I don't think that's disputable. But I think people inferred from what that said and then repeated it a couple of times and bloggers picked it up and spun it. And I think that has been unhelpful, frankly."
He also noted that there were plenty of other important factors that were mentioned in the report, including "a whole bunch of extremist organizations, some of which by the way deny Israel's right to exist. There's a country that has a nuclear program who denies that the Holocaust took place....So we have all the factors in there, but this is just one, and it was pulled out of this 56-page document, which was not what I read to the Senate at all."
Petraeus said he sent Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, a blog post written by Max Boot in Commentary, which he said "astutely" picked apart the erroneous information. (American Spectator)
See also Video: Petraeus Says Reports about His Stance on Israel Were "Flat Wrong" (YouTube)
See also A Lie: David Petraeus, Anti-Israel - Max Boot (Commentary)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that progress had been made toward resolving the diplomatic crisis with the U.S. over building in east Jerusalem. "We are trying to find the golden path between our will to advance the peace process along with the United States, and maintaining the standard policy of all Israeli governments," he said. Netanyahu had delayed his departure from Washington in an effort to seek consensus in talks with U.S. officials. (Ha'aretz)
Yair Gabai, a member of the Jerusalem district planning and building committee, said Wednesday that Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered the committee to freeze deliberations over all proposals for future construction projects in the capital. "We have received an order from the prime minister telling us to stop approving any new plan," Gabai said. The Interior Ministry said Netanyahu ordered the freeze to continue until a new board was set up, tasked with coordinating building plans in Jerusalem with the government.
"All plans have been stopped for the whole of the city," Gabai said, warning that the decision would inflate housing prices in the capital. "Every delay in housing plans will raise prices for young couples seeking to own their own homes. Contractors who purchased properties will be forced to pay interest to banks as they wait for approval, and they in turn will charge higher prices for housing developments." "We have taken two steps backwards on affordable housing in Jerusalem. This will also have a negative effect in demographic terms, since certain elements do not respect planning laws and construct homes illegally," Gabai said, referring to Arab construction in east Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday just before his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that both the U.S. and Israel should set the settlements issue aside for now. "What's important now is not to get stuck on the issue of the settlement freeze....What's important is to get to the table and discuss the final-status talks as rapidly as possible." House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) issued a statement saying that "building in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem is not an impediment to the peace process." (Foreign Policy)
By a remarkable coincidence, the UK government has now upped the ante too against its sole "friend" and "ally" in the Middle East, expelling an Israeli diplomat - said to be a Mossad operative - to mark Britain's deep displeasure at the alleged theft by Mossad of the passport identities of a number of British/Israeli citizens in order to kill the Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last January. The word "disproportionate" comes to mind.
You might think that the killing of such a vile enemy of humanity would be a cause of some grim satisfaction in the desperate struggle underway to defend life, liberty and justice against those who would destroy them. But no, Britain punishes those who are in the front line of such a defense, while allowing a free pass to those who work for the destruction of Britain, Israel and the free world.
To throw out a diplomat, after a series of consistently hostile acts against Israel by the British government - taking the side of Hamas over Israel's self-defense in Gaza, enforcing an embargo on spare parts to Israel, inciting a boycott of Israeli goods from the disputed territories, refusing to vote against the grotesque Goldstone report - suggests a consistent strategy of throwing Israel under the bus.
The systematic delegitimization of Israel has done its infernal work all too well in softening up the public for the final annihilation of those who only want to be allowed to live in peace in their historic homeland. As the lynching of Israel proceeds, who in the American and British political establishments will have the integrity and courage to stand up and say, "Not in my name"? (Spectator-UK)
Far from Israel's behavior over east Jerusalem being the cause of the breakdown in talks, it's the Palestinians who have come up with east Jerusalem as a figleaf for their rejection of talks. The Palestinians' refusal to countenance real talks unless Israel freezes building in east Jerusalem is simply a ruse. For 16 years after the Oslo accords, such building was never an issue. The real reason why the Palestinians have landed on an east Jerusalem freeze as a prerequisite is because they no longer want negotiations with Israel, or the U.S. The writer is editor of the London Jewish Chronicle. (Guardian-UK)
U.S.-Engineered Deadlock Stalls Peace Process - Jackson Diehl (Washington Post)
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