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|
April 8, 2010
Turkey's Erdogan Calls Israel "Principal Threat" to Middle East Peace - Marc Champion (Wall Street Journal)
Report Card on Democratic Reforms in Arab World - Lisa Bryant (VOA News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Obama and other U.S. officials have explored whether the administration should offer its own Middle East peace proposal to break the logjam between Palestinians and Israelis, officials said Wednesday. While officials acknowledged that the idea has advocates within the Obama administration, several officials insisted that no proposal is now on the table, nor is the administration actively trying to develop one. Officials said Obama has taken no position on whether to prepare a U.S. peace proposal.
Philip J. Crowley, the chief State Department spokesman, said: "We're prepared to play an active role once the parties get in negotiations....I would steer you away from the idea that...we're going to try to, at this point, impose a particular view on the parties." Several analysts said word of the administration's discussions of the idea may have been floated to shock the government of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Los Angeles Times)
See also Discussions, But No Decisions, on an Obama Plan for Mideast Peace - Glenn Kessler
Senior Obama administration officials said there has been no decision to offer such a plan, either in the coming months or later this year. They said the administration, now locked in tense talks with Israel about making confidence-building overtures to the Palestinians, is focused on arranging indirect talks between the two sides. Israeli officials have long opposed the introduction of a unilateral American plan, while Arab officials have pressed hard for one.
A major stumbling block to any peace plan is that 1.5 million people - almost 40% of the Palestinian population - live in Gaza, now controlled by Hamas, which rejects any peace talks as well as the very existence of Israel. That was not the situation when Clinton offered the "Clinton parameters" ten years ago. (Washington Post)
See also Netanyahu: Israel Will Reject Imposed Peace Plan - Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in private meetings in recent days that Israel would not accept a Middle East peace agreement that is forced on it from the outside, sources said Wednesday. (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a press conference Wednesday that Israel was being criticized now for the policies of every government over the last 42 years, in a reference to continued construction in all parts of Jerusalem. Referring to the peace process, he said: "What we saw over the last year, from the first day, before this government took even one step, was that the Palestinians simply climbed up the tree and said, 'We're not going into negotiations, we have all kinds of conditions.'"
Netanyahu also played down the widely reported tension with the U.S., saying that discussions with the U.S. were continuing. "There are things that we agree on, that we don't agree on, and where we are bridging the gaps." He gave no information about the demands the U.S. administration had made and said the lack of leaks about the conversation with the administration testified to the seriousness of the discussions. (Jerusalem Post)
The future Palestinian Authority presidential compound will be built along a street named for Hamas suicide bomb mastermind Yihyeh Ayyash, Israel's Channel 10 reported on Wednesday. (Ha'aretz)
See also Israel: PA Glorifies Terrorism
The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying: "This is an outrageous glorification of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority. Right next to a Presidential compound in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority has named a street after a terrorist who murdered hundreds of innocent Israeli men, women and children. The world must forcefully condemn this official Palestinian incitement for terrorism and against peace." (Prime Minister's Office)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Public rebukes of Israel by the U.S. administration form a dangerous and shocking pattern. The U.S. made an end to all settlement activity, including in Jerusalem, a condition for peace talks to begin. But it hasn't put similar conditions on the Palestinians regarding something as deadly as Palestinian incitement of hatred - in the Palestinian press, on the airwaves, and in Friday sermons.
There seems to be an asymmetrical series of expectations in the administration's demands on Israel; Israelis should do the heavy lifting, while the Palestinians are often given a free pass. The White House, for instance, hasn't demanded that the Palestinians shut down the deadly al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the terrorist wing of Fatah, as it was required to do after the 1993 Oslo Accords. Fatah last year re-endorsed armed struggle against the Jewish state. Dennis Glick and Daniel Mariaschin are, respectively, the president and executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International. (JTA)
During her confirmation hearings in January 2009, Secretary of State Clinton said that she and President Obama: "Believe that engaging directly with Syria increases the possibility of making progress on changing Syrian behavior. In these talks, we should insist on our core demands: cooperation in stabilizing Iraq; ending support for terrorist groups; cooperation with the IAEA; stopping the flow of weapons to Hizbullah; and respect for Lebanon's sovereignty and independence." Yet, now, more than a year later, after repeated U.S. attempts to engage Damascus, it is difficult to see how progress has been made on any of these areas.
The Obama administration followed up a year of Syrian inaction by nominating a new U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford. Our last ambassador was recalled in February 2005 following the assassination, apparently with Syrian involvement, of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. There is a reason that the Senate entered its two-week Passover/Easter recess without acting on Ford's nomination. A number of senators are rightfully concerned about the message returning an ambassador to Damascus sends to the Syrian regime. The unfortunate fact is that Syria is engaged in international terrorism, is counteracting our efforts to stabilize Iraq, is deepening ties with Iran as it continues its illicit nuclear program, and is stonewalling an investigation into its own efforts to go nuclear. (Foreign Policy)
Will Obama Impose Terms on Israel? - Elliott Abrams (Weekly Standard)
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