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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 13, 2010

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In-Depth Issues:

Poll: American Jews Oppose Dividing Jerusalem (American Jewish Committee)
    In the AJC 2010 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, respondents were asked:
    In the framework of a permanent peace with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction? Yes 35%, No 61%.
    Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel." Agree 75%, Disagree 20%.
    Should the Palestinians be required or not be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a final peace agreement? Required 94%, Not required 3%.
    Do you approve or disapprove of the Obama administration's handling of U.S.-Israel relations? Approve 55%, Disapprove 37%.
    Do you approve or disapprove of the Netanyahu government's handling of Israel-U.S. relations? Approve 57%, Disapprove 30%.
    How close do you feel to Israel? Very close 30%, Fairly close 44%, Fairly distant 20%, Very distant 5%.

Correction: Visa Policy for Israeli Nuclear Scientists Did Not Begin with Obama Administration - Roger Simon (Pajamas Media)
    On April 8, I wrote an article implying that the Obama administration had instituted a new policy restricting entry to the U.S. for Israeli nuclear scientists who worked at the Dimona reactor, based on a report from Maariv, which quoted nuclear engineering professor Zeev Alfassi.
    I contacted Dr. Alfassi who informed me that while it was extremely difficult for scientists who worked at Dimona to obtain U.S. visas, this was not a new policy of the Obama administration. This problem has been going on since 9/11.

Poll: Palestinians Reject Sharing Jerusalem (IMRA-An-Najah University)
    77% of Palestinians reject making Jerusalem a capital for two states: Palestine and Israel, while 21% support this idea, according to a poll conducted by the Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah University in the West Bank on 8-10 April 2010.
    61% reject conducting indirect talks between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government, while 34% support such talks. Interestingly, a narrow majority (49%) support direct talks between the two sides, while 47% reject such talks.

Useful Reference:

Measures Taken by Israel in Support of the Palestinian Economy (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Is Syria Arming Hizbullah with New Missiles? - Josh Rogin
    Are Syrian weapons flooding into Lebanon? Informed administration sources said they were well aware of the rumors that unspecified amounts of a new type of weaponry are making their way over the border and into Hizbullah hands. Sources said the weapons were of a characteristic and range that could pose a risk to large swaths of Israel, not just to communities in the north.
        A Senate leadership aide confirms that due to concerns about Syrian behavior, there is now at least one hold on the nomination of Robert Ford to become the first U.S. ambassador to Syria in more than four years. Some congressional sources said there were multiple holds. National Security Spokesman Mike Hammer said the administration is "increasingly concerned about the sophistication of the weaponry being transferred and have continued to reiterate our strong concerns to the Syrian and Lebanese authorities."  (Foreign Policy)
        See also Missile Crisis Threatens War between Israel, Hizbullah
    The Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper said that Syria has delivered Scud missiles to Hizbullah. It quoted U.S. sources as saying that Israel has sent indirect warnings to Syria through Turkey and Qatar that it would "bomb Lebanese and Syrian targets in case the missiles crossed the border...and reached Hizbullah."  (Naharnet-Lebanon)
  • Israel Denies West Bank Expulsions Policy
    Israel denied on Monday that it plans to carry out mass expulsions of Palestinians living in the West Bank after a new military policy entered into force. A military official said the order was meant for people who were staying in the West Bank illegally and would "affect very few people." The military insisted the new orders merely formalized existing procedures. (AFP)
  • China Pledges to Work with U.S. on Iran Sanctions - David E. Sanger and Mark Landler
    President Obama secured a promise from President Hu Jintao of China on Monday to join negotiations on a new package of sanctions against Iran, administration officials said, but Mr. Hu made no specific commitment to backing measures that the U.S. considers severe enough to force a change in direction in Iran's nuclear program. (New York Times)
        See also Iran Doubts China Would Back New Iran Sanctions (AP-Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S. Study Finds Huge Gas Potential in Israel - Kobi Yeshayahu
    According to a U.S. government report published on Thursday, there is potential for finding huge quantities of natural gas off the coast of Israel, amounting to about 17 times the reserves discovered in the Tamar field 90 km west of Haifa. (Globes)
        See also Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources in the Eastern Mediterranean
    The U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas in the Levant Basin Province in the Mediterranean off the coast of Israel and Lebanon. (U.S. Geological Survey)
  • IDF Foils Palestinian Attack at Gaza Border - Hanan Greenberg
    An IDF force opened fire at a group of Palestinians attempting to plant an explosive device near the border fence at the Kissufim crossing in Gaza Tuesday morning. (Ynet News)
  • PA Transfers 17 Bombs to IDF - Hanan Greenberg
    Over the weekend, Palestinian security forces transferred to the Israel Defense Forces 17 explosive devices uncovered in and around Tulkarem in the West Bank. The explosives included pipe bombs and more complex devices intended for terror attacks. The transfer attests to the level of coordination between Palestinian security forces and the IDF. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Monitoring Palestinian Incitement Is Not Enough - Fern Oppenheim
    Israeli officials historically have spoken about the culture of hatred in the PA solely in terms of incitement. However, there is a related phenomenon - indoctrination - which should be monitored, reported on and publicized in its own right. Children's TV shows and textbooks teach young Palestinians that Israelis have no historical ties to the land, that Jews are evil, and that terrorism is justified.
        Once youngsters are indoctrinated, they will likely believe the vile things they were taught for the rest of their lives, and act on them. Israel can make all  the concessions requested, yet an entire generation of Palestinians will still harbor the hatred they were spoon-fed to their dying days. Indoctrination is therefore a much greater threat than incitement to the long-term prospects for peace. The brainwashing of Palestinian children must be addressed as a pressing issue in its own right. True peace depends on it. The writer is strategic communications consultant for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Conference of Presidents Welcomes Strong U.S. Condemnation of PA Incitement
    Alan Solow, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said that the continuing acts of deliberate incitement by Palestinian Authority leaders is unacceptable and a true obstacle to peace. In recent weeks there has been the dedication of a street in honor of terrorist bomb maker Yehiya Ayash, calls for a "Day of Rage" over the rededication of a historic synagogue, calls for boycotts, and denials of Israel's historic presence and connection to both the city of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.
        "We appreciate the statement of Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley denouncing these acts as 'undermining the trust and confidence needed for substantive and productive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.' Mr. Crowley added that 'we also strongly condemn the glorification of terrorists. We will continue to hold Palestinian leaders accountable for incitement.'"
        They added that reports of American denial of visas to Israeli nuclear scientists is without foundation. "We have received clear denials by both U.S. and Israeli officials that there has been a change in policy," they said. (Conference of Presidents)
  • World Must Do More to Deter Iran's Nuclear Ambitions - Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
    Here are some of the actions the U.S. and its international partners should take in order to encourage Iranian leaders to stop their nuclear program. Prevent Iranian gas deals. Sustain American pressure on foreign banks and oil companies. Deny shipping insurance. Isolate Iran diplomatically. Blockade Iran. Divest from Iranian business. The writer is founder and president of The Israel Project. (Baltimore Sun)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Attorney General: IDF Killing of Palestinian Terrorists Was Legal - Dan Izenberg (Jerusalem Post)

    • On Monday, the Justice Ministry spokesman released a letter by former Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz from January 7, 2009, that refuted charges by Ha'aretz investigative reporter Uri Blau that the IDF was carrying out targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists in violation of a High Court of Justice ruling. The charges were based on top-secret documents given to Blau by an ideologically motivated former IDF soldier.
    • In response to a demand for an investigation into the allegations in the article, including the killing of key Islamic Jihad terrorist Ziad Malaisha, Mazuz wrote, "The IDF operation met all the conditions laid down in the High Court of Justice ruling regarding 'targeted killings.' The attack took place after the possibility of arresting the fugitives was ruled out as being impossible to achieve."
    • "The attack was aimed at senior and extremely dangerous terrorists, who were involved in preparations to carry out dangerous terror attacks, and regarding whom the security system had reliable and precise information....It was carried out in awareness of the duty to avoid harming innocents and reduce the danger to them, and after implementing the principle of proportionality."
    • Mazuz added that "the legal aspects of the operation were examined at each one of the planning stages and there is no basis to the charge that the IDF 'ignored' the High Court's instructions regarding targeted killing operations. On the contrary, the operational officers in the general staff, who had close legal consultation, were aware of the High Court instructions and stressed and carried them out in all stages of the planning and the approval of the operation."

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