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 15, 2010
U.S. Warns Syria about Hizbullah-Bound Missiles (AP-Washington Post)
Iran and Allies Arming for War - Michael J. Totten (Commentary)
Hamas Orders Gaza Smuggling Tunnels Shut Temporarily under Egyptian Pressure - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
Europeans Spending Millions to Manipulate Israeli Politics - Gerald Steinberg (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr., director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday that Iran could produce bomb-grade fuel for at least one nuclear weapon within a year, but would most likely need two to five years to manufacture a workable atomic bomb. (New York Times)
The U.S. is pressing the UN Security Council to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Iran, allow foreign states to seize Iranian ships suspected of carrying materials linked to its nuclear program, and curtail Tehran's ability to raise new investment in the country's energy sector, according to UN-based diplomats. The draft resolution has been crafted to target senior officers in Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and a network of Iranian companies and financial institutions the Guard controls. (Washington Post)
See also Turkey Opposes UN Sanctions on Iran - Mary Beth Sheridan (Washington Post)
A bipartisan group of 363 House lawmakers sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday urging him to impose "crippling" sanctions on Iran with or without UN action. The letter asks Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to do everything in his "power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
It also urged Obama to sign and act on a bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress that would limit the federal government's ability to do business with companies that contribute to Iran's development of petroleum resources. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) plan to send Obama a similar letter with the signatures of three-quarters of the Senate. (New York Times)
See also Text of Congressional Letter (Politico)
Iranian President Ahmadinejad Tuesday drew a direct link between pressure on Iran's nuclear program and its support for "resistance" - a codeword for Islamic militant groups such as Hizbullah and Hamas, and anti-American Shia forces in Iraq. "They (the U.S.) have security problems in the world and their influence in Iraq and Afghanistan is vanishing," he said. "They see that waves of hope, justice-seeking and resistance are rising all over the world inspired by Iran. They want to dominate the world, but Iran doesn't let them." (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday: "There is no room to pressure Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel has never threatened to annihilate other nations and peoples, while today Iran, and also Syria, Libya and Iraq in the past, all of whom signed this treaty, have systematically violated its stipulations while explicitly threatening Israel's existence." Israel has a policy of "nuclear ambiguity," refusing to confirm or deny possessing atomic weapons. (Ha'aretz)
The Hamas government in Gaza on Thursday executed Muhammad Ismail and Nasr Abu Frayej by firing squad, saying they had collaborated with Israel during Israel's Gaza operation. Eight additional Gazans have been sentenced to death on the same charges. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, wrote to President Obama on Thursday: "Why does the thrust of this administration's Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks? After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.
Israel has made unprecedented concessions. It has enacted the most far-reaching West Bank settlement moratorium in Israeli history. Israel has publicly declared support for a two-state solution. Conversely, many Palestinians continue their refusal to even acknowledge Israel's right to exist.
The conflict's root cause has always been the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Every American president who has tried to broker a peace agreement has collided with that Palestinian intransigence, sooner or later. Recall President Clinton's anguish when his peace proposals were bluntly rejected by the Palestinians in 2000. Settlements were not the key issue then. They are not the key issue now." (World Jewish Congress)
When President Obama declared Tuesday that resolving the long-running Middle East dispute was a "vital national security interest of the United States," he was highlighting a change that has resulted from a lengthy debate among his top officials over how best to balance support for Israel against other American interests.
Several officials point out that Obama has now seized control of Middle East policy himself, giving Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a list of demands. "The president is re-evaluating the tactics his administration is employing toward Israel and the entire Middle East," said Robert Wexler, a former Democratic congressman who leads the Center for Middle East Peace. "I don't think that anybody believes American lives are endangered or materially affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said Wexler, who has close ties to administration officials. "That's an oversimplification. However, you'd have to have blinders on not to recognize that there are issues in one arena that affect other arenas." (New York Times)
As world leaders met in Washington this week to discuss how to prevent nuclear terrorism, there was little doubt that time is running out to deal with Iran's nuclear weapons threat. It is now eight years since the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran blew the lid on the mullahs' secret atom program and disclosed the existence of a uranium enrichment plant in Natanz and a heavy water plant for the production of plutonium in Arak. Yet, during all that time, Tehran has been allowed to make steady progress toward developing nuclear weapons.
Regrettably, the EU's policy of "constructive engagement" was one of the main culprits in facilitating Iran's nuclear progress. Now Washington has bought the regime additional time. The Iranian regime knows now that the international community lacks the courage or conviction to confront its nuclear program. Biting sanctions could have and still could work. Engaging the mullahs only had the effect of legitimizing them and extending their brutal reign. The writer, a professor of nuclear physics, is vice president of the European Parliament. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
U.S. Acts as Though It Seeks Regime Change in Israel - Aaron David Miller (Los Angeles Times)
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