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 29, 2010
U.S. Navy Has Encounter with Iranian Jet - Anne Flaherty (AP)
Israel Thanks Clinton for Removing Anti-Israel Items from UNESCO Agenda (JTA)
Human Rights Watch Fights a Civil War over Israel - Benjamin Birnbaum (New Republic)
New Media Need a New Approach to Anti-Semitism - Andre Oboler (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Obama administration is pressing Congress to provide an exemption from Iran sanctions to companies based in "cooperating countries," a move that likely would exempt Chinese and Russian concerns from penalties meant to discourage investment in Iran. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said the exemption "is aimed at China and Russia specifically....The administration wants to give a pass to countries for merely supporting a watered-down, almost do-nothing UN resolution."
However Patrick Clawson, deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said: "If the administration can use this 'cooperating-countries' waiver to get cooperation from a country like China on enforcing the UN sanctions and on suspending investment in Iran's oil and gas industry, then this bill will be a great success for U.S. objectives about Iran's nuclear program and support for terrorism." (Washington Times)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has applied to visit the U.S. as part of an Iranian delegation to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty monitoring conference in New York which begins next week. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday the U.S. has a responsibility as the host of the UN to accept the Iranian president's visa request. (VOA News)
Egypt on Wednesday convicted 26 men it linked to Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hizbullah of planning attacks inside the country. Judge Adel Abdel Salam Gomaa of Egypt's emergency state security court said the group intended "to strike Egypt's economy, destroy the bonds between its people and create chaos and instability throughout the country." The court sentenced the men - who included Lebanese, Palestinians, Egyptians and one Sudanese - to jail terms from six months to life. Some were convicted in absentia. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Tension on Israel's northern border remains high after Western intelligence agencies spotted the Syrian effort (encouraged and funded by Iran) to equip Hizbullah with Scud missiles. Lebanon and Syria fear that Israel would not accept the presence of heavy ballistic missiles in Hizbullah's hands and will take offensive military action to lift the threat against its home front. This marks the first time in history where a sovereign state hands over heavy ballistic missiles to an armed militia and even trains its members to use them. Yet at this time Israel has no intention of striking in Lebanon or Syria.
Hizbullah has already accumulated and prepared for action roughly 45,000 rockets and missiles in fortified and camouflaged shelters, including a few hundred heavy rockets and missiles with a range that can hit every populated area in Israel. Some of them are even more dangerous than Scud missiles because they're more accurate. However, because of the Scud's long range, they can be deployed in northern Lebanon far from the Israeli border, making it harder for Israel to target them. On the other hand, the liquid-fuel Scuds require about 30 minutes of fueling to prepare for launching, during which time the missile is vulnerable to attack, unlike Hizbullah's other, solid-fuel rockets which can be launched within minutes. (Ynet News)
Four Palestinians were killed and at least 10 others were wounded Wednesday after Egyptian security forces detonated a bomb underground to collapse a smuggling tunnel under the border between Gaza and Egypt. A Palestinian police official said three died of smoke inhalation and a fourth from flying debris. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
When Defense Secretary Robert Gates hosted visiting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak this week, the Obama administration appeared to be pulling out all the stops in lavishing honor and warm attention on the visiting Israeli official, who has come to Washington numerous times in the past few months without so much grand ceremony. The administration seems to be making a concerted effort to put to rest any impression that the top U.S. military brass was in any way questioning the value of the U.S.-Israeli military and strategic relationship. The White House is engaged in an aggressive public relations and outreach effort to the Hill and Jewish groups to assure them of its commitment to Israel's security. (Politico)
See also Obama Spreads the Love - For Now - Ron Kampeas
The Obama administration is projecting a new attitude when it comes to Israel, and is selling it hard: unbreakable, unshakeable bond. "It's a positive development," Alan Solow, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said of the recent Jewish outreach blitz by the administration. "There are two questions, though, that will only be answered over time: Will the outreach be sustained, and will the policy be consistent with the positions being expressed in the outreach?" (JTA)
Gideon Rachman presents a skewed view of Israeli policy (Financial Times, April 27), unfairly placing the onus for the lack of progress toward peace on Israel's shoulders, while ignoring the conflict's core issue - Palestinian rejectionism. Four consecutive prime ministers, including Benjamin Netanyahu, have endorsed a two-state accord, but to no avail. Withdrawal from southern Lebanon and Gaza has led to increased, not reduced, tension. Virulent incitement against Israel continues apace both in the West Bank and Gaza.
Moreover, Rachman ignores the historical record. Previous talks with the Palestinians, prior to the Obama administration, were held without any preconditions. Those negotiations, in fact, led to breakthrough proposals by Israel, in 2000 and again in 2008, to create a viable Palestinian state. The conflict's root remains what it has been for more than 60 years - namely, the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel's very legitimacy. When that hurdle is overcome, peace will become not just possible but inevitable. The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee. (Financial Times-UK)
Ever since President Obama entered the White House, the Palestinians are the ones refusing to renew negotiations with Israel. However, the image created by Obama's policy is that Israel alone is responsible for the impasse, and that construction in Jerusalem is the main obstacle to securing an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Somehow, no American policymaker or commentator is asking how Fatah, which cannot engage in talks with its Hamas "brethren" and secure a deal with them, can finalize an agreement with Israel.
Obama started off by presenting requests and demands to Israel, the Palestinians, and pro-American Arab states for mutual gestures in order to renew the talks. Netanyahu was the only leader who did something. In his Bar-Ilan speech he endorsed the two-state principle, and he even declared a construction freeze in the territories. All the others rejected the American requests. The Palestinians wholly disregard Obama and expect him to do all the work for them and elicit unilateral concessions out of Israel. The writer is a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. (Ynet News)
America's Big Middle East Game - Tony Badran (Now Lebanon)
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