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|
May 12, 2010
Why Syria Will Keep Saying "No" to Washington - Bilal Y. Saab (Christian Science Monitor)
That Pill You Took May Be Israeli - Natasha Singer (New York Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Russia may help build a nuclear power plant in Syria, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Tuesday, a step that could upset the West due to unresolved allegations Damascus tried to construct a secret nuclear weapons facility. In 2007, Israel bombed to rubble what Washington said was a nascent, plutonium-producing nuclear reactor in Syria's desert and a UN nuclear watchdog probe to determine what the target was has stalled due to Syrian non-cooperation, diplomats say. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is currently on a state visit to Syria, seeking to reinvigorate ties after Russia has forgiven most of Syria's multi-billion dollar debt.
Shmatko also suggested Russia might build more nuclear power reactors in Iran beyond the one it plans to switch on this year near Bushehr. "We are in favor of continuing cooperation with Iran in the energy sphere to the full extent, including in building light-water reactors," he said. Russia is aggressively seeking contracts abroad to build atomic power plants. (Reuters)
See also Why Russia's President Is Visiting Syria - Claire Duffett (Christian Science Monitor)
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday accused North Korea of supplying Syria with weapons of mass destruction. He told Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in Tokyo: "The cooperation between Syria and North Korea is not focused on economic development and growth but rather on weapons of mass destruction." He cited the December 2009 seizure at Bangkok airport of an illicit North Korean arms shipment which U.S. intelligence said was bound for an unnamed Middle East country. Lieberman said Syria intended to pass the weapons on to Hizbullah and Hamas. (AFP)
See also North Korea Arms Plane "Bound for Hizbullah" - Anne Barrowclough (Times-UK)
The White House released the following statement Tuesday: "The President spoke today with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. The President congratulated President Abbas on the start of Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks. He reiterated his strong support for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state living in peace and security with Israel. The President and President Abbas discussed the need for both parties to negotiate seriously and in good faith, and to move from proximity talks to direct negotiations as soon as possible in order to reach an agreement on permanent status issues."
"The President expressed appreciation for President Abbas' recent outreach to the Israeli people by appearing on Israeli television, and urged that President Abbas do everything he can to prevent acts of incitement or delegitimization of Israel. The President confirmed his intention to hold both sides accountable for actions that undermine trust during the talks. He said he looks forward to receiving President Abbas at the White House soon." (White House)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the traditional Jerusalem Day rally at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva on Tuesday, where he said, "We never gave up on the connection to Jerusalem - not when the Temple was destroyed for the first or second time and not afterwards." "The struggle for Jerusalem is a struggle for the truth," he said. "We are building it, will continue to build it and to develop it." Netanyahu added that while there were attempts to portray Israel as a foreign invader, "No other people are as connected to their capital as the Jewish people are to Jerusalem." (Ynet News)
See also Israel Celebrates Jerusalem Day - Abe Selig
43 years after the battle for Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, Israel is marking Jerusalem Day on Wednesday with a wide array of ceremonies and festivities to mark the city's reunification on the 28th of Iyar in 1967. Jerusalem is Israel's largest city, with 774,000 residents, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, with 63% Jews, 34% Muslims, and 2% Christian. (Jerusalem Post)
Maj.-Gen. Ido Nechushtan, Commander of the Israeli Air Force, told the Fisher Institute for Strategic Air and Space Research in Herzliya on Tuesday: "We are fighting against missiles and rockets in large numbers, which the enemy sees as an efficient weapon and therefore invests money and effort in it." Hizbullah has firepower unparalleled by many states, he added. (Israel Defense Forces)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak, who celebrated his 82nd birthday last week, arranged for his rubber-stamp parliament to extend, for another two years, the emergency law under which he has ruled since October 1981. Mubarak took advantage of the policy of the Obama administration, which has chosen to soft-pedal the cause of democracy and human rights in Egypt and across the Middle East. By using more of the U.S.' considerable diplomatic and economic leverage in Egypt, President Obama can still exploit a rare opportunity to support change in one of the Middle East's most important countries. (Washington Post)
Arab-Israeli diplomacy has dealt with a myriad of subsidiary issues while tiptoeing around the conflict's central issue: "Should there be a Jewish state?" Disagreement over the answer to that question - rather than over Israel's boundaries, its exercise of self-defense, its control of the Temple Mount, its water consumption, its housing construction in West Bank towns, diplomatic relations with Egypt, or the existence of a Palestinian state - is the key issue. Among the Palestinian and the broader Arab and Muslim publics, polls suggest a long-term average of 20% acceptance of Israel, whether in the Mandatory period or now.
The Middle East Forum commissioned Pechter Middle East Polls to ask a thousand adults in each of four countries: "Under the right circumstances, would you accept a Jewish state of Israel?" The results: 26% of Egyptians and 9% of urban Saudis answered "yes," as did 9% of Jordanians and 5% of Lebanese. The writer is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. (National Review)
Why Israel is always held to the highest standards of democracy when every other country flouts them intrigues me. I think the world is jealous of a small country that has turned a desert into a garden, adversity into prosperity. Those who are prejudiced against Israel for ideological reasons do us a disservice when they portray the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in black-and-white terms.
In Algeria there were 140,000 Jews in 1948, by 2008 none; in Morocco there were 250,000, today there are about 6,000. For more than half a century there was a flight of more than 850,000 Jews from Arab lands, which, in effect, means that more Jews were forced to flee Muslim persecution than the approximately 762,000 Palestinian Arabs who left their homes in the newly declared State of Israel. Add to this the successive wars against Israel after 1948, by Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967, the Yom Kippur war in 1973, and the constant destabilization by terrorist incursions, then Israel's socioeconomic and military strength is quite astounding. The writer is a South African human rights activist. (Business Day-South Africa)
The Middle East Peace Industry - Walter Russell Mead (American Interest)
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