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|
June 17, 2010
Gaza Cement Rebuilding Hamas' Military Infrastructure (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
Hizbullah: Sue Israeli Leaders Anywhere in the World (Al-Manar-Lebanon)
Gaza Sermon on Hamas TV: "Battle with Jews and Crusaders Continues" (MEMRI)
Arab Nations Urged to Meet Aid Promises - Tobias Buck (Financial Times-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Obama administration on Wednesday unveiled its widest ranging measures to date against Iran, affecting sectors ranging from banking to petroleum and shipping, in a bid to prevent Tehran from dodging existing restrictions and to encourage other jurisdictions to follow suit.
The U.S. identified 22 petroleum, petrochemical and insurance groups which U.S. persons are forbidden to deal with, because of their ownership by the government of Iran. One, London-based Naftiran, identifies itself as involved in a joint venture with BP extracting natural gas from the North Sea. The U.S. Treasury Department also targeted the Revolutionary Guard's Air Force and Missile Command as well as two subsidiaries of the Guard's engineering division and Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Guards' commander in chief, and Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the head of its Basij Resistance Force. (Financial Times-UK)
See also U.S. Rolls Out New Sanctions Against Iran in Effort to Plug Leaks - Glenn Kessler
The Obama administration rolled out new sanctions Wednesday, attempting to plug leaks in existing sanctions and asserting, as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner did, that they were the "first steps to implement and build on" a resolution passed by the UN Security Council last week. But Treasury and State Department officials later acknowledged that all of the actions announced Wednesday did not require the latest UN resolution for action and could have been imposed months earlier.
To keep up a sense of momentum, EU governments are also poised to announce Thursday that they will pursue sanctions that go beyond the UN resolution, including prohibiting new investments and technical assistance in some parts of the oil and gas industry. The announcement will set broad guidelines for sanctions that will be written and shaped by EU officials in the coming weeks. (Washington Post)
At its July 3-10 meeting in Minneapolis, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be asked to approve a strongly worded report written by its Middle East Study Committee that calls on the U.S. to stop sending aid to Israel until it changes its policy toward Palestinians. In 2004, the PC (U.S.A.) became the first mainline Protestant denomination to approve a policy of divestment from Israel. The policy was unpopular with many Presbyterians and was later rescinded.
The report is drawing sharp criticism from Jewish groups. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism claimed the report is "distinctly one-sided, traffics in troubling theology, misrepresents Jewish history," and "describes Israel as the occupying army and the major impediment to peace without acknowledging that the Israeli government has the ethical imperative to defend its citizens from terrorist infiltration." (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel's security cabinet voted Thursday to ease the land blockade of Gaza. "It was agreed to liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza [and] to expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision," an official statement said. However, "existing security procedures to prevent the inflow of weapons and war materiel" will continue. (Ha'aretz)
AIPAC, B'nai B'rith International and the Anti-Defamation League decided to decline an invitation to meet Wednesday in Washington with visiting members of the Turkish ruling AKP Party to protest the deteriorating relations between Ankara and Jerusalem. "I believe in dialogue and meetings, but there is a point at which it becomes useless to have a conversation," ADL National Director Abraham Foxman told Ha'aretz. "Let them first reconcile with the Israeli government, and then I'll be delighted to talk to them," he said. "But at the moment they've decided to use Israel as a whipping boy." (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
What few Western leaders seem to realize is that the blockade was working. Hamas was in freefall, with its cash flow drying up and most Gazans turning on the party they had backed just a few years earlier. In March, according to Associated Press, the Hamas government was only able to pay most employees roughly half of their salaries. The culprit for Hamas' financial woes? "We are having difficulties in getting the money in (to Gaza) because of the siege," Deputy Finance Minister Ismail Mahfouz wrote on the Gaza Finance Ministry's website. Economic revival in Gaza cannot help but reinvigorate Hamas, thus increasing terrorist attacks against Israel and dashing hopes for achieving peace. (Washington Times)
The Palestinian government in the West Bank surprised Palestinians by announcing that municipal elections, slated for July 17, have been called off indefinitely. The real reason behind the cancellation is Abbas' fear that his ruling Fatah faction would suffer a humiliating defeat, after Fatah leaders failed to agree on the candidates who would represent them in the election. Many Fatah members threatened to run as independents or as representatives of their clans - one of the reasons Fatah lost the last two votes: the municipal election in 2005 and the parliamentary election in 2006.
The decision to call off the election is a blow to U.S. efforts to prepare the Palestinians for statehood. The U.S. continues to believe that Abbas and Fatah are credible peace partners who would one day be able to deliver a peace treaty. But a party that cannot even hold a municipal election should not be treated as a real partner to anything.
Fatah continues to be dominated by most of the figures that were responsible for its defeat in the last two elections. This is the reason why Fatah is unlikely to win any election in the foreseeable future. Those who are negotiating with Fatah as a peace partner need to absorb this fact. (Hudson Institute-New York)
On Jan. 19, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, described as a terrorist by Israel, was throttled in a Dubai hotel room. Dubai alleges that a travelling circus of Mossad assassins, 26 or more, participated in the hit, utilizing British, French, Irish, German and Australian passports. When it comes to certain policies, of which counterterrorism is one, some countries do the heavy lifting, while others sit on the fence or their moral high horses, content to reap the benefits of what they disdain to do. Israel and the U.S. are examples of the first kind; Canada and the EU are examples of the second.
In addition to being a founder of Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by Canada, the EU and the U.S., al-Mabhouh was its chief weapons procurer. As such, al-Mabhouh was complicit in the killing or wounding of some 2,000 Israelis over the years, including schoolchildren. (National Post-Canada)
Support Israel: If It Goes Down, We All Go Down - Jose Maria Aznar (Times-UK)
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