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|
August 12, 2010
Fatah: Terrorists Who Killed 37 Israelis Were "Heroic" - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
Turkey Backs Gasoline Sales to Iran Despite Sanctions - Orhan Coskun (Reuters)
Israeli Technology Clears Landmines in Angola - Adam Gonn (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
Covering Up the Female Sex Is Big Business in Istanbul - Peter Hitchens (Daily Mail-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Testifying before an Israeli commission of inquiry, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, the Israeli Army chief of staff, said Wednesday that activists on a Turkish ship were the first to open fire as Israeli naval commandos raided the vessel. The soldiers who rappelled onto the ship from a helicopter one by one were immediately set upon by the activists, some wielding axes, knives, iron bars and clubs, he said. The second soldier who fast-roped onto the roof of the Mavi Marmara was shot in the abdomen and fired back, and that it was "clear and established" that flotilla participants opened fire first. The military said it found ammunition, cartridges and bullets that were not from the Israeli Army. (New York Times)
See also Israel "Failed to Use Enough Force" in Raid
Troops failed to use enough force when taking over the Gaza-bound flotilla, Israel's top general said. "We needed to have people alongside the ship with precise weapons to neutralize those who were preventing the soldiers rappelling down from the helicopter," he told an Israeli commission of inquiry. "Our central mistake was that we didn't manage to create the conditions to achieve maximum strength in minimum time." The military had "underestimated the intensity of the resistance we would encounter on board the ship."
The general rejected accusations that some of the dead had been shot "execution-style." "I reject this with derision," he said. "Was there shooting point blank? Yes indeed - there was an instance where someone attacked a soldier with an axe from close range. Somebody with an axe - that is life-threatening." (AFP)
See also Chief of Staff: IDF Couldn't Predict Flotilla Raid's Outcome
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told the panel investigating the Gaza flotilla raid that he was "proud" of the soldiers who took part. "The commandos exhibited calm, bravery and morality in accordance with IDF values," Ashkenazi told the committee. "From the moment the operation began, it was clear that the circumstances were unprecedented," he said. The soldiers who opened fire did so because their lives were in danger. "The soldiers legitimately opened fire and shot those who they needed to shoot and not those who they didn't need to shoot."
"We should have used precise fire to incapacitate those preventing the soldiers from boarding the ship to reduce the risk to our soldiers. This is the main lesson for the next operation." Ashkenazi said the army was not familiar with IHH, the Turkish group that organized the sail to Gaza. "We did not investigate the organization...because it is not defined as a terror organization and is based in Turkey, which is not an enemy state." (Ynet News)
The U.S. has enough "wiggle room" to give sanctions time to work against Iran before turning to other ways to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, Jim Jones, President Obama's national security adviser, told CNN on Wednesday. "We want to give these sanctions a good shot at working before we do anything else," he said. "We have indications, as the president said last week, that the sanctions are in fact causing them a great deal of difficulty, that the nuclear program is not quite as progressive as some might have thought a year ago," Jones said. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said Wednesday he would reject any U.S. military assistance to Lebanon's army if it comes with conditions that the weapons not be used against Israel. Murr said those who place conditions on how their funds or weapons are used should keep their money. He also said a Lebanese soldier who opened fire across the border with Israel, killing Lt. Col. (res.) Dov Harari, was acting on orders. (AP-Ha'aretz)
An announcement of the restart of direct Palestinian-Israeli talks continued to elude visiting U.S. envoy George Mitchell Wednesday. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat stressed that the PA was sticking to its position that Israel should first recognize the 1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state and halt settlement construction as a precondition for entering into direct talks. However, a U.S. official said that while the Palestinians were seeking U.S. guarantees in support of its position, "we are very sincere in saying that they need to sit down and do this face to face. Any other understanding that would preempt sitting and talking together is not best for the process." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Two photographs adorn the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. One photograph is of Theodor Herzl, Zionism's founding father. Long before the Holocaust, he concluded that Jews could find safety only in a national homeland. The other photograph is of Winston Churchill, who considered himself "one of the authors" of Britain's embrace of Zionism.
World War II convinced European elites that the continent's nearly fatal disease was nationalism, the cure for which must be the steady attenuation of nationalities. Israel, with its deep sense of nationhood, is beyond unintelligible to such Europeans. It is perverse that the European Union, a semi-fictional political entity, serves as part of the "quartet" that supposedly will broker peace in our time between Israel and the Palestinians. (Washington Post)
According to the New York Times, peace between Israel and the Palestinians is merely a matter of American pressure on the Jewish state to force it to make the concessions that will magically end the conflict. In its Aug. 10 editorial, the Times agrees that it is too bad that the Israelis won't concede every point to be negotiated in advance of the talks and that the White House has come to understand that efforts to hammer Israel in the past year and a half have been both diplomatically unproductive and politically disastrous. But the editorial warns Abbas that he's wrong if he thinks time is on his side.
Abbas' greatest fear is getting into real peace negotiations because he knows he can't make peace with Israel, no matter what the terms of the agreement or where the final borders might be drawn. Ehud Olmert offered him an even sweeter deal in 2008 than the ones offered to Arafat, and he wouldn't even talk about it. What the Times fails to understand is that it is precisely because of the power of Hamas and the weakness of Abbas, who rightly understands that the dynamics of Palestinian politics forbid any agreement that would recognize the legitimacy of Israel, there is no chance that the PA leader will ever accede to their wishes. (Commentary)
The 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, many of them born there, are barred by law from any but the most menial professions and are denied many basic rights. Now the Lebanese parliament is debating a new law that would allow Palestinians to work in any profession and own property, as well as give them social security benefits.
But the proposal faces stiff resistance. Lebanon's population of 4 million is divided between 18 sects, including Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians and Druse, and every community is highly sensitive to anything that could tip the balance of power in the country. Christians and Shiites are particularly worried about any possible permanent settling of the refugees, who are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim. (AP-Washington Post)
See also Hizbullah: Hating Israel and Palestinians - Mudar Zahran (Jerusalem Post)
Israelis Don't Appreciate the Politics of Gestures - Benjamin Kerstein interviewed by Michael J. Totten (Pajamas Media)
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