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 24, 2010
Cracks in the Iranian Monolith - Michael Ledeen (Wall Street Journal)
Video: PFLP-General Command Leader Ahmad Jibril: Our Battle Is Against the Oppressive and Arrogant Forces of the West, "Not with a Group of Jews" (MEMRI TV)
U.S.-Israel Space Cooperation Agreement Strengthens Already Strong Ties - Gayle Putrich (Flightglobal)
Thousands Celebrate Israel in Downtown Dallas - Kim Horner (Dallas Morning News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says his faction will pull out of peace talks with the Israelis - set to resume next week - if Israel does not extend a freeze on construction in West Bank settlements that is set to expire September 26. (VOA News)
See also U.S. Rebuffs "Freeze" Precondition - Herb Keinon
While the U.S. was "mindful" of Palestinian demands for a construction freeze in the West Bank, State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley said Monday the issue would be discussed on September 2 in Washington, ruling it out as a precondition for direct talks. "The issue of settlements, the issue of the moratorium...has been a topic of discussion and will be a topic of discussion when the leaders meet with Secretary Clinton on September 2," Crowley said.
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom told Quartet envoy Tony Blair that preconditions do not foster dialogue, and that the Palestinians did not make preconditions before sitting with Israel at Wye Plantation, Camp David or even Annapolis. (Jerusalem Post)
According to the State Department's latest country report on terrorism, which covers 2009, "President Chavez continued to strengthen Venezuela's relationship with state sponsor of terrorism Iran. Iran and Venezuela continued weekly Iran Airlines flights connecting Tehran and Damascus with Caracas." A 2007 report went further, noting, "Passengers on these flights were not subject to immigration and customs controls at Simon Bolivar International Airport" in Caracas. It also noted that one passenger who bought a ticket on the route that year was Abdul Kadir, who was convicted this month of plotting a 2007 attack on fuel pipelines for New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. He was arrested on a plane bound for Caracas. (CNN)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported that Erdinc Tekir, who was hurt during the IDF flotilla raid, was among the nine-member team that hijacked a Black Sea ferry in 1996 to bring the war in Chechneya to the world's attention. Tekir spent three years in prison for the incident.
"This shows what kind of people were on the ship," an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said Monday. "There were people with a history of violence, and willingness to use it." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Tension Is Turkey's Choice, Says Israel's Netanyahu
"It was not our choice that our relations with Turkey got tense," Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Greek newspaper To Vima. "Everything began when [Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan attacked Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos. There was a clear policy on the part of Ankara to spark tensions. This is their choice," he said. "If Turkey decides to follow a way of being a moderate state, [Israel] will welcome it." (Today's Zaman-Turkey)
In June 2010, Moroccan security forces detained an 11-man terrorist squad headed by an operative from Gaza who had formerly belonged to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and was influenced by al-Qaeda's ideology. The squad was planning to carry out a series of terrorist attacks against tourist and army targets throughout the country, and to assassinate prominent Moroccan figures, including Jews. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Progress on security and other issues suggests there is reason to believe peace talks can produce results. During the Gaza conflict of 2008-09, the PA kept the West Bank calm. Because of the improved security, Israel has reduced the number of major manned checkpoints in the West Bank from 42 in 2008 to 14. The checkpoints that remain include more passage lanes, resulting in substantially reduced wait times. And the improved security and other efforts by reformist Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have resulted in a West Bank economic growth rate of 8.5%.
Religious and education reforms have started, including a major effort to identify and remove those imams who agitate for suicide bombings. Screening is also being conducted to weed out schoolteachers who support Hamas radicalism. PA security officials say 1,100 Palestinian teachers in the West Bank have been replaced. The writer directs the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Washington Post)
The prospects for success are bleak for the Obama Administration's latest efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but everyone still wants to give it that old State Department try. Yet Israel is less secure now with the rise of Iran as a menacing regional power. Tehran has supplied its proxy, Hizbullah, with 45,000 rockets aimed at Israel from across the border in Lebanon - despite Condoleezza Rice's assurances that the UN would stop the rocket supply after the 2006 Lebanon-Israel war. Iran also arms Hamas, which now controls Gaza and is sworn to Israel's destruction.
These realities understandably make Israel determined to keep a military presence on the West Bank border with Jordan as part of any new Palestinian statehood - to prevent the West Bank from becoming another Lebanon or Gaza. The U.S. might make more progress with both Israel and Mr. Abbas if it stopped Iran's march toward becoming a nuclear power. (Wall Street Journal)
Following the show in Washington, the current Palestinian leadership will find a way to thwart the direct negotiations because they cannot finalize a deal. Any Palestinian or Arab leader who says something that is interpreted as any kind of concession on the right of return knows that he shall immediately be accused of treason. Moreover, the Palestinian leadership cannot present its public with a deal that would include less than the dream outlined by Arafat: "One Palestinian state with the holy Jerusalem as its capital."
Another reason is economic. The PA has been making a good living off public and government funds from Europe, the U.S., and the Arab and Islamic world - to the point where Palestinian per capita disposable income is double that of Egypt. The PA leadership fears that the moment an independent Palestinian state is declared, donations would dry up, as the world will expect the Palestinians to start supporting themselves just like any other independent state. The writer is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University. (Ynet News)
See also Video: Our Man on Al Jazeera
Mordechai Kedar served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence, specializing in Arabic and Islam. He defends Israel in Arab media, directly engaging Arabs in their language. (Aish.com)
No sooner had Hillary Clinton announced the imminent resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations without preconditions, than the Palestinian leadership threatened to pull out of the talks if Israel didn't extend the freeze on all settlement activities. Furthermore, the Arabic-language version of the PLO's decision makes no mention of the two-state solution. Instead it adds a few new preconditions, notably the rejection of Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem.
There lies the heart of the problem. While the PLO leadership, since the launch of the Oslo "peace" process in 1993, has been singing the praises of the two-state solution whenever addressing Israeli or Western audiences, it has consistently denigrated the idea to its own constituents, depicting the process as a transient arrangement required by the needs of the moment that would inexorably lead to the long-cherished goal of Israel's demise. Both Hamas and the PLO are committed to Israel's eventual destruction. The writer is professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King's College London. (Jerusalem Post)
Do Abbas and Fayyad Have a Mandate to Negotiate? - Khaled Abu Toameh (Hudson Institute-New York)
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