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 26, 2010
UNIFIL Confirms IDF Account of Lebanese Border Attack - Nessim Boucai (Israel Defense Forces)
14 Israeli Policemen on UN Mission in Haiti (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Gaza Will Be the Ghost at Mideast Talks Banquet - Douglas Hamilton (Reuters-ABC News)
Mexico Buys Israeli Drone Aircraft (Reuters)
U.S. Funds Restoration of Global Islamic Sites (AP)
Palestinian Rocks Injure Israeli Baby (JTA)
Wireless in Gaza - David Tafuri (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Crowds had started to arrive at the Protestant church hall in downtown Ramallah in the West Bank on Wednesday to attend an anti-negotiations conference called by local Palestinian leaders opposed to plans by PA President Mahmoud Abbas to start direct negotiations with Israel, when dozens of young Palestinians, believed to be members of Abbas' Fatah movement and his security forces, moved in waving pictures of Abbas and chanting his name, disrupting the meeting even before it had started. Their purpose was to make sure the conference would not be held.
When the organizers, mainly leaders of left-wing Palestinian factions, realized that it would be impossible to proceed with their conference, they took to the streets of Ramallah in a protest march. Palestinian police then intervened to stop the march, charging that the protestors did not have a permit. The organizers of the conference, some of them members of the PLO Executive Committee, then held a news conference at a local TV station where they accused the PA of preventing freedom of expression and called for a commission to investigate what had happened. Abbas quickly agreed. (Los Angeles Times)
Iran's weapons-development efforts have long had a wisp of The Wizard of Oz about them. When Iranian President Ahmadinejad unveiled Iran's first armed drone, it showed the world, if not his fellow Iranians, just how threadbare Tehran's arsenal is. According to Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, an aerospace-consulting firm near Washington, Iran lacks the ability to guide its drone over long distances, nor does it have the sensors to make it any kind of a threat. Adds Kenneth Katzman, an Iranian-military expert with the Congressional Research Service: "It is likely to have virtually no actual military value."
But Iran isn't concerned about reality, just making the right impression, especially among its home audience. "Iran has no defense against an Israeli or U.S. first strike," John McCreary, a veteran U.S. intelligence analyst, said Tuesday. "The leaders want to camouflage that fact by showing off weapons, without admitting that they have little value in protecting Iranians." (TIME)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
From an interview with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Israel Radio on Wednesday:
Q: What do you think Israel should say if the American president asks Israel to make "a gesture of good will, to freeze building in Judea and Samaria for as long as possible."
Lieberman: "We did make the gesture. For ten months we were waiting for the Palestinians to deign to come negotiate. They came during the last month. That's their problem. And on the contrary, we expect the Palestinian side to cease incitement, stop naming streets and plazas after various [terrorist] 'engineers.' Stop inciting and working against the State of Israel in all sorts of international forums or the OECD, stop the boycotts and all the opposition to us, filing lawsuits in The Hague."
"We've made enough gestures and seen nothing in return....We shouldn't have to pay for the pleasure of sitting at the table with the Palestinians, like we always have to pay. They should also have to pay. And first off, to get to the starting point, they should stop their rampant incitement against Jews and against Israel." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom toured the Kerem Shalom crossing to Gaza on Wednesday. He said, "Operations have been increased dramatically. We are talking about 250, and sometimes even 280, trucks that cross over here every day, compared to 80 or 100 a day beforehand. We often reach a point when there is no longer any demand from the Gazan side."
"There is a cognitive dissonance where on one hand we give and on the other we still hear abusive statements, but we will continue giving as long as the help goes toward public needs. We will not allow goods to be used for terrorist activities," Shalom said. "Today everyone in the international community knows that there is no shortage of goods in Gaza." (Jerusalem Post)
134 employees arrive at the Rami Levy supermarket in Shaar Binyamin every morning, some from Jewish towns in the West Bank and 60 from Arab villages. In one of the departments, Halef from Jab'a and Avi from Adam sit next to each other. Ever since the supermarket branch was opened five years ago, Palestinians and settlers work there in a near idyllic state.
Their friendships continue even after work hours, though it is usually the Palestinians that visit their Jewish friends and not the other way around. Recently, the employees have felt unease as rumors have started that a prohibition will soon be issued against working for Jews. "I have worked with Jews for 17 years," said Sofian, manager of the grocery department. "I can't believe this will stop."
In the Barkan industrial zone, 5,000 people are employed in 120 factories. About half of them are Palestinian. Yusuf, from Kifl Harith, is in charge of production at the Shamir Salads factory. "We don't believe it will happen," he said. "These are just empty declarations....There are very good relations between us. We have been working together for years, since the previous intifada....What is more peaceful than working together?" he said. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
According to the FBI, there were 28 anti-Islamic incidents in 2000. That number climbed to 481 the year a bunch of Muslim terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans in the name of Islam on Sept. 11. Now, that was a hate crime. The following year, the number of anti-Islamic hate-crime incidents dropped to 155. The number has hovered around the mid-100s or lower ever since. Even one hate crime is too many. But does that sound like an anti-Muslim backlash to you?
In every year since 9/11, more Jews in the U.S. have been hate-crime victims than Muslims. In 2001, there were twice as many anti-Jewish incidents as there were anti-Muslim. In 2002 and pretty much every year since, anti-Jewish incidents have outstripped anti-Muslim ones by at least 6 to 1. Why aren't we talking about the anti-Jewish climate in America? Because there isn't one. And there isn't an anti-Muslim climate either. (Los Angeles Times)
Yes Virginia, there is a big bad lobby that distorts U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East way out of proportion to its actual support by the American public. But the offending lobby is not AIPAC, which supports Israel, but rather the Arab lobby, which opposes the Jewish state. The Arab lobby is one of the strongest in America - even stronger than Israel's, says Mitchell Bard in How the Arab Lobby Rules America.
Bard puts it this way: "While the Israeli lobby has hundreds of thousands of grass root members and public opinion polls consistently reveal a huge gap between support for Israel and the Arab nations/Palestinians, the Arab lobby has almost no foot soldiers or public sympathy. It's most powerful elements tend to be bureaucrats who represent only their personal views or what they believe are their institutional interests, and foreign governments that care only about their national interests, not those of the United States....[They have] almost unlimited resources to try to buy what they usually cannot win on the merits of their arguments."
Saudi Arabia has virtually no support among Americans. Yet, as Bard demonstrates, the Saudi lobby has beaten the pro-Israel lobby over and over again in head to head conflicts, such as the sale of sophisticated weapons to a regime that doesn't even have the technical skills to use them, and the conflict over whether to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. (Daily Beast)
Mideast Peace Process Is a Mirage - George F. Will (Washington Post)
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