Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
PA TV to Kids: Israeli Cities Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramle, Acre Are All "Occupied Cities" - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch) Two Men on United Flight from Chicago Arrested on 'Preparation of a Terrorist Attack' in Amsterdam - Richard Esposito, Christine Brouwer and Brian Ross (ABC News) Israel Set to Build Wings for Some 800 F-35 Jets (ABC/Reuters)
PA TV to Kids: Israeli Cities Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramle, Acre Are All "Occupied Cities" - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
Two Men on United Flight from Chicago Arrested on 'Preparation of a Terrorist Attack' in Amsterdam - Richard Esposito, Christine Brouwer and Brian Ross (ABC News)
Israel Set to Build Wings for Some 800 F-35 Jets (ABC/Reuters)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
The diplomatic calendar from an Israeli perspective for September is filled with political land mines. To start, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to release a report on the Memorial Day flotilla incident in which nine pro-Palestinian activists aboard a Turkish aid ship seeking to break a blockade of Gaza were killed in a battle with Israeli commandos. Then the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council is expected to issue a follow-up on a report issued in 2009 by Judge Richard Goldstone regarding the Gaza war in late 2008 and early 2009.
Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said one Israeli goal in the talks is to make sure Israel is diplomatically protected from efforts he said would be aimed at delegitimizing Israel's defense of its territory. Mr. Gold also served as a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Netanyahu in his first term as prime minister from 1996 to 1999.
"Israel must be certain that should it withdraw and then find the security situation deteriorating, requiring Israeli military action, that the U.N. does not bring Justice Goldstone out of retirement and launch a whole new series of investigations into how Israel defended itself," Mr. Gold said. "Hopefully, any new peace arrangements will include a parallel set of understandings to avert this situation."
P.J. Crowley, State Department spokesman, said in an interview Monday that "it has been extremely difficult to get the parties for a variety of reasons to where we are this week. But now that we are entering direct negotiations, something that we want, the Israelis want, the Palestinians want and other countries in the region want, everyone assumes a responsibility to avoid any actions that can create obstacles to progress. The last thing we need right now is another Goldstone-like controversy." (Washington Times)
Israel's outgoing UN ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, calls her job "an almost impossible mission," but she's still heading home on a note of hope. The impending resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks comes as a welcome change after nearly two years of having to contend with the fallout from Israel's deadly actions involving Gaza and a cooler relationship with the Obama administration.
Shalev said in a farewell interview that despite near-constant criticism, she believes it's important for Israel to remain an active member of the world body. (AP/Washington Post)
On the eve of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's departure for Washington to relaunch peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Defense Minister Ehud Barak secretly met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman on Monday night after having met Jordanian King Abdullah at his palace on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
Two-thirds of Palestinians are in favor of either direct or indirect negotiations with Israel, the results of a new poll released Monday finds. The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion surveyed over 1,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem [sic] and Gaza earlier this month, ahead of the resumption of direct talks in Washington on 2 September.
Around one-third (31.7 percent) of Palestinians were in favor of resuming direct negotiations, while 31.1 percent favored continuing indirect talks.
Palestinians expressed pessimism about U.S. involvement, however. A clear majority (79.4 percent) believe the visit of the U.S. envoy George Mitchell will not lead to any progress in the peace process, while two-thirds do not think U.S. President Barack Obama was capable of establishing a Palestinian state. (Ma'an News Agency - Bethlehem)
Hamas has completed a series of experiments on its advanced Fajar rocket, which has a range of almost 80 kilometers (50 miles) and can reach as far Kfar Saba, northeast of Tel Aviv, experts say. In a few months, Hamas will be able to begin manufacturing the rockets. The long-range rockets acquired by Hamas are of the Fajar-5 type, and it is believed that they arrived in the Strip via the Sinai peninsula. Israel believes that the rockets were developed by scientists working for the organization and for research institutes located in Arab countries in the region. (YnetNews)
When this spring the Pew Global Attitudes Project asked residents of Islamic countries what they thought about Obama, he got good marks when it came to such matters as climate change. But when the question was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the numbers not only declined in Indonesia and Turkey, they nearly went through the floor in the three Arab countries polled. In Jordan, 84 percent disapproved of the way Obama was handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In Egypt, the figure was 88 percent and in Lebanon it was 90 percent.
They strongly suggest that his attempt to woo the Arab world, to convince it that America can be an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians, has dismally failed. In fact, the extent of this failure is most stark in Lebanon. There, 100 percent of Shiite respondents -- in other words, Hizbullah and others -- have no faith in Obama and his good intentions. This may be a setback for Obama, but it is paradoxically a success for American values.
What the Arab world seems to appreciate is that America will never agree to what the Arab world most wants -- an Islamic state where a Jewish one now exists. This entirely reasonable conclusion is based on what has long been American policy -- not what the State Department wanted but what the American people supported. America has always liked the idea of Israel. The Arab world, for totally understandable reasons, has always hated it. Nothing has changed.
This week, Palestinians and Israelis will once again talk peace in Washington. But until both sides, particularly the Arab peoples, give up on what they really want, the clock will remain where it has been. (New York Daily News)
Pessimism about these talks is understandable, given the depressing history of failed peace attempts, but it is no excuse for the leaders not to make a serious effort, and Mr. Obama is right to try to compel them to do that. (New York Times)
The main sources of leverage on the parties are U.S. aid dollars, but Mr. Obama gains nothing from pressuring Israel, unless he wants to alienate more American Jewish voters, and he would never cut aid to the economically stricken Palestinians. There are few new peace approaches being discussed, and the ground has been trod so often, there is little U.S. diplomats can bring to the process other than a deadline that all sides can ignore. (Washington Times)
The Long History of Anti-Semitism in Muslim Lands - Robert Fulford (National Post - Canada)
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