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|
September 6, 2010
Report: Iran Pays $1,000 for Each U.S. Soldier Killed by the Taliban (Ynet News)
Israeli Helps Cracks Illegal Money Transfer to Iran (Ynet News)
Top Iran Cleric Rejects Holocaust as "Superstition" (AFP)
Ireland Delays EU Deal with Israel on Data Transfers - Laurence Peter (BBC News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas one-on-one every two weeks to discuss "the agenda for a peace agreement," he said Sunday. "I believe that what is needed now in order to move the process is not multiplicity of [negotiation] teams but rather decisions of leaders," Netanyahu said. (CNN)
See also Mideast Talks to Resume in Jerusalem - Matthew Lee
U.S. officials said Sunday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would join Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem on Sept. 15, following discussions Sept. 14 in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik. (AP)
A series of blasts ripped through a building in the Hizbullah-dominated village of Shehabiyeh in southern Lebanon on Friday. Israel's military said Saturday that surveillance footage from drones shows that the explosions occurred at a residential building used by Hizbullah as a weapons depot. The footage shows Hizbullah militants removing weapons from the site and transferring them to other Hizbullah facilities.
Israeli military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said it was the third time this year that explosions have torn through a Hizbullah weapons cache. She accused the group of maintaining military facilities - including bunkers and storage depots for large quantities of weapons - in 160 villages across southern Lebanon. The blasts occurred south of the Litani River, a zone where Hizbullah is banned from keeping weapons under a UN resolution that ended the 2006 war. (AP-Washington Post)
See also Video: Explosion of a Hizbullah Weapons Storage Facility (Israel Defense Forces)
Iran's government used annual pro-Palestinian demonstrations Friday to renew its threat to wipe Israel off the map, while dissident leaders accused the regime of using verbal attacks on Israel to divert attention from its battle with domestic political opponents. Iranian President Ahmadinejad attacked Washington's efforts to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians, saying no one has the right to negotiate away any Palestinian land. Ahmadinejad called on all Muslims to prepare for a final battle to free Jerusalem.
Dissident leader Mir Hossein Mousavi issued a statement saying, "The orchestrated violence against the opposition shows that the occupation of Jerusalem and Israel is just an excuse. They consider their real enemy people who are fighting to free our country from oppression." Mousavi also condemned an attack on another opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, whose Tehran residence was raided Thursday by militia members loyal to the government. (Wall Street Journal)
See also Palestinian Authority Lashes Out at Ahmadinejad over Remarks
The Iranian president, "who does not represent the Iranian people, who falsified elections and took power by fraud, does not have the right to talk about Palestine, its president or its representatives," PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rodeina said in a statement. We will not allow anyone to "threaten us or question the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organization" led by President Mahmoud Abbas, Rodeina added. (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
In the wake of drive-by shootings last week that killed four Israelis and wounded two others, the IDF has transferred two battalions to the West Bank to man checkpoints and patrol highways in an effort to prevent additional shooting attacks, amid assessments that Hamas will continue to perpetrate terror attacks as Israeli-Palestinian peace talks continue. In addition, Palestinian Authority security forces have rounded up close to 300 Palestinians affiliated with Hamas. (Jerusalem Post)
23 Shiite men were accused by the Bahrain government Saturday of belonging to a "terrorist network" intent on overthrowing the country's Sunni royal family. The official Bahraini news agency, BNA, reported that the men are members of a "sophisticated terrorist network with international support." Abdulrahman al-Sayed, a Bahraini public prosecution official, said the group's funds came through the misappropriation of charity donations and overseas funds supported by "foreign entities."
Riad Kahwaji, the chief executive officer of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (Inegma), said he believes "there could be an Iranian involvement." Suspected Iranian terrorist cells have been discovered in other Gulf countries such as Kuwait. "Iran has unprecedented influence on Shiite communities worldwide, especially in the Arab world," Kahwaji said. "Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet; there's a lot of history here that would lead us to point the finger at Iran." (National-UAE)
See also Shiite Coup Plot Foiled in Bahrain - Thanassis Cambanis
More than 160 people have been arrested by the minority Sunni government's security forces since Aug. 13 under terrorism laws, most of them linked to the Shiite majority's opposition political parties and to human rights groups. (New York Times)
See also Bahrain: A Beachhead for Iran?
The confrontation showcases Bahrain's role as the centerpiece for Gulf concerns about Iran. Bahrain has a sizable Shiite population that is seen as a possible beachhead for Iran on the Arab side of the Gulf. Hard-liners in Iran have often described Bahrain as Iran's "14th Province." Shadi Hamid, a Gulf affairs researcher at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, said: "There is more and more concern about Iranian influence even if it can be proven or not." (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
See also The Shiites of Saudi Arabia - Joshua Teitelbaum
As the Saudis move to restrain the rising strength of Iran and the Shiites outside the kingdom, they keep an ever-watchful eye over their own Shiite population. The ascendancy of the Shiites in Iraq and Lebanon has given rise to a feeling of empowerment among the Shiites of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Shiites constitute 10-15% of the population, and about 33% of the population in the Eastern Province.
During the 1990s the nature of relations between the Saudi regime and the Shiites changed from confrontation to accommodation. But one organization accepted neither engagement nor accommodation with the Saudi regime. This was Hezbollah al-Hijaz, known also as Saudi Hezbollah and Ansar Khat al-Imam (Followers of Imam Khomeini). They follow the marjaiyya of Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, and they are politically loyal to him. It is this group that is usually held responsible for the bombing of the Khobar Towers complex in Dhahran in 1996, which killed 19 American servicemen. The attack was carried out with Iranian support. The writer is a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law and the Hoover Institution. (Current Trends in Islamist Ideology)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
One mistake is to intrude too deeply and too often in what must be a bilateral negotiation. The Israelis and Palestinians do not negotiate seriously when U.S. officials are in the room; instead, they take positions designed to elicit American approval. The Bush administration tried trilateral talks, and the two sides argued more when we were present than when we were not. It's no accident that negotiations that yielded agreements, such as Oslo, were not only begun without us at the table but were kept secret from us. The U.S. role is critical, but mostly in cajoling and reasoning with both parties - separately.
Another mistake would be to seek a "framework agreement." The difficult compromises necessary for a final-status agreement that resolves all the core issues will be made at the very end. Asking the parties to announce their "fundamental compromises" on the core issues when a final-status agreement is years away is asking them to commit political suicide. Efforts to force the parties to announce their bottom lines in advance of the final settlement will never succeed. The writer, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush. (Washington Post)
Only 1 in 3 Palestinians support the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, according to a late August poll by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion. The public's political fatigue after decades of alternating between peace talks and uprising was on display on Wednesday in Ramallah. Despite the widespread criticism of Abbas' decision to attend the talks, only a few hundred Palestinians showed up at a rally sponsored by political parties opposed to the current peace process. At the same time, a June survey by the Palestinian Center for Public Survey Research found that a majority of Palestinians also oppose a resumption of the armed uprising against Israel and more than two-thirds doubt that a new nonviolent uprising would achieve their goals either. (Christian Science Monitor)
What Abbas Wants - Hillel Frisch (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies/Bar-Ilan University)
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