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 15, 2010
PA Knows It Must Keep Talking Even If Building Freeze Ends - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Poll: Americans' Support for Israel Up Following Restart of Talks (Ha'aretz)
Hamas Prime Minister's Bodyguard Smuggles Gold into Gaza - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
Deradicalization an Essential Counter-Terrorism Component - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
New Israel Public Diplomacy Website (Israel Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
American Middle East envoy George Mitchell said Tuesday he thinks the U.S.-brokered direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks "are moving in the right direction overall," after a three-way U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. "The parties have agreed to begin first on working to achieve a framework agreement for permanent status. That work is now well under way," Mitchell said. The venue will shift to Jerusalem Wednesday to, as a senior U.S. official said, "put the focus on the Israeli-Palestinian channel and to regularize the dialogue." (VOA News)
Western diplomats say they are alarmed by reports that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has negotiated a deal with Iranian President Ahmadinejad for Tehran to make a substantial contribution to the campaign funds of Turkey's Islamic AKP party. Under the terms of the deal Iran has agreed to transfer $12 million to the AKP, with further payments of up to $25 million to be made later in the year. The money is said to be meant to help support Erdogan's campaign for re-election for a third term in next year's general election. Diplomats also say Iran has agreed to provide financial support for the Turkish Islamic charity IHH which supported last May's aid flotilla. (Telegraph-UK)
Former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Tuesday criticized the Iranian government in unusually blunt terms, saying that it is not taking U.S.-led sanctions seriously enough and that Iran could become a "dictatorship." Business owners complain that the prices of raw materials are skyrocketing because of shortages. "We have never been faced with so many sanctions," Rafsanjani said at a meeting of an influential clerical council. Rafsanjani and Iranian President Ahmadinejad have long been rivals. (Washington Post)
See also German Bank Sanctioned for Ties to Iran
The U.S. Treasury Department announced that it was sanctioning German bank Europaisch-Iranische Handelsbank (EIH) for "actively facilitating" business with Iranian banks that Washington says are connected to arms exporters in Iran. The Hamburg bank is accused of working with Iranian financial institutions Bank Mellat, Persia International Bank, the Export Development Bank of Iran and Post Bank of Iran, all of which are the subject of Washington and European sanctions. Stuart Levey, the U.S. undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said EIH was acting as a "financial lifeline" for Iran. EIH is the 17th financial institution designated by the U.S. for alleged ties to Iranian weapons. (UPI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets and six mortar shells into Israel Wednesday morning, apparently stepping up attempts to scupper Middle East peace talks. One rocket exploded in an industrial zone just south of Ashkelon. (Ha'aretz)
See also Gaza Terrorists Fire Missile at IDF; Army Returns Fire - Yaakov Katz
After an IDF force operating near the Gaza security fence came under anti-tank fire on Tuesday, the IDF returned fire, killing one terrorist and wounding four others. (Jerusalem Post)
The Ahmadi Muslim sect, founded in 1889 in India, now numbers tens of millions of believers, mostly living outside the Arab world. "We believe in a tolerant, friendly and rational Islam," says Muhammad Sharif, head of the Ahmadis in Israel. Former Haifa Mayor Amram Mitzna notes that among this community there is "no incitement, violence, or feeling the need to conquer the whole world."
Yet members of the sect who live in the Palestinian Authority have been suffering from incessant persecution, confiscation of property, and physical violence during the past year. Muhammad Jaabri, 46, of Hebron, a married father of four, explains: "They have repeatedly written threats and curses on the walls of my house. They've burned my car twice, thrown rocks at my windows." A month ago Jaabri was attacked by a group of radical religious youth near his home. "They beat me with clubs, and I was in the hospital for days." After his release, "I went to the police to file a complaint and they sent me to PA security service investigators, where I was beaten again and jailed."
Muhammad Alawi, 34, from Tulkarm, was summoned to a PA Sharia court with his wife, who is not from an Ahmadi family, where she was ordered to leave her husband and return with her three children to her own family, who had initiated the legal proceedings. (Makor Rishon-Hebrew, 8Sep10)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
There is a serious problem in procedure in the latest Israeli-Palestinian talks. The Americans will sit in on the direct negotiations, something the Arab leaders wanted in the belief that the Obama administration is the most pro-Palestinian in history. The Israelis accepted only reluctantly. In all previous meetings, the Americans entered the talks in a serious way only at the endgame. The trouble with the current approach is that this will make it harder for the Israelis and the Palestinians to engage.
An example is Israel's 10-month-old moratorium on settlement construction, an Israeli gesture of good faith, put forth in the hope of a reciprocal response from the Palestinians. It was not forthcoming. In the culture of the Middle East, an unrequited gesture is not regarded as magnanimous but as a sign of weakness, and as such inviting further pressure. That, in part, is why the Israelis are unwilling to extend this moratorium. American officials must urge the Palestinian leadership to stop their threats and recognize that the talks will have to begin with both sides having to make concessions. (U.S. News)
See also Sides Speak More with U.S. than with Each Other - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
Imagine that you're a parent who sends her children off to school in the morning worrying whether their bus will become a target of suicide bombers. Imagine that, instead of going off to college, your children become soldiers at age 18, serve for three years and remain in the active reserves into their 40s. Imagine that you've seen rockets raining down on your neighborhood and have lost close family and friends to terrorist attacks. Picture all of that and you'll begin to understand what it is to be an Israeli. And you'll know why all Israelis desperately want peace.
Yes, many Israelis are skeptical about peace. We withdrew our troops from Lebanon and Gaza in order to generate peace, and instead received thousands of missiles crashing into our homes. We negotiated with the Palestinians for 17 years and twice offered them an independent state, only to have those offers rejected. Over the last decade, we saw more than 1,000 Israelis - proportionally the equivalent of about 43,000 Americans - killed by suicide bombers, and tens of thousands maimed. We watched while Palestinian mothers praised their martyred children and wished to sacrifice others for jihad.
When Arab leaders such as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat or King Hussein of Jordan offered genuine peace to Israel, our people passionately responded and even made painful concessions. That most Israelis are still willing to share their ancestral homeland with a people that has repeatedly tried to destroy them is nothing short of miraculous. The writer is Israel's ambassador to the U.S. (Los Angeles Times)
Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People: From the San Remo Conference (1920) to the Netanyahu-Abbas Talks - Joshua Teitelbaum (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The Palestinians make a distinction between recognizing the fact that the State of Israel exists and the recognition that it has the right to exist. The entire concept of "hudna" (long-term ceasefire) is based on an approach that espouses compromise in an effort to elicit what can be achieved now, without abandoning the intention to fight and get much more in the future. The way to curb future demands is to create a Palestinian obligation to accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. The writer chaired Israel's National Security Council from 2004 to 2006. (Ynet News)
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