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|
October 21, 2010
Iran Increases Stockpile of 20-Percent-Enriched Uranium (Fars-Iran)
Blast in Hamas Compound in Gaza Wounds Five Children - Ibrahim Barzak (AP)
Hizbullah Riding on a Wave of Confidence - Daniel Steinvorth (Der Spiegel-Germany)
Egypt's Christians Fed to Muslim "Lions" - Raymond Ibrahim (Hudson Institute New York)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Palestinian leadership is increasingly focusing on how to get international bodies and courts to declare a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. Israeli officials reject the moves as unacceptable and a violation of the 1993 Oslo accords that govern Israeli-Palestinian relations. The Israelis say that what is really going on is a Palestinian effort to secure a state without having to make the difficult decisions on the borders and settlements that negotiations would entail.
One effort under way is at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which on Wednesday heard arguments on whether the Palestinian Authority could be recognized by the court in its charges against Israel's conduct in the 2008-9 Gaza war. The court only permits states to bring cases.
Dore Gold, a former Israeli UN ambassador, said in a telephone interview from The Hague that granting the Palestinians statehood by the ICC violated their treaties with Israel, "which state that the sides will not initiate one-sided steps that will change the status quo until the final status agreements." "If they win here, the big story that will come out of this is that one of the main legal bodies in the international community, the International Criminal Court, acknowledges that the Palestinian Authority already constitutes a state," he said. (New York Times/AP)
The U.S. Defense Department notified Congress on Wednesday it wants to sell to Saudi Arabia up to $60 billion in weapons to help confront threats from Iran and violent extremists. The proposed sale includes F-15 fighter jets, attack helicopters and satellite-guided bombs.
Israel isn't asking Congress for any particular steps in relation to the sale. "We're not thrilled about it," said Jonathan Peled, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Still, "we have a good, continuous and close dialogue with the administration and a strong, ongoing commitment to maintain Israel's military edge." (Bloomberg)
Iran is secretly trying to set up banks in Muslim countries around the world, including Iraq and Malaysia, using dummy names and opaque ownership structures to skirt sanctions that have increasingly curtailed the Islamic republic's global banking activities, U.S. officials say. Matthew Levitt, a former Treasury Department official and director of a counterterrorism and intelligence program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the banking operations, even if successfully created in other countries, are likely to be small-scale and insufficient to make up for the volume of banking activity Iran has lost. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Wednesday there is increasing concern that the Palestinians may go to the UN and ask for recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines, or for a resolution declaring the settlements illegal. Hoenlein said what was needed now was to work to ensure that the Americans, Europeans and others realize that a knee-jerk response to this type of proposal would be counterproductive. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Obama Should End Unilateral Statehood Threat
Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman called on the Obama administration to "close all doors" to a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. "The Palestinians are engaged in an effort to see if they can preemptively establish a state," Foxman said. "They seem to be engaged in this fantasy that the world will deliver them a state with very little. What it takes is for the U.S. to close every exit door and say 'Get off this kick, you will not have our support.'" (JTA)
Data found on a laptop of a Polish journalist, Ewa Jasiwicz, a passenger on the Gaza flotilla, indicates that the flotilla's organizers received assistance from the highest levels of the Turkish government, including Prime Minister Erdogan and other senior government officials. A record of a May 16 meeting held in Istanbul between the heads of the organizations involved and the captains of the vessels notes: "Turkey - Government did not announce openly support for the mission at first; but [in the] last few days, [we have been] getting direct support from PM and other ministers." (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, for 21 months the centerpiece of Obama administration Middle East policy, are moving inevitably toward collapse. Several ideas are circulating to skip bothersome negotiations with Israel and move immediately to Palestinian "statehood." In one, the PA would persuade the U.S. to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, within the pre-1967 cease-fire lines (often characterized, wrongly, as "borders"). The other would have the UN Security Council call upon UN members to recognize "Palestine" within those lines.
Israel would then confront a dramatic change in its international posture. Customary international law's definition of "statehood" requires that a putative state have clear boundaries. This is why the potential Security Council resolution would refer to Palestine as a state within the "1967 borders." A Security Council resolution fixing the 1967 lines as borders would call into question even Israel's legitimacy, dramatically undercutting prospects for security and defensibility. By defining "Palestine" to include territory Israel considers its own, such a resolution would delegitimize both Israel's authority and settlements beyond the 1967 lines, and its goal of an undivided Jerusalem as its capital. (Wall Street Journal)
The Middle East peace process appears to have reached an impasse, which was more or less expected. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians were particularly interested in negotiations in the first place. Politically, economically, and psychologically, the time could not be less ripe for serious talks dealing with the most sensitive final status issues.
Obama has demanded next to nothing of the Palestinians, and he seems unlikely to do so in the future. As such, his next step will likely be to further pressure Israel for concessions. Netanyahu, however, has conceded all that he can without toppling his own government, and since pressure from Obama serves only to strengthen the prime minister's support among the Israeli public, he has no motivation of any kind to acquiesce to it. (Pajamas Media)
The staff of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), numbering some 27,000, is four times the size of the workforce of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), deployed in every other conflict where refugees need help. The Arab world's refusal to integrate Palestinian refugees and the generosity of Western governments in providing more than 95% of UNRWA's funding has assured its existence. The U.S. provides more than 25% of UNRWA's $500 million annual budget. Arab nations account for about 1%.
In sharp contrast to the Palestinians, the 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands, also a product of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, were successfully absorbed in Israel and other countries around the world. The writer is the American Jewish Committee's director of communications. (Miami Herald)
Is Jerusalem Sacred for Muslims? - Hagai Mazuz and Harold Rhode (Hudson Institute New York)
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