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|
November 4, 2010
Jewish Members in the Next U.S. Congress (JTA)
U.S. Poll: 57 Percent Support Israel, 5 Percent Palestinians (Israel Project)
Lebanon's Garbage Blights Israel's Beaches - Zafrir Rinat (Ha'aretz)
Palestinians Complain of Widespread Torture in PA Detention Centers (ABNA-Iran)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israel announced Wednesday it will officially monitor incitement by the Palestinians, taking aim at what it says are widespread provocations against the Jewish state that undermine efforts to reach Mideast peace. Israel claims that Palestinian leaders promote - or tolerate - hatred in school textbooks, public speeches and their official media. Israelis have especially bristled at maps in schoolbooks and documents that do not designate Israel, and Palestinian TV broadcasts of mosque leaders denigrating Jews.
All this feeds off - and perhaps amplifies - what Israelis consider a hostile atmosphere, reflected in the fact that militants who carried out deadly attacks against Israeli civilians are widely regarded as heroes in the Palestinian territories. Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, said incitement has increased since peace talks resumed in September. (AP-Washington Post)
The midterm elections focused almost exclusively on domestic issues. But Tuesday's outcome may result in Republicans using their new strength to question the president's policies toward countries such as Syria and Israel. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a strong supporter of Israel, will probably take command of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, replacing Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who had been largely sympathetic to Obama's agenda. (Washington Post)
The Obama administration's decision to sell $60 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia has prompted concerns from the top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. A letter being circulated by Reps. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) stops short of opposing the sale, but raises "the potential repercussions for our friends and for our own forces in the region in the event of political change in Saudi Arabia."
"We have serious concerns about the nature of Saudi involvement in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, particularly since the Saudis have failed to take steps toward normalization of relations with Israel or to augment their financial support to the Palestinian Authority." (Bloomberg)
See also Arms for the King and His Family: The U.S. Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia - Joshua Teitelbaum
The U.S. State Department has notified Congress of the biggest arms sale in American history - a $60 billion purchase by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Totally offensive in nature, the package, with its attack planes, helicopters, and "bunker-buster" bombs, was clearly designed to deter Iran. King Abdullah has also significantly upgraded the Saudi Arabian National Guard, which amounts to the personal militia of his family faction. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians during a Knesset debate on Wednesday, saying: "Rejecting Israel's right to exist certainly doesn't advance reconciliation between the nations and our desire to bring about a peace agreement. The Palestinians made an official commitment in this regard - as part of the Wye agreement and other agreements. I promise to discuss this commitment during the process, but for now I want the process to move forward without preconditions."
"If (the process) fails, it will be because the Palestinian Authority is trying to bypass the negotiations and move the process to the international track." (Ynet News)
See also Text of Prime Minister's Remarks (Prime Minister's Office)
On Wednesday, the Israel Foreign Ministry suspended cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that relations with UNESCO would not be restored until it retracted its statement last week that two ancient biblical sites - the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb - were an integral part of the "occupied" Palestinian territories. Ayalon said that the Palestinian Authority was behind the statement in another attempt to delegitimize Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
The IDF and Israel Security Agency confirmed on Wednesday that they were responsible for the explosion in Gaza City that killed Muhammad Jamal al-Namnam, a senior field commander in the Army of Islam, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Gaza. Al-Namnam was involved in attacks against Israeli targets and recently planned to carry out more attacks against Israeli and American targets in the Sinai Peninsula. (Ynet News)
"The Israeli army targeted a ticking bomb," said army spokeswoman Lt.-Col. Avital Leibovitz. (Bloomberg)
See also Are American/Multi-National Forces in Sinai Targets? - Lenny Ben-David
The 1,800 Multi-National Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai are sitting ducks for terrorists. The lightly armed soldiers come from 11 nations, but by far the largest contingent is from the U.S. (I*Consult)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Experience has shown that the composition of Congress does not necessarily determine Washington's approach to the Middle East. The most relevant example would be President Clinton's dealings with Israel during his second term. Though Republicans had a majority in both the House and the Senate, Clinton managed to force Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu into withdrawing from parts of the West Bank under an interim deal with the Palestinians.
"Yes, a Republican Congress will raise the domestic political cost of confronting Israel," says Jonathan Rynhold, an expert on Israel-U.S. relations at the BESA Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv. "But there are plenty of ways to pressure Israel without Congress." The bottom line: U.S. policy won't change much as far as Israel is concerned. (Newsweek)
Turkey's dramatic announcement that it revised the list of countries which it believes threaten its national security confirms Ankara's strategic drift away from the West and greater embrace of Iran and other states hostile to the U.S. These alterations prove the ascent of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's "neo-Ottoman" geopolitical approach and the continuation of a staunchly anti-Israel foreign policy. Turkey removed Russia, Iran, Armenia, Iraq and Syria from the list. Finally, Turkey has put its former strategic and trade partner Israel at the forefront of the list as a "severe threat."
The Obama administration should express grave concern over Turkey's foreign policy trajectory, as relations with Iran and Israel have become a litmus test for the course of Turkish foreign policy. (Heritage Foundation)
Today marks 15 years since an assassin's bullet killed my friend, Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister. On the occasion of the anniversary of his death, the world would do well to remember the lessons of his life: his vision for freedom, tolerance, cooperation, security and peace is as vital now as it was 15 years ago. The story of Yitzhak Rabin and the story of Israel are intertwined. He took up arms to defend Israel's freedom, and laid down his life to secure Israel's future. (New York Times)
Obama Mustn't Force a Final Deal - Ari Shavit (Ha'aretz)
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