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 16, 2010
China's Rise in the Middle East - David Schenker and Christina Lin (Los Angeles Times)
An Intricate Plot Unleashed in Mumbai, a New Threat to the West - Sebastian Rotella (ProPublica-Washington Post)
London Review of Books Targets Israel - Yaniv Halily (Ynet News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
When Israel agreed to a 10-month partial settlement freeze last year, U.S. officials said it was exactly what they needed to get talks with the Palestinians started. When the talks finally started in September - after the Palestinians balked at direct negotiations for nine months - U.S. officials again asserted that the sheer momentum of the talks would carry them past the end of the moratorium later that month. Yet the moratorium ended, and the talks flagged.
Now, U.S. officials are taking another leap of faith - on a 90-day settlement freeze. The theory is that if the sides can establish the borders of a Palestinian state, and it is clear which settlements will become part of Israel, the issue of settlement expansion will fade in importance and the talks will keep going. But virtually no analyst believes an agreement on borders is possible in 90 days.
Part of the problem is that Israel's main bargaining chip is land, and it would be required now to give up land without knowing precisely what it would get in return. "The question is whether Netanyahu and his coalition...are willing to sign an agreement that will effectively return Israel to the 1967 borders," Israeli political commentator Nahum Barnea wrote Monday in Yediot Ahronot. "Are they willing to do this even before the question of the right of return and the question of Jerusalem have been discussed?" (Washington Post)
Uzi Dayan, a former deputy chief of staff of the army, says a preliminary agreement on territorial concessions risks conceding Israel's territorial "strategic depth'' before reaching a full agreement. "It's like having a negotiation, and saying, 'First, give all your money, and then let's talk about the other issues.''' (Christian Science Monitor)
See also Israel Awaiting Written U.S. Settlement Freeze Terms
Israel is awaiting written details of a U.S. package of incentives being offered in exchange for a new ban on Jewish construction in the West Bank, a senior Israeli official said on Tuesday. "There are understandings between the U.S. secretary of state (Hillary Clinton) and the prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu), but it takes time for them to be put in writing, and we have to wait," Nir Hefetz, a senior communications advisor to Netanyahu, told Israeli military radio. (AFP)
See also Clinton: Netanyahu Making "Serious Effort" on Settlements (AFP)
The Stuxnet computer worm that infiltrated industrial systems in Iran this fall may have been specifically designed to attack the country's nuclear program. On Friday a Stuxnet researcher at Symantec said the worm targets industrial systems with high frequency "converter drives" from two specific vendors, including one in Iran. Independently, Langner Communications of Germany on Sunday discovered that another part of the worm's attack code is configured to match the structure of a turbine control system for steam turbines used in power plants, such as those installed at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. Langner also confirmed that the worm appears to attack key components of centrifuges.
"Rigging the speed control is a very clever way of causing the machines to fly apart," said Ivanka Barzashka, a research associate at the Federation of American Scientists. "If Symantec's analysis is true, then Stuxnet likely aimed to destroy Iran's gas centrifuges, which could produce enriched uranium for both nuclear fuel and nuclear bombs." (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
A report by a UN panel probing the assassination of former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which may indict top Hizbullah officials, could lead to Lebanon being taken over by Hizbullah, Army Radio quoted IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi as saying on Monday. Ashkenazi said that divisions in the Lebanese army cooperated with Hizbullah and even transferred weapons to the group. Ashkenazi also said the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were unable to implement their full mandate due to restrictions placed on them by Hizbullah. (Ha'aretz)
According to reports received by the Israel Foreign Ministry, the Trondheim (Norway) Municipality is funding a trip to New York for students taking part in the "Gaza Monologues" play, which "deals with the suffering of children in Gaza as a result of the Israeli occupation." It joins an exhibition by Norwegian artists displayed in Damascus, Beirut, and Amman, with the help of Norway's embassies. The exhibition shows killed Palestinian babies next to IDF helmets, which are reminiscent of Nazi soldiers' helmets, and an Israeli flag drenched in blood.
The Norwegians are also helping the distribution of a documentary film called "Tears of Gaza" to festivals across the world. The film makes no mention of the rockets fired at Israel by Hamas and Israel's right to defend itself. In addition, a book by two Norwegian doctors that accuses IDF soldiers of deliberately killing women and children is a bestseller in Norway and has been warmly recommended by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Store. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The decision to renew a settlement building freeze in the West Bank strengthens the incorrect perception that the Palestinians are the only lawful owners of all of the West Bank. Yet Netanyahu cannot afford to act as if the desire of the U.S. to pursue another round of peace talks is irrelevant. Actions that highlight the true obstacle to peace - Palestinian irredentism - are essential to maintaining the bipartisan, across-the-board support for Israel in the U.S.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be among the last people on Planet Earth to fail to understand that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has neither the will nor the interest in signing a peace accord, no matter where Israel's borders are drawn. As much as Netanyahu would have been justified in bluntly and publicly telling Obama and Clinton that their demand for another freeze was wrong, that would have meant putting his country in the position to be accused of saying "no" to peace. (Commentary)
Radical Islamism is an extremist sociopolitical ideology separate from the religion of Islam. Effectively contesting violent extremism requires countering the radical Islamist narrative. This means offering alternative narratives to strengthen the moderate Muslim center in the face of the Islamist threat. All elements of national power should be used to counter this narrative and debunk the notion that Muslims have a religious duty to commit acts of terror. (The Australian)
Syria and Hizbullah's top leader, Hassan Nasrallah, have bluntly warned the Lebanese government to halt cooperation with the international investigation into the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, or risk violent reprisals. A stable Lebanon, with a government that can stand up to outside intimidation and a national army in control of all its territory, is clearly not what Hizbullah wants. It is in the clear interest of the U.S. (New York Times)
Over to You, Mr. Abbas - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)
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