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 17, 2010
Turkish Ire Hurting Israel's NATO Ties - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)
Arid Israel Recycles Waste Water on Grand Scale - Ari Rabinovitch (Reuters)
Is Anti-Semitism in Spain Really Endemic? - Adar Primor (Ha'aretz)
Muslims Burn Coptic Christian Homes in Egypt - Salah Nasrawi (Canadian Press)
Extraordinarily Ordinary Israel - Peter N. Hadar (Harvard Crimson)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, reiterating his long-standing opposition to a military attack on Iran, said Tuesday that new sanctions led by the Obama administration are causing divisions within the Iranian leadership. Sanctions "have really bitten much harder than [Iranian leaders] anticipated." "We even have some evidence that Khamenei now is beginning to wonder if Ahmadinejad is lying to him about the impact of the sanctions on the economy." "I personally believe they are intent on acquiring nuclear weapons, but also the information that we have is that they've been surprised by the impact of the sanctions." (Washington Post)
Hannah Rosenthal, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, told a conference on "Combating Anti-Semitism" in Ottawa, Canada, on Nov. 8: "Opposition to a policy by the State of Israel morphs into anti-Semitism easily and often. We record huge increases in anti-Semitism whenever there is activity in the Middle East. This form of anti-Semitism is more difficult for many to identify - but if all Jews are held responsible for the decisions of the sovereign State of Israel, when governments call upon and intimidate their Jewish communities to condemn Israeli actions, when academics from Israel are boycotted - this is not objecting to a policy - this is anti-Semitism."
"Our State Department uses Natan Sharansky's framework for identifying when someone or a government crosses the line - when Israel is demonized, when Israel is held to different standards than the rest of the countries, and when Israel is delegitimized. These cases are not disagreements with a policy of Israel, this is anti-Semitism. The U.S. is often the only "no" vote in international bodies who seem to have an obsession with condemning Israel." (U.S. State Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Disagreements with the U.S. are delaying Israel's inner cabinet from voting on a three-month moratorium on new construction in settlements. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu's envoy for the peace process, Yitzhak Molho, conducted marathon talks with senior advisers to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton over the text of the deal. Most of the disagreement concerns the American desire to remain vague over whether it will seek another freeze in three months' time. (Ha'aretz)
See also Israel Not Discussing Jerusalem Construction with U.S. - Attila Somfalvi
The Israeli Prime Minister's Office said that negotiations between Israel and the U.S. regarding the proposal to freeze settlement construction exclude building in Jerusalem. The PM's office denied reports suggesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu's demand to continue construction in Jerusalem was the main bone of contention. (Ynet News)
See also Israeli Official: Palestinians Trying to Foil Settlement Freeze Deal - Barak Ravid
The Palestinian Authority is trying to thwart understandings between Washington and Jerusalem regarding a package of American incentives that would come in return for a new three-month settlement freeze by Israel, a senior Israeli official said Tuesday. "The Palestinians claim that the understandings reached between Secretary of State Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu benefit Israel too much and deny the Palestinians leverage and bargaining chips," the Israeli official said.
"The political benefits that Israel would receive as part of the package of understanding with the U.S. are not acceptable to the Palestinians because they ease some of the pressure on Israel and make it impossible for [the Palestinians] to apply their strategy of evading direct talks and of trying to force Israel into an arrangement through UN resolutions," added the official. (Ha'aretz)
Israel's security cabinet approved on Wednesday a plan to withdraw Israeli forces from the northern part of Ghajar, an Arab village which straddles the Lebanese border. The IDF will leave the northern part of the village under the UN's authority. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Obama administration's efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks are less evocative of true grit than of desperate improvisation. We have no objection to the reported incentives. Despite their cost, the F-35s will help preserve Israel's margin of security at a time when Iran's nuclear program remains unchecked. Having largely created the impasse over settlements with pointless demands that Israel cease all building, President Obama will now pay dearly to take the issue off the table.
Administration officials appear to hope that in 90 days the territory of the new state can be mostly delineated, rendering the settlement issue moot. Yet past negotiations have revealed some big differences between the two sides on territory, and they are unlikely to be settled without trade-offs on other core issues, such as the disposition of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. (Washington Post)
The deal concluded last week in New York between Secretary of State Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu - if it gets through the Israeli cabinet and the Palestinians - should allow negotiations to resume in the wake of a three-month moratorium on settlements. Any advance in the world of Arab-Israeli negotiations is significant. The extension of the settlement moratorium will allow the administration to shift focus from settlements (where it had no chance to succeed) to the substance of the negotiations (where it must go if it wants an Israeli-Palestinian agreement).
The administration will be under enormous pressure to broker an agreement on borders and security within three months, or at least make enough progress to ensure that both sides have a stake in continuing. A rapidly ticking clock can be a catalyst if the issues on the table aren't consequential ones; if they are, time can work as an enemy, not an ally. Israelis and Palestinians don't want to be rushed into making mistakes or concessions on core issues. The writer is a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (Foreign Policy)
Syria has bounced back from years of international isolation and is wielding its influence in crises around the Middle East, shrugging off U.S. attempts to pull it away from its alliances with Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah. Now with Lebanon's factions heading for a possible new violent collision, Arabs have had to turn to Syria in hopes of ensuring peace, even as Damascus backs Lebanon's heaviest armed player, the Shiite militant group Hizbullah.
Since 2005, Washington - along with its Arab allies - hoped to squeeze Syrian influence out of its smaller neighbor Lebanon. But Arab powers that once shunned Damascus, particularly Saudi Arabia, have had to acknowledge its regional weight, holding talks to try to avert an explosion in Lebanon. Syria has "turned the page on isolation" by building its partnership with Saudi Arabia and asserting a role in Iraq, Peter Harling, a Syria-based Mideast analyst with the International Crisis Group, says.
President Obama has made repeated overtures to Damascus this year. Still, "Syria did not abandon Iran, Hamas, Hizbullah or its principles regarding the (Mideast) peace process," said Sami Moubayed, a Syrian political analyst. Relations with Washington have now chilled before they even had a chance to fully warm up. (AP-Washington Post)
What the PA Buys with American Money - Caroline B. Glick (Jerusalem Post)
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