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 22, 2010
Evidence Links Hizbullah to Hariri Death - Colum Lynch (Washington Post)
Photo: Israel from Space - at Night (NASA)
Poll: Most Palestinians See Two-State Solution as Precursor to Single Palestinian State - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The U.S. has given Israel a written guarantee that it won't pressure the Jewish state for additional settlement freezes if it accepts a limited 90-day construction moratorium to revive Mideast peace talks, a top Israeli official said Saturday. "A commitment not to ask an additional freeze after 90 days was written by the Americans," National Security Adviser Uzi Arad told Israel Channel 2 TV. "What is important - and the prime minister insists on this - is that it be clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that this is the last freeze, there won't be an additional request, there won't be any American demands for freezes or other restrictions," Arad said. He also said the 20 F-35 stealth fighter jets being discussed are not a gift and that Israel will be buying them.
Arad said he wasn't certain a final peace agreement could be reached with Abbas, saying the Palestinian leader's imposition of preconditions and opting out of talks so early "raises question marks." But Arad said negotiations should continue and that the sides shouldn't rule out an interim agreement. (AP)
See also Abbas: No Negotiations Without Jerusalem Freeze - Amy Teibel
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned on Sunday that he would not accept a U.S. proposal for resuming peace talks unless Israel stops building homes for Jews in east Jerusalem. In Israel's inner Cabinet that is to vote on the moratorium, the Shas Party, which holds the swing votes, has demanded a written assurance from the U.S. that construction in east Jerusalem would not be affected. (AP)
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy said Saturday that Iran poses the main threat that NATO's planned anti-missile defense shield is designed to foil. "No name appears in the documents made public by NATO, but let's call a spade a spade: today's missile threat, it's Iran," Sarkozy said at the NATO summit in Lisbon. The 28-member alliance had earlier agreed on a plan to design a network of radars and interceptor rockets to shoot down missiles targeted at NATO member states, and to invite Russia to take part. NATO member Turkey insisted that Iran not be singled out as a threat in official policy documents. (AFP)
German software engineer Ralph Langner, who in September was the first to report that the Stuxnet computer worm was apparently designed to sabotage targets in Iran, said Friday that the program contained two separate "digital warheads," designed to disable both Iranian centrifuges used to enrich uranium and steam turbines at the Bushehr nuclear power plant.
He described two different attack modules that are designed to run on different industrial controllers made by Siemens. "It appears that warhead one and warhead two were deployed in combination as an all-out cyberstrike against the Iranian nuclear program," he wrote. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Tel Aviv is likely to be on the front lines in the next large military confrontation, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, the head of Military Intelligence, warned the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday. "The quiet should not fool us," Yadlin said. "Our enemies are getting stronger and arming." "Iran's tentacles extend to all those who are working against Israel," he said. "In the next confrontation there is a likelihood that more than one front may erupt, and Tel Aviv will be turned into the front lines." (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli UN Ambassador Meron Ruben filed an official complaint on Saturday with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon following Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza. Starting on 18 November 2010, "a barrage of rockets and mortars were fired at Israeli towns and civilians from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. These attacks included the launch of a long-range rocket at the Israeli town of Ofakim, causing damage to property and livestock, which was followed by a barrage of seven mortars - some of which apparently contained white phosphorus - that were fired into the area around the city of Ashkelon and into the Eshkol region in the south. In addition, two Kassam rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into the Merhavim region in southern Israel."
"These incidents are only the latest in a series of attacks carried out by Hamas and other terrorist organizations, which have launched some 8,800 rockets from Gaza against Israeli towns since 2001....These attacks reflect the continued buildup of arms and munitions by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. These latest incidents - a clear violation of international law - demonstrate the acute security threats facing Israel on a daily basis." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
The Israeli Cabinet Sunday approved a five-year plan for the continued development of Jerusalem's Western Wall plaza and its environs. The plan is designed to preserve - and improve accessibility to - archaeological findings, upgrade physical and transportation infrastructures, and hold educational activities for students and soldiers. The plan for 2011-2015 is a direct continuation of the five-year plan approved in 2004, which led to a major increase in the annual number of visitors to the Western Wall from two million people to eight million in 2009.
The Western Wall is the most visited site in Israel. Thus, it is necessary to meet the traffic needs of private vehicles and public transportation, create access routes for emergency vehicles, increase access for the handicapped and provide for the flow of visitors on weekdays and holidays. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The Western Wall is the Jewish People's most important heritage site." (Prime Minister's Office)
See also Palestinians Brand Western Wall Plaza Plan "Illegal" (AFP-Gulf Times-Qatar)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The U.S. believes that if it can end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its fraught relationship with the Muslim world will greatly improve, thereby allowing America to accomplish much that is currently eluding it in places like Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, not to mention easing its role as the prime guarantor of Israel's own security.
Many Israelis dismiss this as a form of magical thinking. Mark Heller, a researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, says, "Let's assume that you've resolved the conflict or that Israel has disappeared or that Israel and the United States are now enemies. Will the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq suddenly start making love? Will the Sunnis, Shiites and Christians in Lebanon get together? Will it end the oppression of Christians in Egypt? Will it raise the status of women or put an end to the use of violence as a political weapon in the Muslim world? It's a total illusion." (New York Times)
Obama's preoccupation with stopping Israel's settlement expansion in the West Bank and Jerusalem is a campaign that even Palestinian and Arab leaders have watched with bafflement. The settlements have become a sideshow; the real issues concern how to create a Palestinian state in a Middle East where the greatest threat is not Israeli but Iranian expansionism. What to do about Hamas and Hizbullah and their Iranian-supplied weapons? How to ensure that the post-occupation West Bank does not become another Iranian base? The Obama administration seems to have no strategy for these issues. (Washington Post)
Speaking in Lisbon during NATO's summit, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that the alliance is prepared to consider sending a peacekeeping force to enforce an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. According to Florence Gaub, a scholar at the NATO Defense College in Rome, a NATO force in Palestine would "need forces ranging from 43,700 to 76,000 men." But aside from her assessment that "NATO's mission in Palestine would have slim chances of success and a high probability of failure," what are the chances that NATO countries, that found it hard to contribute an additional few thousand men to Afghanistan, would give 76,000 for Palestine? (Commentary)
U.S. Support for '67 Borders Would Break Deal with Israel - Malvina Halberstam (Jerusalem Post)
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