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 24, 2010
Egypt's Islamists - Aryn Baker and Abigail Hauslohner (TIME)
A Second Look at the Silwan Incident (YouTube)
Princeton to Vote on Boycotting Israeli Hummus - Samson Schatz (Daily Princetonian)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors reported Tuesday that when visiting the main Iranian enrichment plant at Natanz on Nov. 16, they found that engineers had stopped feeding uranium into the long rows of centrifuges. Six days later, Iran said it had restarted the process. Independent experts suggested that the computer worm suspected of being aimed at Iran's nuclear program had caused the machines to break down. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, said the new disclosures made incapacitation from the Stuxnet worm "sound more credible."
American officials have not claimed responsibility for the worm, but they do say the Obama administration has stepped up a broad covert program, inherited from the Bush administration, to undermine Iran's nuclear program.
The report added that the atomic agency "remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear-related activities," including "development of a nuclear payload for a missile." (New York Times)
See also IAEA Report Confirms Iran Temporarily Shut Down Centrifuges - Glenn Kessler
"The shutdown is definitely interesting," said Ivanka Barzashka, research associate at the Federation of American Scientists. "It is consistent with replacing all of the software operating your controls." The Institute for Science and International Security in Washington noted that nearly 4,000 centrifuges sit idle at the facility, and the average monthly production of low-enriched uranium per centrifuge declined by about 10%. (Washington Post)
Syria is refusing UN nuclear inspectors access to multiple suspect sites and has provided scant or inconsistent information about its atomic activities, an International Atomic Energy Agency report showed. For over two years Syria has blocked IAEA access to the remains of a desert site which U.S. intelligence reports say was a nascent North Korean-designed nuclear reactor to produce bomb fuel. The site, known as either al-Kibar or Dair Alzour, was bombed to rubble by Israel in 2007. The report showed Syria dodging agency questions about nuclear material, failing to keep to an inspection and monitoring plan agreed to earlier this year, and giving inconsistent information in letters to the IAEA. (Reuters)
Painstaking efforts by President Ahmadinejad of Iran to build support in Africa were dealt a blow on Tuesday when the west African state of Gambia gave Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave, in a move that appears linked to the seizure in Nigeria last month of an Iranian consignment of rockets and explosives. The Nigerian authorities believe that the arms supplies were destined for Gambia. (Financial Times-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said there has not been progress in reaching a deal with the U.S. on a West Bank construction freeze, Army Radio reported on Wednesday. Reports coming from Washington on Tuesday had said that the two parties finalized the text of such a deal. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Report: U.S. Completes Letter on Freeze Deal - Hilary Leila Krieger and Herb Keinon
The parties have finalized the text for the U.S. letter to Israel concerning the terms of a renewed settlement freeze, according to Middle East expert David Makovsky. Makovsky, who spoke at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Tuesday, referred to a "verbal affirmation" from Netanyahu to Secretary of State Clinton that there would be "meaningful progress" on border issues during the 90-day freeze. (Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev called on the Palestinian leadership Tuesday to publicly disassociate itself from the PA "study" denying Jewish claims to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. "Denying the Jewish connection to the Western Wall is to deny reality. If you deny the Jewish connection to the Western Wall you are in fact denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Land of Israel itself," Regev said. "When they deny the Jewish connection, they are unfortunately raising very serious questions as to their true commitment to reconciliation."
Regev said this type of statement was to be expected from "Ahmadinejad's Iran, Hizbullah or Hamas, but to deny the Jewish connection to the Western Wall is something that we wouldn't expect from a partner in peace, and I call upon the Palestinian leadership, President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, to publicly disassociate themselves from it." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
President Obama's peace process is viewed almost universally in Israel as a mistake-riddled fantasy. Talks with Arab states over gestures intended to build Israeli confidence - a key part of Obama's initial plan - have long since been scrapped. And in the world's most pro-American state, the public and its leaders have lost any faith in Obama and - increasingly - even in the notion of a politically negotiated peace. Virtually nobody in Israel who isn't required by the logic of politics to express public faith in the political process of peace talks has much faith that the talks will lead anywhere. (Politico)
The Palestinians are one of the world's largest beneficiaries of foreign aid, receiving over $3 billion annually (not including the budget of UNRWA itself). In 2009, over 60% of Palestine's gross national income, and almost 100% of government expenditure, came from aid. PA budgets allocate ten times more money to security than to agriculture.
The Palestinians' NGO sector has become a byword for corruption, incompetence and meaningless job creation. Thousands of NGOs have sprung up, bloating the aid industry without delivering long-term benefits. Naseef Mu'allem, director-general of the Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy, revealed that "JICA - the Japanese government aid mission - invested $5 million last year, but practically what they spent is $600,000. The rest is given as salaries, accommodation, hotels...and transportation for the foreign employees here but not for the Palestinians." (Guardian-UK)
Jerusalem, the historic capital of Israel, should not be an impediment to Mideast peace. But thanks to the current intransigence of Palestinian leaders, that is precisely what it has become. The Palestinian demand for a total construction freeze in Jerusalem as a precondition for talks is a new demand. Construction in Jerusalem has never been an impediment to peace or peace negotiations. Historic agreements were reached with both Egypt and Jordan despite ongoing construction in the city. More than 15 years of construction in Jerusalem went on while Israel held meaningful peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
Dividing a city never works. No city in all of recorded history has been cleaved into two halves without damaging the whole. Jerusalem must be unified under a single flag that recognizes and guarantees the rights of all its citizens. It is time for the U.S. government to make that point clear - rather than continuing to equate building in Jerusalem with building elsewhere in disputed land. At some point during any successful peace negotiations, the Palestinian leadership will have to choose between an opportunity to build a Palestinian state, or pursuing a weak and unrealistic claim to Israel's capital. The writer is director of public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. (New York Daily News)
Israel's Critics Are Afraid of Democracy - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)
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