Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Abbas: We Won't Recognize Israel as Jewish State - Elior Levy (Ynet News) Gilad Shalit Marks 25th Birthday in Captivity (BBC) Nasrallah Puts Hizbullah in the Dock - Ahmed Othman (Asharq Alawsat)
Abbas: We Won't Recognize Israel as Jewish State - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
Gilad Shalit Marks 25th Birthday in Captivity (BBC)
Nasrallah Puts Hizbullah in the Dock - Ahmed Othman (Asharq Alawsat)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
A West Bank Palestinian was accused of stealing a taxi and ramming into a police roadblock outside a Tel Aviv nightclub early Monday, before going on a stabbing spree and injuring eight people, hospital officials said. Police said that the random roadblock, set up in south Tel Aviv near the Oman 17 nightclub, had prevented a larger number of casualties. Some 1,000 high school students were attending an end of summer party at the club. (AFP/M&C)
In 2008, a secret State Department cable warned of a growing chemical weapons threat from a Middle Eastern country whose autocratic leader had a long history of stirring up trouble in the region. The Middle Eastern state with the dangerous chemicals was not Libya. It was Syria.
Syria possesses some of the deadliest chemicals ever to be weaponized, dispersed in thousands of artillery shells and warheads that are easy to transport. Syria’s preferred poison is not mustard gas but sarin, the nerve agent that killed 13 people during a terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995.
The CIA has concluded that Syria possesses a large stockpile of sarin-based warheads and was working on developing VX, a deadlier nerve agent that resists breaking down in the environment. By early in the last decade, some weapons experts ranked Syria’s chemical stockpile as probably the largest in the world, consisting of tens of tons of highly lethal chemical agents and hundreds of Scud missiles as well as lesser rockets, artillery rockets and bomblets for delivering the poisons. It is not inconceivable that weapons could vanish amid the chaos of an uprising that destroys Syria’s vaunted security services, which safeguard the munitions. (Washington Post)
Security forces in the Syrian capital increased checkpoints, troop deployments and helicopter patrols Saturday in a bid to keep an overnight surge of antigovernment protests in the suburbs from spreading to the heart of Damascus, a crucial stronghold for President Bashar Assad.
The beefed-up deployments came as Iran, Syria's closest ally, for the first time publicly pressed Assad's government to accede to the "legitimate" demands of the Syrian public. (Los Angeles Times)
Troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad fought a night-time battle in Damascus with army defectors who had refused to shoot at a pro-democracy protest.
In Damascus, dozens of soldiers defected and fled into Al Ghouta, an area of farmland, after pro-Assad forces fired at a large crowd of demonstrators near the suburb of Harasta to prevent them from marching on the center, residents said. It was the first reported defection around the capital, where Assad’s core forces are based. (Reuters)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Saturday that Israel has no intention at this time of approving additional Egyptian troops in the eastern Sinai Peninsula.
Barak's statement comes despite press reports Friday that the defense minister said it was in Israel's interest to allow Egypt to bring in larger forces to overcome the ongoing anarchy along the border with Israel. (Ha'aretz)
See also Report: Egypt Stations 1,500 Troops in Sinai
Egypt has stationed 1,500 additional soldiers in Sinai after coordinating the move with Israel, the UK-based newspaper Al-Hayat reported. According to the report, the two countries are negotiating the placement of even more troops in the peninsula. (Ynet News)
A Grad rocket fell in an open field in Bnei Shimon Regional near Be’er Sheva Sunday morning. No one was hurt and no damage was reported. Militants have launched four rockets at Israel since the Islamic Jihad agreed to an Egyptian mediate cease-fire with Israel early Friday. (Ha'aretz/AP)
Even as extremists from Gaza fire rockets and mortars at civilians in southern Israel and cause death and destruction, we must not forget about another danger facing Israel: a unilateral campaign by Palestinian leaders to secure recognition from individual foreign governments and from the United Nations for a self-declared Palestinian “state.” This anti-Israel, anti-peace scheme must be stopped.
U.N. actions would severely undermine opportunities for a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians. They would provide implicit recognition and legitimacy to a self-declared “state” and reward and reinforce the unilateral, rejectionist policies of the Palestinian leadership. Restarting bilateral negotiations would become even more difficult.
Fortunately, we are not helpless in the face of this dangerous challenge. There is a historical precedent for how to stop it. In 1989, Yasser Arafat’s PLO also pushed for membership for a “Palestinian state” in UN entities. The PLO’s strategy looked unstoppable until the George H.W. Bush administration made clear that the U.S. would cut off funding to any UN entity that upgraded the status of the Palestinian observer mission in any way. The UN was forced to choose between isolating Israel and receiving U.S. contributions, and they chose the latter. The PLO’s unilateral campaign was stopped in its tracks.
This example demonstrates a simple but needed lesson: At the UN, money talks, and smart withholding works. It is time to use all our leverage to stop this unilateral Palestinian scheme — for the sake of our ally Israel and all free democracies, for the sake of peace and security, and for the sake of achieving a UN that upholds its founding principles.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (Miami Herald)
Gaddafi's imminent fall has no doubt encouraged the Syrian opposition to continue its nationwide protests. It is unlikely to sway Assad to make any real concessions to the protesters. He may not succeed, however, not because of the growing strength of the opposition, but rather because his Alawi supporters may turn on him.
The Alawis know that they can expect no mercy from the majority Sunni population if the Assad regime falls. They are doubly hated, because of their heretical religion, and their abuse of power. They also know time is running out for them. Their only hope is to remove Bashar and his entire leadership team and replace them with a seemingly more civilized Alawi face. Whatever happens, Iran is likely to be the big loser, and with it Hizbullah as well. That would certainly be the case if the Sunnis took power in Damascus. (Foreign Policy)
The efforts of Palestinian unilateralism, as demonstrated by the attempt to achieve statehood through the UN rather than by negotiation with Israel, as well as the Arab Spring, have left the Israeli public in an atmosphere of uncertainty, which is infertile ground for any peace process, let alone one that includes territorial concessions. The writer is a senior program coordinator and a researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Jerusalem Post)
Will Egypt Be Too Busy to Hate? - James Kirchick (Ha'aretz)
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