Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Jordanian Opposition Demands Limits on King's Powers (DPA/Trend - Azerbaijan) Luxury, Horror Lurk in Gaddafi Family Compound - Dan Rivers (CNN) Female Sniper's Confession Reveals Mass Murder in Libya - Kursat Bayhan (Zaman - Turkey) Israel to Focus More on Exports to India, China and Less on U.S,, EU (Port 2 Port)
Jordanian Opposition Demands Limits on King's Powers (DPA/Trend - Azerbaijan)
Luxury, Horror Lurk in Gaddafi Family Compound - Dan Rivers (CNN)
Female Sniper's Confession Reveals Mass Murder in Libya - Kursat Bayhan (Zaman - Turkey)
Israel to Focus More on Exports to India, China and Less on U.S,, EU (Port 2 Port)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
Israel’s cutting-edge missile defense called Iron Dome scored an 85 percent success rate in knocking out rockets launched against Israel’s southern cities in recent clashes with Gaza.
The battlefield success of Iron Dome could change the political calculus in Israel by providing protection against attacks that prevented Israel from withdrawing after it dismantled settlements in Gaza in 2005. A former senior Israeli defense official with detailed knowledge of the Iron Dome system said it is a crucial element of Israeli defenses. “But it is not a silver bullet because there will always be 10 times more rockets than Iron Dome interceptors can stop,” he said. (Washington Times)
See also Iron Dome vs. Gaza Rockets - Moshe Arens
The Iron Dome, developed by Rafael, is a superb technological achievement. It follows Israel's first technological breakthrough in ballistic missile interception - the Arrow, developed by IAI. It is an achievement unequaled anywhere in the world.
The Iron Dome is a source of pride and gives us the feeling that we are not completely helpless against the rocket threat.
But to be honest, whereas the Iron Dome can effectively defend small militarily important targets, it does not provide the protection that our civilian population in the south, and maybe tomorrow in the north, is entitled to. The idea that missile interception systems, when eventually deployed throughout Israel, will provide an impenetrable umbrella under which Israelis will be able to peacefully carry on their daily lives even when Israel is attacked by rockets, is an illusion. There are other ways to put an end to the rocket threat, and the government will sooner or later have to resort to them. (Ha'aretz)
At least 88 people, including 10 children, have died in detention in Syria since the uprising against the regime began in March in what amounts to "systematic persecution on a vast scale", according to Amnesty International.
The majority of victims were tortured or ill-treated, with injuries ranging from beatings, burns and blunt-force traumas to whipping marks, electrocution, slashes and mutilated genitals.
According to one activists' group, at least 551 Syrian civilians have been killed during Ramadan, which ends with the festival of Eid al-Fitr. (Guardian - UK)
The Obama administration expanded its net of sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime on Tuesday, banning Americans from doing business with the country’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, and two other senior officials as it seeks to further pressure authorities to halt a five-month crackdown on protesters. (AP/Washington Post)
IDF Chief of Staff Gen Benny Gantz on Tuesday warned the Gaza Strip-based militant groups of Israel's severe response should terror attacks and rocket fire on the south continue. "Hamas and the other terror groups in the Gaza Strip should know that bringing harm to Israeli citizens will bring about a harsh response. They do not want to test our might," Gantz said.
Israel's security forces remained on high alert on the Egyptian border in response to a viable Islamic Jihad terror threat. Military intelligence suggests that an Islamic Jihad terror cell has left the Gaza Strip and intends to infiltrate Israel through Sinai. (Ynet News)
Jordan has appealed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and asked him to reconsider the PA's nearing bid for UN recognition, Saudi Arabia's al-Madinah newspaper reported on Tuesday. According to the report, Jordan views the move as dangerous and as one that may compromise the Palestinians' assertion of the right of return. (Ynet News)
Turkey censured Israel for its activities in Gaza, but operates in a similar manner against the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK): It penetrates Iraq's air space and bombs villages or sites suspected of housing PKK members, causing the deaths of innocent people, including women and children.
According to Turkish sources, the Turkish army is using unmanned aerial vehicles acquired from Israel, to which Turkish-made cameras are attached. It turns out that the amount of UAV's in Turkey's hands is insufficient, and it is seeking to purchase more, along with other military equipment, for immediate delivery.
A senior Turkish source told Ha'aretz that it is possible that "the war against the PKK may actually be the factor that rehabilitates relations between Turkey and Israel. Turkey needs the UAV's and Israel is likely to be a good source." (Ha'aretz)
If the Palestinians go forward with their drive to seek recognition as a state at the UN General Assembly next month, all agreements governing Israeli-Palestinian and U.S.-Palestinian cooperation could become null and void, according to Israel's ambassador to the United States.
"We have a lot of agreements with the Palestinian Authority, we have no agreements with a ‘Government of Palestine,'" Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, told The Cable in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. "It's just a fact, we have no agreements with a ‘Government of Palestine.' It puts us in a different realm."
Oren said that agreements covering all sorts of fields, such as import-export, water sharing, and Israel-Palestinian security forces cooperation, would become invalid if the Palestinians declare statehood unilaterally, based on a vote at the UN -- rather than by negotiating statehood with the government of Israel via the stalled peace process.
"It's not just our agreements with the Palestinian Authority, it's America's agreements with the Palestinian Authority (that are at risk)," Oren said. "America is a cosignatory to the Oslo Accord and this would seriously undermine it." (The Cable, Foreign Policy)
Iran's steadfast support for Syria's regime has rapidly eroded Tehran's credibility among Arabs, leaving the country with a foreign-policy dilemma as popular uprisings mount across the region. Meanwhile, Iran's official reaction to the downfall of Col. Moammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya has been measured. Iranian officials, as well as leaders of Iran-backed Hizbullah, appear to have taken a selective approach to the Arab uprisings.
A new poll the Arab-American Institute conducted in six Arab countries and released in July showed Iran's popularity has fallen drastically. The poll, taken during the first three weeks of June, asked more than 4,000 Arabs questions that included whether Iran contributed to peace and stability in the Middle East. In Egypt, only 37% had a favorable view of Iran, compared with 89% in 2006. In Saudi Arabia, the number dropped to 6% from 85%, while in Jordan it fell to 23% from 75%.
In Lebanon and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, anti-Syrian regime protests have erupted, to the dismay of their governments, which are allied with Iran. In Syria, protesters have burned Iranian and Hizbullah flags, along with pictures of Iran's Khamenei and Hizbullah's Nasrallah as they chanted "Death to the Dictator. (Wall Street Journal)
If the Arab Spring Turns Ugly - Vali Nasr (New York Times)
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