Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
EU Slams Richard Falk’s Israel Report as Biased at UNHRC - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post) Maryland Businessman Convicted of Helping Iran on Satellite Project - Ann E. Marimow (Washington Post) South Korea Shippers Join Overseas Rivals in Shunning Iran Business - Meeyoung Cho (Reuters) U.S. Hits Hizbullah Agents in West Africa with Sanctions (AFP) Report: Secret EU Funding for BDS Leader (Ynet News)
EU Slams Richard Falk’s Israel Report as Biased at UNHRC - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
Maryland Businessman Convicted of Helping Iran on Satellite Project - Ann E. Marimow (Washington Post)
South Korea Shippers Join Overseas Rivals in Shunning Iran Business - Meeyoung Cho (Reuters)
U.S. Hits Hizbullah Agents in West Africa with Sanctions (AFP)
Report: Secret EU Funding for BDS Leader (Ynet News)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is gaining momentum in the country's civil war with aid from Hizbullah and is unlikely to fall in the foreseeable future, a growing number of U.S. intelligence and defense officials believe, in what officials say is a sharp divergence from the Obama administration's long-held view.
The shifting views have fueled a behind-the-scenes debate within intelligence agencies as President Barack Obama and his advisers renew consideration of options to aid anti-Assad forces, including one that would provide moderate fighters with American arms.
Some intelligence analysts now think Mr. Assad could hold onto power or even prevail in the conflict. That view is at odds with those of others within the intelligence community who think recent military gains by Syrian government forces and Hizbullah fighters aren't likely to alter the overall trajectory of a conflict. (Wall Street Journal)
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that while his country had every right to sell arms to the Syrian government, Moscow had not yet delivered the advanced S-300 air defense system to Damascus. But that has not cooled a war of words over the S-300s that some say could threaten an outright war between Israel and Russia over the sophisticated missile defense system.
Most sources on the S-300 system say it's designed to shoot down aircraft and missiles within about 90 miles. But Israeli defense officials insist the actual range is greater – 125 miles. Given Israel's small airspace, the longer range would place most aircraft within range.
Israeli officials say they are also concerned that Iran or the militant group Hizbullah in Lebanon will get their hands on the weapon. (McClatchy)
The Boulder, Colorado city council voted overwhelmingly Monday to reject a sister city application from Nablus, citing Palestinian Authority abuses in the West Bank city and its long history as a terrorist center.
Opponents of the proposal noted the Palestinian Authority's dismal human rights record and lack of press freedom. Critics also blasted the frequency in Nablus of honor killings and the persecution of gays occurring within the city.
Colorado media reported that some supporters of the sister-city bid said that they had hoped to bring "yoga and rock climbing opportunities" to the West Bank city. The motion was rejected 7-2. (The Tower)
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Iran had a right to a peaceful nuclear program but slammed as "unacceptable" its threats against its regional nemesis Israel.
"Iran is in a very difficult region," Putin told a televised question-and-answer session in Moscow. "And when we hear threats from Iran against its neighbors, particularly Israel, when we hear from Iran that Israel must be destroyed - I think this is completely unacceptable." (AFP/Channel News Asia - Singapore)
The Palestinian Authority deputy prime minister for economic affairs said Tuesday that the financial crisis is getting worse. "There is a major financial crisis and the PA is $4.2 billion in internal and external debt," Muhammad Mustafa said during a news conference.
The PA official also warned of a growing job crisis, with over 250,000 Palestinians currently unemployed, young people particularly affected. The PA owes $600 million to banks and $1 billion to international financial institutions, Mustafa said. (Ma'an News Agency)
Austria began withdrawing peacekeepers from the Golan Heights, winding down a four-decade mission due to spillover fighting from the Syrian civil war. Austrian troops moved from the Quneitra crossing point to a United Nations base inside the Israeli-held part of the heights on Tuesday.
United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) troops left behind, most of them from Chile and India, were doubtful the tense situation will improve. "I'm alive, but the reality is there's an escalation, and we're stuck in the middle," a UNDOF soldier said. (Ynet News)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos that over the past year, Israel has thwarted five terror attacks and more than 30 kidnap attempts. (Ynet News)
One element of Egyptian culture has remained constant since a popular revolt swept away Hosni Mubarak's pharaonic dictatorship: its virulent anti-Semitism.
"Khaybar," a serial drama set to air during Ramadan (starting on July 8), is Egyptian TV's latest piece of hate melodrama. It depicts the Prophet Muhammad's conquest, in A.D. 629, of a Jewish community on the Arabian Peninsula. Ahmed Maher, a popular actor playing one of the Jewish villains said "Khaybar" sets out to depict Jews as "the ugliest slice of humans." "The show will be on when most Egyptian families are staying at home for Ramadan doing nothing but watching TV," Mina Rezkalla, a U.S.-based Egyptian activist noted. "The goal is completely outward anti-Semitism." (Wall Street Journal)
The Gezi Park protests and the brutal police crackdown on the demonstrations in support of them has not only tarnished Turkey's credibility as an exemplary democracy once lauded as the "Turkish model," but has also diverted Ankara's attention away from critical developments in the Middle East, much to the delight of its regional rivals, most notably Iran.
It is also clear to Iranian policy makers, who have made the continuation of the Assad regime a strategic imperative, that the turmoil in Turkey has also diminished Ankara's influence in rallying support for the Syrian opposition. (Al-Monitor)
The "War of Tunnels" is probably the most suitable name for the war fought in Syria's strategic region of Qusair, on the border with Lebanon. In each city, town and village, dozens of hideouts and underground routes have been found by the Syrian army and Hizbullah fighters. "These tunnels were used to connect alleys with each other, exit routes and hideouts, snipers" shooting posts and weapons storage," Major Abdo, a Syrian army officer explained.
After the dramatic fall of Qusair and the rebels' retreat, there were expectations that a fierce battle would be fought for two towns nearby. But the Syrian army entered them with no remarkable resistance. Everyone was asking: Where did the fighters go?
Several openings became visible in the ground. They were all at least four or five meters deep and connected to a huge network of water pipes built years ago by the government. "These pipes connect the countryside of Qusair to the city of Homs, and areas in southeastern Homs province not very far from Damascus countryside," said Abdo. Where will the next major conflict be? Will it be Aleppo, or the countryside of Damascus? (Al-Monitor)
Syria: The New Problem from Hell - Aaron David Miller (Foreign Policy)
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