Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Via Smartphone


June 17, 2009

In-Depth Issues:

Carter, Targeted by Islamic Terrorists in Gaza, Calls to Remove Hamas from U.S. Terror List (FOX News)
    After a visit to Gaza Tuesday, former President Jimmy Carter will urge the Obama administration to remove Hamas from the terrorist list.
    The international community has conditioned ending its boycott of Hamas on its recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and accepting previous peace deals.
    Meanwhile, Palestinian sources said Hamas had discovered two roadside bombs planted near a path Carter's convoy took to meet with the group's leaders.

Iranians Agree, Ahmadinejad Re-election Was a Miracle - Bill Keller (New York Times)
    Iranians are generally united in viewing the re-election of President Ahmadinejad as a miracle.
    Some agree with supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei who deemed it "the miraculous hand of God."
    Others believe that there is no earthly explanation why an incumbent who presided over worsening inflation, unemployment and isolation would draw more than seven million more votes than in his first victory.

Daily Alert Needs Your Support
Daily Alert is the work of a team of expert analysts who find the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy.
    No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and thousands of people who want to stay on top of the news.
    To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Report: Hamas Helping Iran Crush Street Protests - Sabina Amidi (Jerusalem Post)
    On Tuesday two Iranian protesters told the Jerusalem Post that Palestinian Hamas members are helping the Iranian authorities crush street protests in support of defeated presidential candidate Mousavi.

How Long Can Israel Resist U.S. Pressure? - Christoph Schult, Gerhard Sporl and Gabor Steingart (Der Spiegel-Germany)
    Whenever anyone calls his resourcefulness in difficult situations into question, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likes to recount an episode from his younger days.
    He was serving in an elite IDF special forces unit which had been chosen to gather intelligence behind enemy lines. Netanyahu was leading a group of soldiers up a mountain when they suddenly found their path blocked by a giant boulder.
    With the side of the mountain to the left and a precipice to the right, the group's only real option was to turn around and abort the mission. Using shrubs that were growing out of the cliff, Netanyahu made his way hand-over-hand around the obstacle, dangling over the abyss, and reached the path on the other side of the boulder.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • IAEA Head Admits Iran Is Seeking Nuclear Weapons
    Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told BBC he believes Iran is mastering nuclear technology and it wants the option of a nuclear weapon. "It is my gut feeling that Iran would like to have the technology to enable it to have nuclear weapons," he said. "The ultimate aim of Iran, as I understand it, is they want to be recognized as a major power in the Middle East. This is to them the road to get that recognition, to get that power and prestige."
        In the wider world, ElBaradei said the biggest threat was the prospect of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of an extremist group. He said the principle of nuclear deterrence would not apply to such groups. (BBC News)
  • Political Tumult in Iran Continues - Nazila Fathi
    Iran's leaders failed on Tuesday to halt a second day of huge demonstrations against last week's election results. Reformist politicians said they would accept only a new election, as supporters of defeated opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi marched in Tehran. "No one in his sane mind can accept these results," said senior opposition cleric Hassan-Ali Montazeri. (New York Times)
        See also Defiant Ahmadinejad Blasts U.S. at Russia Summit - Anna Smolchenko
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday sat alongside Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and China's Hu Jintao at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Russia, attacking the U.S. and defiantly proclaiming that "the international capitalist order is retreating." (AFP)
  • Mitchell Hints of Possible Accord on Mideast Peace Talks - David Gollust
    The Obama administration's special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, George Mitchell, indicated on Tuesday that an agreement on new peace talks might be only weeks away. "What I think is the total personal effort of the Secretary of State and the President have made a dramatic difference in attitudes in the region. In addition, the threat from Iran creates a circumstance unique in the region's history in establishing the possibility of a common interest between nations who, for so long, have been in an adversarial position," he said.
        Mitchell said the Obama administration's position on settlements is unchanged. He stated that an Israeli press report that said he agreed on his latest trip to the region to accept the expansion of settlements within their current boundaries was "highly inaccurate." (VOA News)
  • Israel Sees Deal Soon with Obama over Settlements - Adam Entous
    Prime Minister Netanyahu is negotiating a deal with Washington under which Israeli building in existing Jewish settlements could go forward in certain cases, Israeli and Western officials said on Tuesday. In talks with President Obama's Middle East envoy, Netanyahu has asserted that his government does not have the legal authority to stop building in cases in which tenders for new structures have already been awarded or when homes under construction have already been purchased. "I'm confident that we will be able to reach an agreement in the near future that will enable us to put the settlement issue aside and to move forward to what I regard as far more substantive issues in the peace process," said Michael Oren, Israel's new ambassador to Washington. Oren said "creative" proposals have been presented by both the Netanyahu and Obama administrations to narrow differences. A senior Western official said some in Washington were "sympathetic" to Netanyahu's position.
        Netanyahu told U.S. television he would meet Middle East envoy George Mitchell in Europe next week to discuss settlements, and that he hoped to find "a common position." A senior Western diplomat said Washington's focus was shifting somewhat, from the highly contentious settlement issue to ways to restart negotiations with the Palestinians. (Reuters)
        See also Old Legal Opinion Raises New Questions - Glenn Kessler (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. Policy on Israeli Settlements - Dore Gold (ICA-Jerusalem Center)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Mossad: Riots in Iran Will Die Down, Iranian Nuclear Bomb by 2014 - Yossi Melman and Yuval Azoulay
    Mossad chief Meir Dagan on Tuesday told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the riots in Iran over the election results will die out in a few days rather than escalate into a revolution. He said that while the reformist candidate Mousavi is perceived internationally as a moderate, "it is important to remember that he is the one who began Iran's nuclear program when he was prime minister." The Mossad believed that Iran would have its first nuclear bomb ready for action in 2014, "if the project continues at the present rate and is not interrupted." He said that if international sanctions were sufficiently harsh, they could stop Iran's nuclear program. (Ha'aretz)
  • Report: Hamas Man Tortured to Death in PA Jail - Ali Waked
    Haytham Amro, 28, from Dura in the West Bank, died in a Hebron prison overnight Monday after being interrogated by Palestinian Intelligence personnel. Hamas has accused the Palestinian Authority of torturing the man to death. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Is the Palestinian Authority Stable Enough for Peace Talks? - Dan Diker and Pinhas Inbari
    Salam Fayyad's agreement to remain as PA prime minister defied the unprecedented opposition to his new PA government by both Hamas and the Fatah movement. While Fayyad's stellar reputation in the West as a reformer-statesman continues to inspire confidence among U.S. security officials and Western donor nations, his position is far more difficult in the fragile Palestinian political reality. While the Fatah Central Committee tolerated the previous PA government due to its offensive against Hamas subversion in the West Bank, Fatah's overall opposition to the current cabinet reflects fundamental divisions between its "young guard" and the older and more powerful founding generation.
        Fayyad has continued to pay monthly salaries to nearly 12,000 Hamas Executive Force members, the same force that fought IDF troops in the recent Gaza war. He integrated militia leaders of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades as local commanders in the PA's National Security Forces (the U.S.-backed "Dayton forces"). The deals he has made with local warlords in the West Bank have severely compromised his state-building project. Fayyad does not have the political base to succeed in the long term. Moreover, Washington's notion that reformed political power can be purchased is naive. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Tehran Drama - Editorial
    Americans instinctively sympathize with those struggling for freedom; their triumph promises a new regime both more democratic and friendlier to us. Yet, unless the U.S. is prepared to risk direct intervention, it has no ready means to ensure their victory. The U.S. has few ways to help the opposition - and it may have to deal with whoever wins the current struggle. But, however the crisis ends, it may require rethinking of the administration's Iran strategy. There is a connection between the regime's internal character and its external conduct. (Washington Post)
        See also Death of the Islamic Republic in Five Acts - Daniel Brumberg
    Every revolution ends up devouring its children. In this case, the menu includes many grandchildren as well. In the coming days we will probably see a systematic purge of anyone who opposes Iran's new Caesar. The writer is acting director of the U.S. Institute of Peace's Muslim World Initiative and associate professor at Georgetown University. (Washington Post)
  • Iran's Hidden Revolution - Danielle Pletka and Ali Alfoneh
    Just after Iran's rigged elections last week, it looked as if a new revolution was in the offing. Five days later, the uprising is little more than a symbolic protest, crushed by the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The real revolution is that the guard has effected a silent coup d'etat. Iran has evolved from a theocratic state to a military dictatorship. Fourteen of the 21 cabinet ministers appointed by former Revolutionary Guard officer Ahmadinejad are former members of the guard or its associated paramilitary, the Basij. Provincial governors, press commissars, film directors, intelligence officers and business leaders are increasingly former members of the guard. Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Ali Alfoneh is a visiting fellow at the institute. (New York Times)
        See also Khamenei on the Ropes? - Robert Baer
    Iran is not a theocracy. It is a military dictatorship headed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and advised by a coterie of generals from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Army, as well as hard-liners in the secret police. Ahmadinejad is little more than the spokesman for this group. Former president Rafsanjani is rumored to be in the holy city of Qum plotting against Khamenei, seeing if he has enough votes in the 86-member Assembly of Experts to remove Khamenei. (New Republic)
  • Observations:

    Denying Israel's Right to Exist Is No Basis for a Settlement - Editorial (The Australian)

    • Not everybody got the message in Barack Obama's Cairo speech, that Middle East peace requires compromise. The Israelis did, demonstrated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech on Sunday proposing a new peace process. In return for accepting Israel as a Jewish nation, he offered the Palestinians a two-state solution.
    • But Israel's opponents are not having any of it. The Palestinian Authority says Netanyahu's speech "torpedoed" peace initiatives. This was a pointless, posturing response which reflects the mentality of those members of the Palestinian political elite who prefer nihilism to negotiation and are happier denouncing Israel than dealing with it. And it reflects the mindset of those who want Israel treated as a pariah and who attempt to intimidate any individual or organization that accepts the Jewish state's right to exist.
    • The sheer venom of Israel's enemies demonstrates how hard it will be for President Obama to broker a deal. Israel wants peace, albeit not at any price. Netanyahu will only accept a deal which acknowledges the country as a Jewish state and which ensures its security against terror attack, outright invasion or obliteration by Iran, where the re-elected Ahmadinejad regime makes no secret of its nuclear ambitions.
    • In rejecting Netanyahu's proposal, the Palestinian leadership is betraying its people who need a permanent peace and functioning economy.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert