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|
May 7, 2010
Times Square Bomb Suspect Linked to Militant Cleric - Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti (New York Times)
NATO Missile Official Cites Cooperation with Israel - Dan Williams (Reuters)
WTO Opens Talks on Syrian Membership (AFP)
Undercover NYPD Officers Infiltrate Jihadis' World - Joel Stonington (Wall Street Journal)
German Jihad Colonies Sprout Up in Waziristan - Yassin Musharbash, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark (Der Spiegel-Germany)
Russian Tourists Flock to Tel Aviv - Lital Levin (Ha'aretz)
American Jewry's Comfort Level: Present and Future - Manfred Gerstenfeld (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano sent a letter soliciting proposals from the agency's 151 member states on how to persuade Israel to sign the Nonproliferation Treaty, in a move that adds to pressure on the Jewish state to disclose its unacknowledged nuclear arsenal. Israel, in turn, is suggesting efforts should focus instead on giving teeth to the nuclear treaty to prevent signatories like Iran from acquiring such weapons. In his letter, Amano asked foreign ministers to share views on how to implement a resolution demanding that Israel "accede" to the Nonproliferation Treaty and throw its nuclear facilities open to IAEA oversight.
In response Thursday, an Israeli government official noted that the treaty obligating nations to stop the spread of nuclear weapons didn't stop countries like Saddam Hussein's Iraq and now Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons programs. (AP-Washington Post)
The new chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, on Thursday rejected Iran's claim that international inspectors have no right to ask questions about research Tehran has conducted into missile technology and warheads. The Japanese diplomat said Iran would not be able to satisfy the world that its nuclear program was peaceful unless it answered a series of questions about its research, its procurement of high technology and the activities of its scientists - including whether they worked on designing a warhead that could be fitted with a nuclear weapon. Amano's stance contrasts with the more accommodating style of his predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei, an Egyptian who served as the agency's director for a dozen years. (New York Times)
See also Nuclear Watchdog Urges International Pressure on Iran
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano called for concerted international pressure on Tehran. Amano said his agency was unable to rule out that Iran's nuclear work was being diverted for military purposes, as feared by the West. "Without a policy change on the part of Iran, we cannot do our work effectively. Policy change is needed," he said. (Reuters)
In a highly unusual move, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki hosted a dinner Thursday for the 15 members of the UN Security Council at the Iranian mission's sumptuous Fifth Avenue townhouse in New York. The U.S. was represented at the dinner, but not by its top diplomat, Susan E. Rice. Alejandro D. Wolff, the second-ranking ambassador at the U.S. mission to the UN, attended instead. (Washington Post)
Mohammed, a Gazan tunnel digger, says the new underground Egyptian barrier aimed at stopping smuggling is a "joke." "We just cut through it using high-powered oxygen-fueled blow torches." The Egyptian government began constructing the barrier along the Gaza-Egypt border last year at a cost of millions of dollars. "We pay around a $1,000 for a man with an oxygen-fueled cutter to come and break through it. It takes up to three weeks to cut through, but we get there in the end," he says of the 5-10 cm. thick steel barrier. The BBC spoke to one man in Gaza employed to cut through the barrier who said he could cut a meter-square hole through it in less than a day. (BBC News)
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday accused Hamas of smuggling large amounts of weapons into the West Bank as part of the militant group's efforts to undermine his administration. Israel fears Hamas could also stage a violent takeover in the West Bank, and those security concerns are likely to be a key issue in the new round of peace talks.
Despite Abbas' allegations, Hamas appears to be significantly weakened in the West Bank after a lengthy crackdown. Israeli defense officials said they were unaware of any significant arms stockpiling by Hamas in the West Bank. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
U.S. envoy George Mitchell met for the second time in 24 hours with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The talks are taking place amid an almost total news blackout, with neither side releasing any information about the discussions. (Jerusalem Post)
Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias on Wednesday admitted in a Knesset debate that approval of construction in Jerusalem has in fact been suspended for almost six months. "Everything's on hold," he said. "The last time apartments were marketed in Jerusalem was December 2009." Interior Minister Eli Yishai has instructed the Jerusalem district committee to bring any plan with possible implications regarding the peace talks to his approval. The ministry is drafting new regulations for approving building plans in east Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are doomed to hit a brick wall because no Palestinian leader will accept anything less than what Yasser Arafat rejected at Camp David ten years ago, and no Jewish prime minister will offer anything more, Vice Premier and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom said Thursday in an interview. At the same time, Shalom said he was in favor of the U.S.-backed indirect talks because they may bring about a greater understanding between the sides. "It is good that we are talking," he said. "I am in favor of talking."
Shalom said that for all intents and purposes, the PA was already functioning like a de facto state. "True, they don't have borders," he said, "but we also don't have borders." According to Shalom, the focus of the current talks should be on economic projects, development of industrial areas, and joint projects in the spheres of electricity, sewage, water and infrastructure. Likewise, he said, the talks should focus on increasing freedom of movement in the West Bank through lifting roadblocks, and ways the Palestinians could fight terrorism and increase security. (Jerusalem Post)
Last week, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's secret offer to establish a temporary Palestinian state on about 60% of the West Bank. According to Netanyahu's pragmatic plan, the talks on final-status issues would continue after the temporary state was formed. Abbas argued that this was an attempt to drag him into lengthy negotiations that would reinforce the temporary state's borders and turn them into final-status borders. What prevents the Palestinians from deciding that half a loaf is better than none? Why does Abbas insist on discussing all the issues that may thwart the talks all at once - Jerusalem, borders, refugees, settlements, and territorial contiguity? Why doesn't he choose to be the first president in history of the first Palestinian state, regardless of how small it is?
One reason is that the Palestinians have not yet renounced their plan to establish "Greater Palestine." Secondly, they feel that Western public opinion and Western governments support them to a greater extent than ever before. While Israel, under Netanyahu, adopted several steps - endorsing the two-state discourse, removing roadblocks, freezing settlement construction, and imposing a de facto freeze in east Jerusalem - the Palestinians have not moved an inch. The writer is a spokesman for Israel's Ministry of Communications. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Col. Avi Gil of the Israel Defense Forces wanted to show me something: the yellow pages from the West Bank town of Kalkilya. In recent years they had tripled in thickness, an indication of the expansion of business and decline in violence. "It's in our interest to maintain the peaceful trend in the West Bank," Gil said. "It's fragile, but the fact is nobody wants to fight." "When I go into Kalkilya," Gil told me, "I've stopped using body armor, but I do take my rifle."
That, I think, is not a bad image of Israel today, prepared to relax slightly but mistrustful; feeling burned and misunderstood; seeing the outside world as hostile (including President Barack Obama); unconvinced of the possibility of peace but not prepared to dismiss it entirely; wanting at some level to think Fayyad can forge a reliable Palestine but also persuaded that Arabs are still bent on its destruction; led by a right-religious-Russian-settler coalition that reflects lasting rightward shifts in its society; enjoying the quiet but disturbed by what's over the horizon, not least Iran. An Israel that's shed its body armor for now but still carries a rifle. This is not an Israel that is ready to hurry to peace, not an Israel on Obama's timetable, or the Quartet's, or Fayyad's. "Let's walk slowly to arrive as fast as we can," Gil said. That's about the Israeli mood. (New York Times)
No Palestinian leader (the Palestinians believe) can possibly survive signing a treaty that does not deliver: (1) a big slice of Jerusalem; (2) the uprooting of Israeli settlements in the West Bank; and (3) some big acknowledgment of a so-called Palestinian right of return to Israel proper. On the other hand, no Israeli politician will yield those things. The Palestinians do not have the strength to force the concession, and the U.S. is exceedingly unlikely to impose it.
The status quo is not a great deal for the Palestinians, obviously. Certainly not as good a deal as they would have had if they had accepted the deals on offer in 1937 or 1947 or 1968 or 2000. But they didn't accept those offers, and they have lapsed. There may never be a peace agreement. But the alternative to a signed peace does not have to be fighting. (National Post-Canada)
There is no greater threat to national and international security than the possibility that Iran's current rulers - militant Islamists, terrorist masters, and sworn enemies of both the Great Satan and the Little Satan - may acquire nuclear weapons. Could crippling sanctions and their impact on an already ailing Iranian economy change the behavior of the Iranian regime - or cause a change of regime? There's only one way to find out. Along with support for Iran's dissident Green Movement, this is the last, best chance to peacefully stop Iran's jihadis from achieving the lethal capabilities they need to match the hostile intentions they have long harbored. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (National Review)
Later this month activists on a convoy of ships plan to sail for Gaza in the context of breaking the Gaza siege. What siege? International humanitarian aid has been flowing freely into Gaza for years. 30,576 aid trucks entered the territory in 2009. During the week of April 11-17, 500 trucks with over 17,000 tons of humanitarian aid entered Gaza. In addition, the UN has pumped $200 million into Gaza following last winter's Israeli military operation to halt rocket fire.
In 2009, 10,544 Gazans and their companions left Gaza for medical treatment. During the week of April 11-17, nearly 500 patients and companions crossed from Gaza into Israel for medical treatment, while another over 100 Gaza residents crossed into Israel for other reasons, and roughly 200 internationals crossed in and out of Gaza. The writer is Assistant Director of the Sderot Media Center. (Huffington Post)
The sentencing of 26 Hizbullah members for planning attacks against targets in Egypt and operating on Egyptian soil has started a small storm. Twenty-two men are already in Egyptian custody and will serve sentences up to 15 years in jail. Mohammed Qabalan, the Lebanese leader of the cell, and two other senior operatives, have been sentenced to life in prison but they are on the run.
Non-state actors do not have the right to single-handedly assume the powers of the state and endanger the nation, even less so when they are foreigners. Decisions that can escalate into war must remain in the hands of governments. People may disagree with Egypt and Jordan's decisions to make peace with Israel, but no one has the right to force a conflict detrimental to their interests, population and economy. Every state wants to control its territory and foreign relations. Hizbullah recklessly endangered both in Egypt. (The National-UAE)
The Israel Pavilion is composed of two streamlined buildings hugging each other. The pavilion looks like two clasped hands, or a "seashell." One side of the "seashell" is made of authentic stone while the other is made from transparent glass. A green orchard will come into view as visitors enter the pavilion. About 50 orange trees have been planted, and technology will make the trees "whisper" in English and Chinese when visitors walk close to them. The Hall of Light features a 15-meter screen that shows films highlighting the country's innovations and technological achievements. (Expo 2010-China)
See also Israel Woos Chinese Business - Alisa Odenheimer and Calev Ben-David (Business Week)
Seven men, six of them from the Shin Bet security service (not the Mossad) and an anesthesiologist, abducted S.S. officer Adolf Eichmann from a suburb of Buenos Aires on May 11, 1960. Eichmann was one of the planners of the "Final Solution," the organizer of the transports that had carried millions of Jews to death camps in Europe. Fifty years later, those of Eichmann's captors who are still alive are in their eighties or above. At the time, they were 30-something. Three of them agreed to be interviewed. (Ha'aretz)
See also Eichmann's Abductors - Avner Avrahami (Ha'aretz)
Palestine Betrayed by Efraim Karsh - Reviewed by Daniel Pipes (National Review)
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