Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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


August 30, 2010

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issue:

Egypt Police Seize Anti-Aircraft Missiles Bound for Gaza - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
  Egyptian police on Saturday raided several arms depots in Sinai, believed to hold weapons meant for smuggling into Gaza, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.
  According to the report, the Egyptian police uncovered secret caches of explosives in a desert in the center of the Sinai peninsula. The caches held 190 fully assembled anti-aircraft missiles and rockets in addition to explosives and ammunition.
    See also Egypt Seizes Five More Caches of Anti-Aircraft Missiles, Explosives in Sinai - Roee Nahmias (YnetNews)

Norway 'Bomb Plot' Underscores al-Qaida Pitfalls - Ian MacDougal (AP/Washington Post)
  When police arrested a suspected al-Qaida cell in Norway last month they turned up the makings of a bomb lab tucked away in a nondescript Oslo apartment building. Officials say the suspected plot against this quiet Nordic country was one of three planned attacks on the West hatched in the rugged mountains of northwest Pakistan by some of al-Qaida's most senior leaders. The other plots targeted the bustling New York subway and a shopping mall in Manchester, England.

Israeli Waters May Hold Large Oil Reserves (AP/Businessweek)
  The Israeli partners in a U.S.-led consortium developing a natural gas field off the Mediterranean coast say that up to 4.2 billion barrels of oil may lie under the seafloor in Israeli waters. If confirmed, the find would mark the first significant oil reserves for Israel. The Delek Group is working with Texas-based Noble Energy Inc. in Israel's Leviathan natural gas field. Drilling is to start in October.

Stork Flocks Swoop Down on Israel - Ehud Zion Waldoks (Jerusalem Post)
  The great stork migration via Israel began. Thirty-one thousand storks flew into the country to rest in the Negev and around the Dead Sea on Tuesday, before heading to their winter homes in eastern Africa.
  The migration will likely take six weeks since starting in early August. All told, 350,000 are expected to fly over the country from north to south in that time.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Obama Goes Out on a Limb for Middle East Peace Talks - Christi Parsons and Paul Richter
    After 18 months of faltering efforts to launch Middle East peace negotiations, President Obama is dramatically increasing his personal stake and his own political risk by hosting direct talks this week. Some of Obama's advisors have questioned the wisdom of linking the president so visibly with such an intractable conflict. But the president stepped up his personal involvement over the summer.
      Many insiders and outside experts say that if the talks remain on track, it will be because Obama is personally applying pressure to push them forward. "He will become engaged at any point where people think he should," said a senior administration official. "He will take the advice of his team, but there's no doubt he has put a lot of time and energy into this." (Los Angeles Times)
  • Turkey to U.S.: Flotilla Raid an Issue between ‘Friends’
    Turkish officials in Washington have reaffirmed Ankara's commitment to maintaining friendly ties with Israel despite ongoing tension in the aftermath of Israel's lethal May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine activists dead. Washington-based Turkish diplomatic sources have informed reporters concerning the content of talks held by a Foreign Ministry delegation with several senior U.S. officials from the departments of state, defense and commerce. (Zaman - Turkey)
  • Russia Honors Commitments to Syria
    Moscow is fully compliant in its agreements with Syria in the sphere of the military and technological co-operation, Russian presidential aide Sergey Prikhodko said. Ha'aretz reported on August 27 that Israel was trying to “thwart a Russian arms deal with Syria” regarding the sale of advanced P-800 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles. (RT - Russia)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Netanyahu: We Can Reach a Peace that Will Last for Generations - Barak Ravid
    As he prepared to fly to Washington to renew peace talks with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel had the chance to secure a stable peace that could endure for generations. "I am convinced that if the Palestinian leadership takes the negotiations as seriously as we do, we can reach a stable agreement - not just a deal for a tactical ceasefire between wars," Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Netanyahu: I Never Promised a Continued West Bank Construction Freeze - Barak Ravid
    Prime Minister Netanyahu told Likud ministers on Sunday that he had not made any promises to U.S. President Obama or any other American government official regarding an extension of the settlement construction freeze in the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
  • Rabbi's Comments Condemned Ahead of Talks
    The Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has distanced himself from comments by a senior rabbi who called on God to strike down the country’s enemies with the plague. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas party said the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and others should “disappear from the earth.” The Israeli prime minister said his government wanted peace with the Palestinians. The U.S. State Department described the remarks as “inflammatory” and “deeply offensive.” (Euronews)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • It's Too Early to Write Off Direct Israeli-Palestinian Talks - Aluf Benn
    The announcement of the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks has been greeted by an indifferent Israeli public. “Nothing will come out of it,” has been the common reaction. I beg to differ. Changes in the political environment give peace a better chance. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, herded by their U.S. custodian, President Barack Obama, can reach a deal on the establishment of a Palestinian state within the next year. It requires patience and creativity, but it’s possible.
      The international media portray Mr. Netanyahu’s government as “hard line,” but examining its actions shows a different picture. The current Israeli government is the most dovish since Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination 15 years ago. Mr. Netanyahu has been reluctant to use military force, and has slowed settlement growth. Security and economic co-operation with Mr. Abbas’s Palestinian Authority is as strong as ever, while Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is making progress in his bottom-up state-building progress. (Globe and Mail - Canada)
  • Naysayers Are Not Always Right - Ambassador Michael Oren
    In the 1970s the talks between Begin and Sadat encountered angry opposition. Yet the two leaders persevered and produced the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab state. Netanyahu and Abbas can also overcome resistance and conclude an even more comprehensive agreement. The key to success lies in the spirit of Camp David. Sadat and Begin were dedicated to peace and determined to achieve it. (Newsweek)
  • A Palestinian Victory, The Arab World's Dirty Secret - Editorial
    As Israelis and Palestinians prepare to visit Washington to begin direct peace talks, it's worth recalling what refugees the Palestinians are — in Arab countries. Last week, Lebanon's parliament amended a clause in a 1946 law that had been used to bar the 400,000 Palestinians living in the country from taking any but the most menial jobs.
      The dirty little secret of the Arab world is that it has consistently treated Palestinians living in its midst with contempt and often violence. For six decades, Palestinians have been forced by Arab governments to live in often squalid conditions so that they could serve as propaganda tools against Israel, even as millions of refugees elsewhere have been repatriated and absorbed by their host countries. This month's vote still falls short of giving Palestinian Lebanese the rights they deserve, including citizenship. But it's a reminder of the cynicism of so much Arab pro-Palestinian propaganda, and the credulity of those who fall for it. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Abbas Is a Man in Exile, Even among his Own - Omar Karmi
    Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, faces a crisis of credibility among his own people as he heads into direct talks with Israel in Washington this week. Perhaps nothing better illustrates this than a rather awkward security crackdown Thursday in Ramallah, when leftist factions convened a meeting to protest against Mr. Abbas’s decision to accept the U.S. invitation to the talks.
      Privately, Palestinian Authority officials expressed their dismay at what looked to most like an effort by security services to stifle dissent. And dissent there is. All Palestinian political factions, bar one, have denounced the direct talks, some in harsher language than others. Only Fatah, Mr Abbas’s own group, supports direct talks. “There is a real leadership crisis in the Palestinian arena,” said Diana Buttu, a Palestinian analyst and a former legal adviser to the PLO, adding that it “is not responsive to the people it represents or even the factions it represents.” (The National - UAE)
        See also Palestinian Rivals Crack Down Harder on Opponents - Karin Laub and Diaa Hadid (AP/Washington Post)
  • The Arab World, Sick Man of the Globe - Rami G. Khouri
    Looking around the Arab world this week, it is hard to know what are the region’s real priority challenges, because multiple issues stand out as problems, vulnerabilities, weaknesses or threats. Most of the problems in our region can be traced to local incompetence, or, in the worst cases, criminality and irresponsibility in the seats of power – though everywhere there is also an element of foreign involvement or manipulation that should not be ignored.
      The Arab world is defined by top-heavy states where small groups of men surrounded by many soldiers make decisions without seriously consulting their fellow citizens. This legacy is firmly supported by major foreign powers who see “security and stability” as critical priorities in this region, by which they mean that Israel should remain dominant, Arab nationalists and Islamists should be fought and diminished, and security-minded Arab governing elites should rule forever. (Daily Star - Lebanon)
  • Observations:

    Prime Minister Netanyahu Discusses His Trip to Washington on Tuesday (Prime Minister's Office)

  • On Tuesday, I will leave for Washington to launch the direct talks between us and the Palestinians. We have insisted that these talks be held without pre-conditions and thus it will be. Our goal is to seriously and responsibly advance a peace agreement that will be based on the following principles:
  • First of all, the recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish People, the end of the conflict and of claims on Israel, that will stem from recognizing it as the national state of the Jewish People, and the establishment of tangible security measures on the ground so as to ensure that there will not be a repeat in Judea and Samaria of what happened in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip after Israel withdrew from these areas.
  • I am convinced that if the Palestinian leadership approaches these talks with the same degree of seriousness as we will be able to advance toward a stable agreement that will ensure peace and security for both peoples and will contribute to the security and stability of the region. The basic question is whether the Palestinian side will be as willing as the Israeli side to advance towards a peace that will resolve this conflict for generations to come.
  • There shouldn't just be a tactical halt between two wars or two outbreaks of terrorism, but a peace based on recognition, security, stability and economic prosperity between the two peoples that will endure for us and our children. This is my goal and I very much hope that it is the goal of the Palestinian leadership as well.

  • Unsubscribe from Daily Alert