Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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


September 3, 2010

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

PA Incapable of Stopping Hamas Terrorists - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Several weeks ago, when the White House announced the peace summit, the IDF Central Command began to consider the possibility that Hamas would try to torpedo the talks and remind the world that it too is a player in the region and should not be left on the sidelines.
    Hamas' decision to attack in the West Bank is likely aimed at embarrassing the PA, which has thousands of security personnel deployed throughout the area, and showing that the PA is incapable of stopping the terrorists.
    See also PA: Hamas Will Strike Again - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
    Hamas will try to execute more terror attacks against Israelis in the West Bank, Gen. Adnan Damiri, a commander and spokesman for the Palestinian Security and Police Forces, said Thursday.
    "As the negotiations progress, if they see it stands a chance, Hamas will attempt to step up the attacks."

American Jews Remain Attached to Israel, Study Shows (JTA)
    American Jewish attachment to Israel is holding steady among younger Jews as well as older respondents, a new study shows.
    "Still Connected: American Jewish Attitudes About Israel," published in August by the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, was based on a survey in June of 1,200 self-identified Jewish Americans.
    Read the Report (Brandeis University)

Photos: Hamas Supporters Celebrate the Murder of Israeli Civilians - Tom Gross (Mideast Dispatch Archive)
    Hamas supporters take to the streets of Gaza to celebrate the murder of four Israelis on Tuesday. Note the Palestinian child given a rifle to hold by his smiling father.

Send Birthday-Jewish New Year Greetings to Gilad Shalit ( of Presidents)
    Gilad Shalit has been held captive by Hamas for four long years, denied visits by the International Red Cross.
    Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel asks: "When will the civilized world raise its voice and demand Shalit's release? When will NGOs make their outrage known? When will all good, decent and sensitive men and women mobilize their energy to put an end to this human scandal?"

New: The Daily Alert Blog
    Selected features from the Daily Alert for busy readers

Follow the Jerusalem Center on:

Attackers Strike Home of Iranian Opposition Leader (Reuters-New York Times)
    Members of the Basij militia, which is loyal to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, smashed windows and damaged security cameras at the home of Mehdi Karroubi, an Iranian opposition leader, his Saham News Web site said Thursday, a day before a rally that the authorities worry might reignite antigovernment protests.
    Militia members "broke Karroubi's windows, spread dye over his house and tore down the building's surveillance cameras." The police stood by and did not interfere.
    Karroubi's guards fired into the air to scare off the attackers who bashed in the front door. One of the guards was taken to the hospital after he was beaten by militia members.

Anxiety, Anger Over Gaza Attacks Still Alive in Israel - Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (NPR)
    Most Israelis view Gaza as hostile territory ruled by a terrorist group committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. Israelis say to understand why Israel does what it does in Gaza, you have to travel to the communities that ring the strip.
    Yanina Barnea has lived in Kibbutz Nahal Oz since childhood. Before the last Gaza war, Palestinian militants in Gaza fired more than 6,000 rockets and 1,500 mortars into Israel.
    Nineteen Israelis were killed, including a man Barnea knew. "We live in constant have to be alert all the time," she says.
    Barnea says most people at Nahal Oz supported Israel's war in Gaza because the way they lived before was unbearable.
    Barnea says she doesn't wish the Palestinians in Gaza ill. "I understand that there is a whole bunch of people there that suffer the same that we do," she says. Shortly afterward, a mortar landed near the kibbutz.

Anti-Semitic Cartoons on Progressive Blogs - Adam Levick (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)
    Anti-Semitic cartoons seemingly tolerated on blogs such as Daily Kos, MyDD, Mondoweiss, and Indymedia are mainly expressions of anti-Israelism, a more recent category of anti-Semitism.
    Traditionally, the core motif of anti-Semitism is that Jews represent absolute evil. Nowadays, absolute evil is often expressed as Jews or Israelis being Nazis.
    Indeed, the cartoon motif most frequently appearing on these blogs is imagery equating Israel with Nazi Germany. Others reflect Jewish conspiracies, Zionists controlling the world, the blood libel, or show Jews as animals.
    Most of these blogs generally fail to remove such hateful cartoons, despite blog policies expressly prohibiting posts that contain "hateful" or "inflammatory" content.

Google Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East
    Use Google Search to explore 8 years of back issues of Daily Alert since May 2002.

Add the Daily Alert Israel News Ticker to Your Website

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert - and want to share it with friends - please click "Forward" in your email program and enter their address.

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

  • Israel Tells the Palestinians: Mutual Recognition Is the Key to Peace
    At a meeting at the State Department on Thursday with Secretary of State Clinton and PA President Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "Just as you expect us to be ready to recognize a Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people, we expect you to be prepared to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. There are more than a million non-Jews living in Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, who have full civil rights. There is no contradiction between a nation-state that guarantees the national rights of the majority and guaranteeing the civil rights, the full civil equality, of the minority. I think this mutual recognition between us is indispensible to clarifying to our two peoples that the conflict between us is over."
        "New forces have risen in our region, and we've had the rise of Iran and its proxies and the rise of missile warfare. And so a peace agreement must take into account a security arrangement against these real threats that have been directed against my country, threats that have been realized with 12,000 rockets that have been fired on our territory, and terrorist attacks that go unabated."  (U.S. State Department)
        See also Behind the Scenes at the Washington Peace Summit - Barak Ravid
    At the festive dinner at the White House, Abbas looked like someone who'd been dragged to a party against his will. He sat beside Netanyahu for an hour, hardly exchanging a word. Even the handshake the two leaders exchanged seemed no more than polite. In contrast to the Israeli prime minister, who tried to prove in his speech that he was full of good will and was looking ahead, Abbas spoke of the historic injustice done to the Palestinians. (Ha'aretz)
        See also In Search of "Creative Solutions" - Shlomo Cesan
    While Netanyahu was talking about Sadat, among those listening to the prime minister were some who were asking themselves if we are dealing with a leader who underwent a transformation. Will he evacuate settlements? But the prime minister explained that his solutions are different. According to him, "we will need to think in new terms. The models that we worked with in the past until now, in the areas of security and population, did not prove themselves. What is needed is a revision in thinking. Leaders need to think creatively," Netanyahu explained. (Yisrael Hayom-Hebrew, 3Sep10)
        See also Hillary Clinton: U.S. Won't "Impose" Solution for Mideast Peace - Glenn Thrush and Laura Rozen (Politico)
  • Hamas Says It Will Continue Attacks on Israelis - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    Hamas said on Thursday it would keep on attacking Israelis and denounced peace talks between Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian government. "Operations of resistance will continue," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. "Mahmoud Abbas does not have the right to speak for the Palestinians, nor to represent them, and, therefore, any results will not be binding on the Palestinian people."  (Reuters)
        See also Hamas Leader Rejects PA Talks with Israel - Diaa Hadid and Karin Laub
    Top Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar rejected compromise with Israel in a fiery speech Wednesday in Gaza, a day after Hamas gunmen killed four Israelis. Zahar rejected the idea of compromise with Israel, saying that "liberating" all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River - a reference to Israel's destruction - is a moral and religious duty. The group - shunned by the West and Israel as a terror organization - possesses a large arsenal of rockets that it could launch at Israel. (AP)
        See also Hamas among Intractable Issues in Mideast Talks - Ibrahim Barzak and Josef Federman (AP-Washington Post)
  • Japan Imposes New Iran Sanctions - Takashi Hirokawa and Sachiko Sakamaki
    Japan is suspending new oil and gas investments in Iran and freezing the assets of 88 organizations and 24 individuals in its latest round of sanctions for Tehran's nuclear program. "We've decided to add more sanctions to prevent nuclear proliferation and development," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said Friday in Tokyo. Iran is Japan's third-biggest supplier of crude oil. (Bloomberg)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israelis, Palestinians to Work Out Framework Agreement - Hilary Leila Krieger and Herb Keinon
    At the beginning of direct talks in Washington, Israelis and Palestinians agreed to work out a framework agreement in the coming months as a first step to a full peace treaty, U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell announced on Thursday. The idea, according to sources close to Netanyahu, is to reach agreement in principle on core issues, and then have the respective staffs settle the details. In private meetings, Netanyahu said that what was needed were decisions by the leaders, "not a sea of staff work."
        Mitchell stressed that the framework deal would not be an "interim agreement," but would tackle all of the issues at the heart of the conflict. The parties agreed to hold another round of talks on September 14 and 15, possibly at the Egyptian resort of Sharm e-Sheik, together with Secretary of State Clinton and Mitchell. Netanyahu and Abbas held a one-on-one discussion for two hours on Thursday. Mitchell indicated that Abbas and Netanyahu would meet personally every two weeks. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Briefing by U.S. Middle East Envoy George Mitchell on Middle East Peace Talks (State Department)
  • While Leaders Talk Peace, PA Ministers Inciting, Encouraging Terror - Gil Hoffman
    Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon noted Thursday that a Palestinian Authority minister had visited the families of suicide bombers while PA President Abbas was meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. PA Minister for Prisoner Affairs Issa Karake visited the Abu Hamid family, to meet a mother whose four sons were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Israelis and give her an award. Karake praised the terrorists' mother and her family's contribution to the "struggle for Palestinian independence." He also visited the family of Ayyat Al-Akhras, a suicide bomber who murdered two Israelis in a Jerusalem supermarket in 2002.
        "While negotiations are restarting in Washington, ministers in Abbas' government are continuing with their incitement and encouraging acts of terrorism," Ayalon said. "The Palestinians need to make a decision, they cannot talk peace and at the same time encourage terrorism."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Mother of Four Terrorist Murderers Honored by Palestinian Authority - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
        See also PLO Ambassador to Iran Hopes to See "Complete Eradication" of Israel
    Palestine's Ambassador to Tehran Salah Zawawi said on Thursday that the relentless struggle with the Zionist occupiers will continue until liberation of Holy Qods (Jerusalem). He said that the Zionist regime was established by Western powers to harm unity of the Arab nations and the world Muslims. "As our struggles with the Zionists will get tougher in the future, we hope for more support from the Islamic Ummah," he said. "Through solidarity of world Muslims, we hope to witness the complete eradication of the fabricated regime in due course," Zawawi said. (IRNA-Iran)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    The Hamas Attacks and the Peace Process

  • Israelis Do Not Have High Hopes in Peace Talks - Yossi Klein Halevi
    "The peace process is back," my friend said with bitter sarcasm, after four Israelis were killed in a terror attack just before Palestinian-Israeli negotiations got underway this week. The Oslo peace process of the 1990s was accompanied by waves of attacks by Hamas jihadists, which Israelis believe were tacitly orchestrated by their negotiating partner at the time, Yasser Arafat. Then, in September 2000, just as Israel accepted a Palestinian state and the re-division of Jerusalem, Arafat responded by launching a four-year terror war.
        But there is one crucial difference. Today, Israel is facing a negotiating partner who isn't instigating terrorism while feigning moderation. Abbas is engaged in a life-and-death power struggle with Iran's ally, Hamas. That is why he approved an unprecedented level of cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. In the Middle East, pessimism is almost always warranted. But if expectations are kept modest and the focus holds on the common jihadist threat, Palestinians and Israelis may yet surprise themselves. The writer is a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Hamas Attacks: Deja Vu All Over Again? - David Makovsky
    That the Hamas attacks came on the eve of Mideast peace talks is a grim reminder that spoilers will try desperately to upend hopes for negotiations seeking to end the conflict. Hamas' latest attack is reminiscent of the tactics they employed in the 1990s, when their aim was to plant a bomb on an Israeli bus immediately preceding a key moment of peace negotiations. Yet violence in the '90s did not succeed in forcing Israel to withdraw from the West Bank. Four bombs in the course of nine days preceding the 1996 election only angered Israelis and led to Benjamin Netanyahu's first victory as prime minister. Hamas attacks also decreased the popularity of peace talks among the Israeli public, rendering withdrawal tantamount to vulnerability, not security.
        Hamas has made clear its intention to demonstrate that the security cooperation between Israel and the PA is not strong enough to stop their terrorist activities. The answer must be the continuation of tight Israeli-PA security cooperation to thwart those who want to sabotage the chances of peace. The writer directs the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (USA Today)
  • Arab Intransigence, Not Settlements, Block Peace - Melanie Phillips
    Hamas set out to "disrupt" the negotiations taking place in Washington between Israel and the Palestinians by murdering Israelis. Hamas knows that its murderous attacks upon Israeli civilians inevitably results in pressure by the "civilized" world not on those who wage such terror campaigns but on their Israeli victims. It is not Hamas or the Palestinians who are punished by America, Britain and Europe for murdering Israelis, but Israel for either defending itself against them or refusing to make more suicidal "concessions" which expose yet more of its civilians to murderous attack.
        The obsessional focus upon the settlements has allowed the Arabs to pretend that the core issue is indeed the settlers, and if only they were removed from the territories there would be peace. The slightest acquaintance with history shows that this is a ludicrous analysis. The Arabs have been waging a war of extermination against the Jewish presence in first Palestine and then Israel from the 1920s onwards. The proof that the settlements were not the issue came when Israel evicted the settlers from Gaza - to which the reaction was not peace or nation-building towards a state of Palestine, but thousands of rockets fired from Gaza at Israel.
        The settlers are said to have stolen land from the Palestinians. This is false. The land never belonged to a sovereign country of Palestine because there was none. It was "no man's land," illegally occupied for a while by Jordan. Nor was it "stolen" from individual Palestinians since most of it was empty space, or bought from Arabs, or it was land originally owned and lived in by Jews. (Spectator-UK)
  • Latest Hamas Terror Attack Part of a Broader Picture - Barry Rubin
    The latest attack by Hamas, killing four Israelis, was a signal, timed for the restart of direct negotiations, that Hamas will subvert by terror any progress toward Israel-Palestinian peace. The attack signals to the Palestinian public that "resistance" is an alternative accorded much more honor and respectability. It is Hamas' counter-campaign to show that violence is preferable. And why not? Murdering Israelis is right in the dominant Palestinian political culture, is made to seem heroic, and doesn't carry heavy penalties either for the groups doing it or individual terrorists carrying it out.
        This attack also reminds Israel that the PA is unable to stop terrorism. Thus, the creation of a Palestinian state at this time and in these circumstances would not necessarily be a solution ending the conflict, but merely a new stage of cross-border attacks, official anti-Israel incitement, and growing power for Hamas and its radical allies within the Fatah group that rules the West Bank.
        Moreover, nowadays such acts of terrorism don't generate real international support for Israel but often suggestions that it should make more concessions faster in order to "end" the violence. Indeed, the New York Times' opening paragraph on the attack actually succeeded in blaming Israel as the culprit after four of its own innocent civilians are murdered: "The killing of four Israeli settlers...underscored the disruptive role that the issue of Jewish settlements could play in the already fragile negotiations." Not the disruptive role of Palestinian terrorism but of Jewish settlements! The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. (Rubin Report)
  • Prospects for Peace Talks - Gerald M. Steinberg
    The catastrophic outcome of the Oslo process has increased Israeli concerns over security, and the demonization campaign against Israel has led many Israelis to give up on international acceptance, with or without peace. In parallel, Palestinians are deeply divided, with Hamas in control of Gaza, and the remnants of the PLO/Fatah group clinging to power in the West Bank.
        Nevertheless, there is a slim basis for considering a positive outcome. Israelis are tired of the conflict and ready for a compromise that meets basic requirements. Polls consistently show that the majority want an end to the post-1967 stalemate, without inviting renewed terrorism, as occurred following the Gaza withdrawal in 2005. Internationally recognized and defensible borders (not the 1949 cease-fire lines) would have a number of positive impacts. The writer is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and heads NGO Monitor. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)

    Other Issues

  • I Am a Refugee - Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon
    My father, his parents and family were just a few of the almost one million Jews who were expelled or forced out of Arab lands. My father and his family were Algerian, from a Jewish community thousands of years old that predated the Arab conquest of North Africa and even Islam. Upon receiving independence, Algeria allowed only Muslims to become citizens and drove the indigenous Jewish community and the rest of my family out. While those Arabs who fled or left Mandatory Palestine and Israel numbered roughly 750,000, there were roughly 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Before the State of Israel was reestablished in 1948, there were almost one million Jews in Arab lands, today there are around 5,000.
        Financial economists have estimated that, in today's figures, the total amount of assets lost by the Jewish refugees from Arab lands is almost twice that of the assets lost by the Palestinian refugees. Normally the definition of a refugee only applies to the person that fled and sought refuge, while a Palestinian refugee is the person that fled and all of their descendants for all time. So, according to the UNRWA definition of conferring refugee status on descendants, I would be a refugee. (Jerusalem Post)
  • What Egypt's Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah Want in Washington - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah, in Washington for the launching of direct negotiations between Israel and the PA, went there out of concern for their regimes, and not because they cared so much about the Palestinians or the Middle East peace process. There is growing opposition in Egypt to the idea of Mubarak's son, Gamal, succeed him as president, as posters carrying pictures of Gamal and seeking support for his candidacy have appeared in many places in the country. Mubarak, 82, knows that without the backing of the U.S. and the approval of the Western media, Gamal will never be permitted to step into his father's shoes. Such backing is even more important than winning the support of the Egyptians, whose opinion doesn't matter anyway.
        Mubarak went to Washington not to seek peace between Palestinians and Israelis, but to pave the way for his son's rise to power. If Mubarak really cared about the peace process, he would not be allowing his government-controlled media to continue vomiting anti-Semitism and anti-Israel propaganda: instead of delegitimizing Israel and demonizing Jews, he would be preparing his people for peace.
        King Abdullah went to Washington because he wants to secure the continued backing of the West - and Israel - for his regime. King Abdullah is afraid of an independent Palestinian state on his border. He would rather see IDF soldiers patrolling the border with Israel than Palestinian border guards. Mubarak and Abdullah are in Washington because they want to get rid of the Palestinians, not because they want to help them, because they want to make sure that the Palestinian issue remains Israel's problem alone. (Hudson Institute-New York)
        See also Group Promotes Egypt's Spy Chief for President - Sarah El Deeb
    Activists on Thursday hung posters across Cairo supporting Lt. Gen. Omar Suleiman, Egypt's intelligence chief, as a candidate in next year's presidential elections. Suleiman, 74, is a close Mubarak adviser and is in charge of Egypt's most pressing foreign policy issues, such as relations with Israel, the U.S. and neighboring Sudan. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Reason for Optimism in Mideast Talks - Michael B. Oren (McClatchy-Tribune)

    • Israeli and Palestinian leaders are in Washington trying to make peace - again. Is there any reason for optimism? Indeed, there is. For the first time in history, most Arab leaders view a Middle Eastern state other than Israel - Iran - as their major enemy.
    • The West Bank - or, as the Bible calls it, Judea and Samaria - was twice used as a staging ground for wars of annihilation against Israel, which captured the area in 1967. Sacred to the Jewish people for 3,000 years and vital to the defense of Israel's borders (which were a mere eight miles wide prior to 1967), the West Bank became home to hundreds of thousands of Israelis. With the start of the peace process in 1993, successive Israeli governments recognized the need to make painful sacrifices in these territories while upholding the right of Israeli citizens to continue building there.
    • Since assuming office, Netanyahu has made several gestures to the Palestinians to encourage them to return to the negotiating table. In addition to removing hundreds of checkpoints and facilitating the Palestinian economic boom, he has refrained from building any new settlements, from acquiring new territory for existing ones and from offering Israelis incentives to move to them. Finally, in a measure described as "unprecedented" by Secretary of State Clinton, Netanyahu froze all new construction within the settlements for a ten-month period.
    • The Palestinians are now threatening to quit the negotiations unless Netanyahu extends the construction freeze. Israel, of course, is seeking specific goals in the talks, including demilitarization of the Palestinian state and its recognition of Israel as the nation of the Jewish people. Israel also wants the Palestinians to cease teaching their children that Israel has no right to exist, and naming public squares after terrorists. But we are not insisting that the Palestinians meet these objectives before the talks even begin. We appreciate, therefore, Secretary Clinton's call for "good faith" negotiations "without preconditions."
    • Settlements have never been an obstacle to peace. Though Israelis account for 17% of the West Bank's population, they inhabit a mere 1.7% of the land. The existence of the settlements did not prevent Egypt and Jordan from making peace with Israel, or the Palestinians from negotiating with us for nearly two decades. All parties to negotiations understand that the large settlement clusters will, in any final-status treaty, remain part of Israel.

      The writer is Israeli ambassador to the United States.

    Support the Daily Alert
    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.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert