Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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


October 12, 2010

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Signs of Tension as U.S. Scrambles to Salvage Peace Talks - Laura Rozen (Politico)
    As the U.S. scrambles to try to salvage Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, there are signs of tensions inside Obama's Middle East team.
    Adding to the friction are unresolved turf questions over who speaks for President Obama on Middle East peace policy - his Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell or his senior NSC Iran and Middle East strategist Dennis Ross, or, as the case seems to be, both.
    Mitchell is perceived at times to have had his authority in the region undercut. In one sign of friction, Mara Rudman, who has been serving as Mitchell's chief of staff, is expected to depart to take a top USAID Middle East post.

Al-Qaeda's New Strategy: Less Apocalypse, More Street Fighting - Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson (Washington Post)
    Recent plots, including the Mumbai raid in November 2008, the Times Square car bomb attempt in May of this year and now the plot in Europe, show that al-Qaeda is not only operationally alive and well, but has transformed its post-Afghanistan tactical retreat into a formidable new strategy.
    There is no reason to think that al-Qaeda has abandoned its all-out jihad, and it is now raising a new army designed to wage traditional urban warfare.
    With the help of Western members of the Muslim diaspora or converts to Islam who are difficult for Western security services to detect, al-Qaeda's leadership has embraced low-intensity urban warfare in densely populated areas.
    This was the mode of jihad envisioned by Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin, the late leader of the jihad in Saudi Arabia and the author of the appropriately named turn-of-the-century al-Qaeda combat manual The War Against Cities.
    Steven Simon is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Jonathan Stevenson is a professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Naval War College.
    See also Al-Qaeda Views West Terror Alert Fears as Victory (AFP-France 24)
    The U.S. warning over a possible al-Qaeda attack at tourist hotspots in Europe has given a sense of victory to Islamist extremists, intelligence experts said.
    As ominous images of soldiers in combat gear in Paris patrolling at the foot of the Eiffel Tower flickered across TV screens, Alain Chouet, former head of security information at the French DGSE intelligence agency, said, "All this free publicity is like manna from heaven for al-Qaeda."

Israel Aerospace Industries Unveils Tilt-Rotor UAV - Darren Quick (Gizmag)
    Tilt-rotor aircraft combine the vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is bringing these benefits to unmanned aerial vehicles with its new Panther and Mini Panther UAVs that were unveiled last week.
    With an automatic flight control system that transitions between the hovering takeoff phase to forward flight and vice versa before landing, the system allows the craft to take off and land automatically with the click of a button on the operator console.
    The Panther is powered by three ultra-quiet electrical motors that allow the craft to loiter for approximately six hours, at an altitude of up to 10,000 feet, with an operational radius of over 60 km (37 miles).

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

  • Palestinians Reject Israel Settlement Compromise - Adrian Blomfield
    Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, offered Monday to extend a partial freeze on Jewish building in the West Bank in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Within minutes of the proposal being made public, Palestinian officials had rejected it out of hand. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also PA Rejects Offer of New Construction Freeze for Recognition of Jewish State - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, said that a peace agreement would require Palestinian acceptance of Israel's legitimacy. "If they do it now, this would energize the process and move it ahead much more speedily to tackle the other issues....This process will not succeed if the expectation is that the Palestinians make the demands, and Israel makes the concessions. It will only work if it is a two-way street where there is give and take, and flexibility is exercised on both sides."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also U.S. State Department: Obama Administration Committed to Israel's Democracy as a Jewish State - Natasha Mozgovaya
    In response to Netanyahu's offer, a U.S. State Department official told Ha'aretz Monday: "U.S. policy has been consistent. Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton are committed to Israel's democracy as a Jewish state."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also below Observations: Are the Palestinians Truly Ready to Live with Us in Peace? - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Ahmadinejad Trip Highlights Iranian Sway in Lebanon - Dominic Evans
    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits Lebanon Wednesday on a trip which underlines the growing power of Iran's Shi'ite ally Hizbullah. The U.S. says Iran's support for Hizbullah militants undermines Lebanese sovereignty.
        Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Saturday that Lebanon should thank Iran for helping to rebuild Beirut's southern suburbs and south Lebanon after the 2006 war, both Hizbullah strongholds. "Where did this money come from? From donations? No, frankly from Iran." Officials close to Hizbullah say it spent about $1 billion of Iranian money since 2006 on aid and rebuilding. (Reuters)
        See also Lebanon, Neighbors Brace for Ahmadinejad Visit - Borzou Daragahi
    From dozens of giant billboards mounted on overpasses and hundreds of smaller placards along highways near the Israeli border, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's image peers out, half-smiling and one hand held in an informal salute. Some observers see Ahmadinejad's visit as a victory lap and a slap to Israel, the U.S. and its Arab allies in the region, as well as Lebanon. (Los Angeles Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Netanyahu Protests Talk of UN Recognizing PA State - Barak Ravid
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu protested statements made by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on the possibility that the UN Security Council would recognize a Palestinian state. Netanyahu asked Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos during their meeting Monday for clarification on the matter, and also to relay to PA President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinians would not gain a state by forcing a decision at the Security Council - only through direct negotiations with Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Turkish Journalist on the Flotilla Ship: "IDF Soldiers Did Not Open Fire Until Their Lives Were in Danger"
    On Sept. 24, in an interview with Israel Channel 1 TV, Turkish journalist Azefik Dinc, who was on the Mavi Marmara flotilla ship and wrote a book about it, said that no shots were fired from the Israeli helicopters and that IDF soldiers did not open fire until their lives were in danger. According to Dinc, it wasn't until the soldiers realized that some of their friends' lives were in danger that they began using live ammunition.
        Dinc's descriptions completely contradict the biased testimonies of IHH activists which were the basis for a report compiled by the UN Human Rights Council. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
  • Knesset Committee Discusses Arab Rock-Throwing at Jewish Cars in Jerusalem - Melanie Lidman
    The Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child on Monday discussed the issue of Arab minors throwing rocks at cars in east Jerusalem. The meeting was organized after an incident on Friday when a car driven by a Jew lightly injured two Arab children who had thrown rocks at his car. "We don't want to see any children injured, period," said committee head Danny Danon. "But we also don't want to see children involved in negative activities."
        In the past six months, the police have arrested 76 people for rock throwing incidents in Jerusalem. Thirty were youth, between the ages of 12-18, and 46 were adults. 17 youth and 10 adults were served with indictments. Jewish residents from east Jerusalem neighborhoods noted that every day for the past two weeks, groups of kids had been at the main intersection at Ras-al-Amud, near the Mount of Olives cemetery, throwing rocks at passing cars for the entire day. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel to Boost Mt. of Olives Security
    Israel's Internal Security Ministry and Housing Ministry announced that millions of shekels will be invested to boost security at the Mount of Olives site in Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday. The new plan will include hundreds of cameras and sensors, and will increase the activities of the border police at the site. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem: Why Continued Israeli Control Is Vital - Nadav Shragai (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Recognizing the Jewish State - Editorial
    Israel has approved an amendment to its citizenship law by which those seeking to become naturalized citizens will take an oath of allegiance to Israel "as a Jewish and democratic state." The oath doesn't require a new Israeli citizen to be Jewish, but to acknowledge the essentially Jewish nature of the country. This measure shouldn't be controversial. Israel is the most diverse country in the Middle East, in which people of many nationalities and religions live, work and worship. The citizenship oath only makes explicit that Jewish national identity is fundamental to the Israeli state.
        Article 4 of the Palestinian Basic Law proclaims, "Islam is the official religion in Palestine" and "the principles of Islamic Sharia shall be the main source of legislation." The Hamas slogan is "Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Koran its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief." That's hardly a declaration of inclusiveness. (Washington Times)
  • Israel's Border with Iran - Tim Marshall
    Israel has known for years that it has a de facto border with Iran - to the north in Lebanon. The President of Iran is heading there this week where he will be close enough to see Israeli houses and border guards. The route from Beirut to the south will be lined with Iranian flags, huge billboards bearing the beaming image of the President, and thousands of Lebanon's Shia Muslims responding to a call out from Hizbullah. The images this will produce could be construed as proof that southern Lebanon is a client "state" of Iran and the border is Iran's border, and front line, with Israel. (Sky News-UK)
  • The Conflict Is Not About Settlements - Geoffrey Alderman
    The Palestinian Arab leadership is making a real song and dance about Jewish settlements, but why? After all, these settlements are hardly at the root of the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors and their Islamist sponsors. There were no such settlements between 1948 and 1967 but there was still conflict. The war launched against Israel in 1948 at the behest of the Arab League was not about settlements. It was about the Jewish right of national self-determination and the hostility of the Muslim world to the exercise of this right in an area regarded as part of the Realm of Islam. That was what the conflict was about in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. That is what the conflict is still about today. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • Observations:

    Are the Palestinians Truly Ready to Live with Us in Peace? - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister's Office)

    Addressing the Knesset at the opening of its winter session Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

    • "For 100 years, the Palestinians have taught entire generations to believe that there is no Jewish people, that this land is their homeland alone. The refusal to recognize the rights of the Jewish people and its historic connection to its land is the root of the conflict, and without dealing with it, there will be no end to the conflict."
    • "Any peace agreement between the Palestinians and us must be based on strong security arrangements in the field. We left Lebanon and Gaza without such security arrangements, and we suffered thousands of rockets fired at the Negev and the Galilee....I will not allow Iranian missiles to be positioned 500 meters from Kfar Saba, or scant kilometers from Ben-Gurion Airport."
    • "We must not take these security problems too lightly, and we must not allow ourselves to be tempted by the illusion that a peace agreement, in and of itself, will resolve them. We once had peaceful, normal relations...[with] Iran....Things have changed in Iran, and unfortunately in other places as well, almost overnight, and no one can promise us that, despite our desire, a similar thing won't happen after the establishment of a peace agreement with the Palestinians."
    • "Therefore we must insist on strong security arrangements in the order to ensure that the peace will be upheld in practice, and also in order to defend our existence in the unfortunate but possible case that the peace is violated."
    • "During the past several weeks, I have explored every path to ensuring the continuation of the [peace] talks. I asked myself - what could convince the government and, more so, the citizens of Israel, that the Palestinians are truly ready to live with us in peace? What would show that there has been a genuine change on the Palestinian side - something that would demonstrate to us, the majority of the public, that they are not only demanding concessions by Israel, not only issuing dictates, but that they are ready to take a meaningful step towards us."
    • "If the Palestinian leadership will unequivocally say to its people that it recognizes Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, I will be ready to convene my government and ask for another suspension of construction [in the West Bank] for a fixed period. Because the Palestinians expect us to recognize the Palestinian state as their nation-state, we can expect them to recognize the Jewish state as our nation-state."

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert