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December 13, 2010

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U.S. Report: German Nazis Paid "a Fortune" to Jerusalem Mufti - Sam Roberts (New York Times)
    A report published Friday by the U.S. National Archives reveals the close working relationship between Nazi leaders and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who later claimed that he sought refuge in wartime Germany only to avoid arrest by the British.
    The report says the Muslim leader was paid "an absolute fortune" of 50,000 marks a month (when a German field marshal was making 25,000 marks a year).
    It also said he energetically recruited Muslims for the SS, the Nazi Party's elite military command, and was promised that he would be installed as the leader of Palestine after German troops drove out the British and exterminated the Jews there.
    The report details how Husseini was allowed to flee after the war to Syria - he was in the custody of the French - and how high-ranking Nazis escaped from Germany to become advisers to anti-Israel Arab leaders and "were able to carry on and transmit to others Nazi racial-ideological anti-Semitism."
    In October 1945, the report says, the British head of Palestine's Criminal Investigation Division told the assistant American military attache in Cairo that the mufti might be the only force able to unite the Palestine Arabs and "cool off the Zionists. Of course, we can't do it, but it might not be such a damn bad idea at that."
    See also Hitlerís Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence and the Cold War - Richard Breitman and Norman J.W. Goda (U.S. National Archives)

Israel Sending Aid to Colombian Flood Victims - Anshel Pfeffer and Zohar Blumenkrantz (Ha'aretz)
    An El Al aircraft left Israel on Sunday with 50 tons of rescue equipment to aid the victims of mudslides caused by flooding in Colombia.

Documents Show Nixon Ordered Jews Excluded from Israel Policy - Louise Radnofsky (Wall Street Journal)
    Documents released Friday by the Richard Nixon presidential library contain fresh details on the former president's antipathy toward Jews.
    Nixon ordered his aides to exclude all Jewish-Americans from policy-making on Israel, according to formerly classified notes taken by then-chief of staff Bob Haldeman in July 1971. "No Jew can handle the Israeli thing," the notes read. Later, Haldeman writes, "Forget the Jews - they're against" the administration.

Yad Vashem to Teach Holocaust to Arabs (AP)
    Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial, has launched a new effort to educate the country's Arab minority - many of whom either deny the horror or undermine its scope - with a new project offering seminars to Arab teachers.
    A 2009 poll showed that some 30% of Israeli Arabs didn't believe the Holocaust occurred.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Clinton: U.S. Won't Give Up Push for Mideast Peace - Robert Burns
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insists the U.S. will keep pressing Israel and the Palestinians to settle their differences. "When one way is blocked, we will seek another," she vowed Friday. Clinton said the U.S. would not give up its effort to draw the two sides toward a final settlement. And she said the establishment of a Palestinian state through negotiations is "inevitable."  (AP-Washington Post)
        See also below Observations - U.S.: There Is No Alternative to Negotiations - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (U.S. State Department)
        See also Israel Pleased Clinton Rejects Imposed Solution - Hilary Leila Krieger and Herb Keinon
    Israel expressed satisfaction on Saturday night that Secretary of State Clinton came out unequivocally against an imposed diplomatic solution in her Middle East policy speech Friday. One government official said that Clinton's saying there should be no imposed solution was one of three important elements Jerusalem saw in her speech.
        The second element was stressing that future borders must "protect Israel's security" - diplomatic code for not insisting that Israel had to return to the pre-1967 lines, which are widely deemed by the government as indefensible. Third, Clinton said that the core issues must be dealt with together, not separately. Israel has adamantly opposed Palestinian demands that the issue of borders be decided within 90 days, without tackling security arrangements - the disarmament of a Palestinian state and an IDF presence on the Jordan River - that Jerusalem deems necessary to enable any Israeli withdrawal. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Says Recognition of Palestinian State Premature
    Brazil and Argentina's recognition of a Palestinian state is premature, U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns said during a visit to Chile on Friday. "It's only through negotiation between the parties themselves, Palestinians and Israelis, that we'll be able to realize the two-state solution," he said. (Reuters)
  • U.S. and Allies Plan More Sanctions Against Iran - David E. Sanger
    Gary Samore, President Obama's chief nuclear adviser, said Friday that the U.S. and its allies planned new sanctions in an effort to test "Iran's pain threshold" and force the country into suspending its production of nuclear fuel. Samore suggested that Iran may have decided to resume the talks with members of the UN Security Council and Germany "because it believes it can manipulate the appearance of negotiations to weaken existing sanctions and avoid additional measures."
        "This ploy will not work....We need to send the message to Iran that sanctions will only increase if Iran avoids serious negotiations and will not be lifted until our concerns are fully addressed." Asked about the effects of the Stuxnet computer worm, Samore said, "I'm glad to hear they are having troubles with their centrifuge machines, and the U.S. and its allies are doing everything we can to make it more complicated."  (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Dividing Jerusalem Is Not Israeli Policy
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday distanced himself from Defense Minister Ehud Barak's expressed support for partitioning Jerusalem along Jewish and Arab lines, according to an initiative presented by former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 2000. Netanyahu clarified that Barak's speech to the Saban Center for Middle East Policy over the weekend did not reflect the official Israeli stance. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. Envoy to Begin Talks on "Core Issues" - Herb Keinon
    U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell will begin a new phase in the diplomatic process when he meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday. As part of its new diplomatic track toward a framework agreement, the U.S. will begin discussing intensively, but separately, the core issues of refugees, borders and security, settlements, Jerusalem, and water with Israel and the Palestinians.
        Responding to an op-ed piece by chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat in The Guardian on Friday, one Israeli official said, "By pursuing a hard-line position on refugees, he [Erekat] is actually making peace more difficult. The international community and leading Palestinian moderates have all spoken about the need for the Palestinians to compromise on the traditional position on the refugees, but in his op-ed piece, Erekat reaffirmed the hard-line Palestinian position, and in doing so - rather than showing flexibility - has showed an unwillingness to compromise."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Why the U.S.-Israel Settlement Deal Fell Apart - Josh Rogin
    Over the last month, the Israelis had intense discussions with U.S. officials about the specifics of the offer to extend the settlement moratorium, but the negotiations never came to fruition. For example, regarding the 20 F-35 fighter jets the Obama administration was offering as a sweetener, the Israelis wanted to know how the U.S. could promise the fighters without Congressional approval. Who would pay for the planes? When would they be delivered? Could the Obama administration even promise F-35 planes, considering they don't yet exist and are years behind schedule?
        More broadly, the U.S. never agreed to Netanyahu's demand that this would be the very last time the Israelis would be asked to extend the settlement moratorium. Moreover, administration officials could not assure Israel that the 90 days would yield progress toward a peace deal. The Palestinians would just wait out the three months, the Israelis predicted. "We felt uncomfortable with the premise of it," one Israeli official said. "It would not necessarily guarantee that after three months time we would make any headway with the Palestinians, so in three months we would be in the same situation we are today."  (Foreign Policy)
  • Sen. Lieberman on Settlement Freeze: "When You Are in a Hole, Stop Digging" - Jennifer Rubin
    Asked why the Obama administration finally gave up its effort to induce Israel to offer up a 90-day settlement freeze, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said, "There are smart people in this administration and they realized they were in a bad position." He observed that when you are in a hole, the first thing is "to stop digging." He said that focusing on a settlement freeze "was a mistake," putting both Israelis and Palestinians in a position in which they could not give in. He recalled that past administrations never demanded a settlement freeze while they conducted far-reaching talks. (Washington Post)
  • Zionists and Settlers - Jonathan S. Tobin
    As far as the New York Times' Roger Cohen is concerned, Israel's democratically elected government and the people who elected it don't measure up to his moral standards. On Dec. 9, Cohen weighed in with the sad tale of an American who got into a scuffle after a demonstration in Tel Aviv during which he and his friends waved signs that said "Zionists Are Not Settlers." There's no excuse for violence. It would have been far better for his antagonists to merely point out that Zionists have always been "settlers," since there would be no State of Israel had not some Jews had the chutzpah to jump-start the rebirth of Jewish life in the Jewish homeland by planting roots in places where Arabs didn't want them to be. Like, for example, the metropolis of Tel Aviv, which a century ago was a small Jewish settlement on the outskirts of Arab Jaffa.
        But Cohen did get one thing right. He notes that the administration's latest attempt to pressure Israel failed because "President Barack Obama had virtually no domestic constituency" for his policy. This is absolutely true. The vast majority of Americans, both Jewish and non-Jewish, support the Jewish state and oppose twisting its arm, despite the constant drumbeat of attacks on Israel, such as those by Cohen. (Commentary)

U.S.: There Is No Alternative to Negotiations - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (U.S. State Department)
Secretary of State Clinton addressed the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy on Friday:

  • "For both Israelis and Palestinians and, indeed, for all the people of the region, it is in their interest to end this conflict and bring a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace to the Middle East based on two states for two peoples....Negotiations between the parties is the only path that will succeed in securing their respective aspirations; for the Israelis, security and recognition; for the Palestinians, an independent, viable sovereign state of their own. This remains true today. There is no alternative other than reaching mutual agreement."
  • "It is time to grapple with the core issues of the conflict on borders and security; settlements, water and refugees; and on Jerusalem itself. And starting with my meetings this week, that is exactly what we are doing....The United States will not be a passive participant. We will push the parties to lay out their positions on the core issues without delay and with real specificity. We will work to narrow the gaps asking the tough questions and expecting substantive answers. And in the context of our private conversations with the parties, we will offer our own ideas and bridging proposals when appropriate."
  • "Israeli leaders must be able to offer their people internationally recognized borders that protect Israel's security. And they must be able to demonstrate to their people that the compromises needed to make peace will not leave Israel vulnerable. Security arrangements must prevent any resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with new and emerging threats."
  • "The United States and the international community cannot impose a solution....And even if we could, we would not, because it is only a negotiated agreement between the parties that will be sustainable."

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