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|
November 15, 2010
Israeli Official: Hamas Rockets Can Reach Tel Aviv (AP)
Congressional Letter Questioning Saudi Arms Sales Gets 198 Signatures - Josh Rogin (Foreign Policy)
Iran Protests at China Saying "Arabian Gulf" (Fars-Iran)
Why Is Life Expectancy in Israel So High? - Amnon Rubinstein (Jerusalem Post)
Video: American Football in Israel - Kevin Flower (CNN)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has agreed to push his cabinet to freeze most construction on settlements in the West Bank for 90 days to break an impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, an official briefed on talks between the U.S. and Israel said Saturday. In return, the Obama administration has offered Israel a package of security incentives and fighter jets worth $3 billion that would be contingent on the signing of a peace agreement, the official said. The U.S. would also block any moves in the UN Security Council that would try to shape a final peace agreement.
This proposed 90-day freeze would be nonrenewable: the U.S. would not ask for further extensions. The logic behind a 90-day extension is that the two sides would aim for a swift agreement on the borders of a Palestinian state. That would make the long dispute over settlements irrelevant since it would be clear which housing blocs fell into Israel and which fell into a Palestinian state.
The security incentives offered by the administration, though generous, do not appear to go far beyond the support the U.S. typically offers Israel. For example, the U.S. has not agreed to endorse a long-term Israeli security presence in the Jordan River Valley. (New York Times)
For four months, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili traded letters trying to pin down a time and place for Iran to meet with a group of powerful countries concerned about its nuclear program. They appeared to have settled on a start date: Dec. 5. But they have yet to agree on a venue, a length for the talks or the subject. Iran says it is willing to talk about everything but its uranium enrichment program. The other countries want to talk mostly about the nuclear program. (Washington Post)
"Syria's behavior has not met our hopes and expectations over the past 20 months - and Syria's actions have not met its international obligations," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar in an interview published Friday. "We are not engaging for engagement's sake. We are engaging to advance our interests," she said.
"Syria lives with consequences of pursuing policies that are outside established international norms - which is largely why the region's economic development of the past decade has left Syria behind," she said. She also pledged: "Our engagement with Syria will never come at Lebanon's expense. Nor will it come at the expense of holding Syria accountable for its behavior." (AFP)
See also Text of Interview with Secretary of State Clinton (U.S. State Department)
U.S. lawmakers lifted a congressional hold on $100 million in military assistance for Lebanon's armed forces. "I have...been given reason for confidence that assistance to the LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces] has not fallen into the hands of Hizbullah and that every possible measure is being taken by Lebanese and American authorities to prevent that from happening," House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman said in a statement Friday. U.S. assistance has included armored personnel carriers, helicopters, M-16 rifles, night-vision scopes and advanced training. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for trying to win approval from his coalition government for a U.S. proposal to extend a freeze on West Bank settlement construction. "I commend Prime Minister Netanyahu for taking, I think, a very constructive step," Obama said. "It's not easy for him to do but I think it's a signal that he is serious."
An Israeli political source said the 15-minister security cabinet vote was expected later this week and that 7 ministers - Netanyahu among them - were likely to back the U.S. proposal, against 6 who would vote against and 2 who would abstain. (Ha'aretz)
See also Palestinians Waiting for U.S. Guarantees, Aid Package - Roee Nahmias
After Israel received a list of promises from the U.S. in exchange for agreeing to an additional settlement construction freeze, Palestinian sources said Monday their leadership was awaiting guarantees and an aid package from Washington as well. Palestinian sources told al-Quds al-Arabi that the commitments would be given in exchange for a Palestinian agreement to renew direct peace talks with Israel. (Ynet News)
The Israeli government agreed on Sunday to bring 8,000 Falashmura Jews who remain in transit camps in Gondar, Ethiopia, to Israel over the next four years. (Ynet News)
Yasser Arafat's personal bodyguard said the Palestinian leader did not die as a result of poison in his food. "We all ate what he ate," Imad Abu Zaki, 47, told Al-Hayat in an interview published Sunday. "We would eat from the same food 45 minutes before he did." "It is safe to assume that he was poisoned, but not with food," he said. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The pledge by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to push for a new, one-time-only freeze of 90 days on settlement construction in the West Bank represents a bet by the Israelis and the Americans that enough can be accomplished so that the Palestinians will not abandon peace talks even after the freeze ends. Both Israeli and American officials said that final borders could not be negotiated in three months, but Obama administration officials said they believed that the Israelis and Palestinians could make enough progress on the contours of a Palestinian state to largely set aside the dispute over settlements.
The West Bank is the heartland of much Jewish history, so for many Israelis, giving it up is a painful prospect and should come only as part of a comprehensive deal including Palestinian recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. (New York Times)
See also Inside the Clinton-Netanyahu Meeting - Josh Rogin (Foreign Policy)
There another way of looking at the supposed U.S. "incentive" being offered to Israel. Until this weekend, most people assumed that Israel enjoyed an unconditional American promise to maintain its military edge, and a nearly unconditional promise to support it in the UN. Now it seems that President Obama is making the continuation of some of these things conditional on Israel's acceptance of a three-month settlement freeze, during which Israel will be pressed to agree to final borders with a putative Palestinian state in the West Bank. (Economist-UK)
Just a few years ago, Lebanon appeared to be a foreign-policy success for the U.S. as the Lebanese people, bolstered by international support, succeeded in expelling Syrian military forces and asserting Lebanese sovereignty for the first time in decades. These days, however, the March 14 coalition, as the ruling group is known, has been unable to capitalize on its popular mandate due to the overwhelming force wielded by Hizbullah, which is funded, trained, and armed by Iran and Syria. If the Obama administration takes a bold stand in favor of Lebanon's independence, it will find that many figures in Beirut and other countries with a stake in Lebanon's stability will enthusiastically follow its lead. (Foreign Policy)
How to Squeeze Iran on the Nuclear Issue - Ray Takeyh (Washington Post)
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