>Today’s Israel News…

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Reminder, Mike Sachs, TSTI member andNortheast Regional Director of AIPAC will once again be offering an update on Israel between the morning and afternoon services on Yom Kippur

Israel Through European Eyes – Yoram Hazony
Every few months, Israel is publicly pilloried in the international media and on university campuses around the world for some alleged violation of human rights, real or imagined. Whatever the ostensible subject, we know for certain that there will be another campaign of vilification in the media and on the campuses and in the corridors of power – a smear campaign of a kind that no other nation on earth is subjected to on a regular basis. We will again see our nation treated not as a democracy doing its duty to defend its people and its freedom, but as some kind of a scourge.
    Israelis and friends of Israel can reasonably be divided on the question of whether the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, or the parallel withdrawal from the security zone in South Lebanon in 2000, was really in Israel’s interests. But one thing about which we can all agree, I think, is that these withdrawals did nothing to stem the tide of hatred and vilification being poured on Israel’s head internationally. Whatever it is that is driving the trend toward the progressive delegitimization of Israel, it is a trend operating more or less without reference to any particular Israeli policy on any given issue.
    The modern State of Israel was founded, in terms of the understanding of the international community, as a nation-state, the state of the Jewish people. And the birth of Israel was followed by the establishment of dozens of additional independent states throughout the Third World. But now the nations of Europe have established a new paradigm in which the independent nation-state is seen by many intellectuals and political figures in Europe as a source of incalculable evil. Thus the new paradigm understands Israel, and especially the independent Israeli use of force to defend itself, as illegitimate down to its foundations. The writer is founder and provost of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. (Jewish Ideas Daily)
U.S. Wants Agreement Now, Peace Later – Shimon Shiffer
The Obama administration plans to present Israel and the Palestinian Authority with a new outline aimed at ending the Middle East conflict. Yediot Ahronot has learned that the Americans will pressure the parties to sign a framework agreement for a permanent settlement within one year, but that the agreement itself would be implemented within 10 years.
    A protocol summarizing a conference call between leaders of American Jewish organizations and Daniel Shapiro – the National Security Council’s top Middle East expert; Dennis Ross, and David Hale – deputy to U.S. special Middle East envoy George Mitchell, provides a fascinating peek into the administration’s plans in the near future. According to the American plan, the Israeli and Palestinian negotiation teams would hold intensive talks in isolated sites to discuss the core issues of the permanent agreement: Jerusalem’s future, borders, settlements and refugees. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would be required to hold frequent meetings in order to solve concrete problems and advance the negotiations’ stages.
    If the talks reach a deadlock, American officials would intervene and attempt to bridge between the sides. In addition, the U.S. would try to convince the Arab states to offer goodwill gestures to Israel and influence the Palestinians to compromise. (Ynet News)
The President and the Peace Process – Lexington
Why, you have to wonder, do they bother with the “peace process.” The present conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine has been going on for about a century. Yet every American president is implored upon entering office to bring the quarrel swiftly to an end. Most have a go – or at least go through the motions. Jimmy Carter owes his Nobel peace prize in large part to the peace deal he brokered between Israel and Egypt in 1978 (and has never let the world forget it). Bill Clinton got Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat to shake hands on the White House lawn, but no peace, and no prize, followed the unhappy Camp David summit of 2000. After his own election in 2000, George Bush took one look at the blood and muddle and decided that America had better things to do.
    After the dinner Mr. Obama intends to host at the White House on September 1 for Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, the two sides are supposed to start talking directly again, relieving George Mitchell, Mr. Obama’s envoy, of the need to shuttle between them. That is progress of a sort, albeit not the sort that poses the slightest danger of raising high expectations. It merely restores matters to where they stood after Mr. Bush inaugurated a previous set of direct talks in Annapolis at the end of 2007. These were expected to fail, and lived up to expectations. This next lot of talks is expected to fail, too. (Economist-UK)
Reassessing U.S. Military Assistance to Lebanon – David Schenker
In the aftermath of the Lebanese Armed Forces’ (LAF) August 3 cross-border shooting of two Israeli officers, one fatal, U.S. military assistance to Lebanon has come under increasing scrutiny. The State Department and congressional appropriators should work out clear, transparent, measurable, and verifiable benchmarks by which all sides – including the Lebanese – can evaluate the merit of maintaining assistance to the LAF.
    Are LAF officers who share intelligence with Hizbullah disciplined or congratulated? Does the LAF play a role in preventing the import of weapons from Syria or their flow south of the Litani or in facilitating it? Do officials of Hizbullah’s militia transfer directly into the LAF? Does LAF weaponry end up under Hizbullah control? Do LAF units follow Hizbullah guidance in obstructing the operations of UNIFIL? Will the LAF arrest and transfer Hizbullah officials that may be indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri? (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Mike Sachs
Northeast Regional Director
212-750-4110 • Fax 212-750-4125
AIPAC • The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Join us at the AIPAC National Summit, October 24-25
Visit www.aipac.org/Summit2010 for more information.

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