Obama to Netanyahu: Extend building freeze amid talks
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
US president pledges to keep talks from breaking down, says alternative is status quo that puts both sides, US, at risk.
Nuclear experts watch for Iran’s first N-test after sanctions fail
DEBKAfile Special Report September 10, 2010, 1:11 PM (GMT+02:00)
WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama said at a White House news conference Friday that he has urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to extend the settlement moratorium so long as the talks begun this month are bearing fruit.
Obama pledged to help keep fast-track peace talks from breaking down, and said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas knows "the window for creating a Palestinian state is closing."
In New Year plea, Obama urges Israel, PA to push ahead
Obama, Clinton call on US Jews, Muslims to back talks
Netanyahu: There is no guarantee talks will succeed
Obama dined with both leaders at the White House last week to inaugurate the latest attempt to end the conflict.
He said he is certain the negotiations will be difficult, but he said the leaders know they need a deal, and that they need one another.
"That doesn't mean it's going to work," Obama said. "Ultimately, it's going to be up to them. We can facilitate, we can encourage, we can tell them that we will stand behind them."
The talks are "a risk worth taking," Obama said, "because letting the four-decade conflict fester makes everyone less safe."
"Israel is motivated by its own desire for stability and secure borders, and the Palestinians by the knowledge that their goal of an independent homeland could be eclipsed by time and politics," Obama suggested.
Obama said the United States will stay involved, and that includes a visit to the region by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton next week.
4th Kassam rocket since Rosh Hashana began hits Israel
By JPOST.COM STAFF
No injuries reported in attack on western Negev; latest rocket follows IAF strike on terror-related targets in Gaza in response to previous attacks.
A Kassam rocket fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip exploded in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council area on Friday morning. No injuries or damage were reported in the attack.
The rocket marked the fourth such attack on southern Israel from Gaza in the last two days since the Rosh Hashana holiday began.
Third Kassam rocket hits western Negev
'Kassams an obstacle to peace'
In retaliation for the previous rocket attacks, the Israeli Air Force attacked several terror-related targets in Gaza Thursday overnight.
Some of the targets publicized by the IDF included Hamas offices in Gaza City, a smuggling tunnel in the southern region of the Strip and what described as a "terror center" in the northern Strip.
No specifics regarding Palestinians casualties could be verified at the time of the report -although Palestinian security forces claimed at least five injured- and the IDF announced that all the IAF planes returned safely to their bases after the conclusion of the attack.
"The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm the citizens of the State of Israel and will continue to deal firmly and with strength against any source that seeks to terrorize the nation," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit explained after the attack. "The IDF views Hamas as solely responsible for what occurs in Gaza and maintaining the quiet in the Strip."
A number of competent and well-informed sources have reached the same conclusion, namely, that international sanctions have failed to halt Iran’s push for a nuclear weapon and advanced ballistic missiles and that the Islamic Republic is fast approaching a nuclear arms capability.
debkafile, which has raised this possibility for the past year or more that Iran is making huge strides towards a nuclear bomb capacity, reports is joined now by The Washington Post, the Institute for Science and International Security, Jafarzade Alireza of the Iranian opposition People's Mujahedeen, which has for seven years accurately traced Iran’s nuclear development, and unnamed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials.
Not a single expert in the field, whether American, international or Israeli, disagrees with the common finding that the sanctions imposed by the UN, Europe and the US, have not slowed down Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon. No covert agency, moreover, appears ready to state where this program stands today, how far Iran is from the capacity to build a nuclear device or whether it has in fact crossed that threshold.
Under the caption: If Iran makes a final nuclear push, can it be detected? The Washington Post of Sept. 10 quoted the latest IAEA report as showing that there has essentially been no change in Iran's steady accumulation of low-enriched uranium. Since last November, its stockpile has grown from 1,800 kilograms to 2,800 kilograms -- an increase of more than 50 percent. Tehran now has enough low-enriched uranium to produce two nuclear weapons with further enrichment. Already, it has enriched 22 kilograms to the level of 20 percent, which is considerably closer to the 60 percent threshold for weapon.
An analysis of the report by the Institute for Science and International Security concluded that Iran may be seeking "to increase its capability to divert nuclear material in secret and produce weapon-grade uranium in a plant unknown to the inspectors or Western intelligence agencies." If that is the case, economic sanctions are unlikely to prevent it.
The WP editorial appeared in the wake of an article by the nuclear expert David Kay captioned: The Bearer of Bad News on Iran. He says: “…the Obama administration needs to begin to seriously contemplate what it will do on the Day After. The Day After what? The Day After Iran announces it has deployed missiles capable of carrying “the world’s most destructive weapons.” The Day After Iran conducts a nuclear weapons test.
Then, Thursday, Sept. 9, Alireza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for the Iranian opposition People's Mujahedeen, claimed evidence that Tehran is building a uranium enrichment plant at Abyek 75 miles west of the capital. While a US official said it appears to have no nuclear role, Jafarzadeh told reporters "This is certainly part of their secret nuclear weapons program." He said the site is controlled, run and operated" by Iran's defense ministry, and that Iranian authorities have so far spent 100 million dollars on the site and completed about 85 percent of the construction
He said "people within the Iranian regime" provided details about the site, which he said was begun in 2005 and is now 85 percent complete.
debkafile's file’s sources find three reasons to have sparked this flurry of worrisome findings about Iran’s nuclear activities:
1. To prepare the public for another round, the fifth, of harsh sanctions which Tehran has already warned would be treated as justifying military retaliation in the Persian Gulf and Middle East. Tehran, aware of the unforgiving opinion building up in the West, made the gesture Friday, Sept. 10, of inviting reporters to witness the release of Sarah Shourd, one of the three American hikers seized last year in the Iraqi-Iranian border area and charged as spies. (The release was cancelled later that night due to “unresolved legal issues.”)
2. To prepare the climate in the US for a possible Iranian nuclear test within months. Administration officials wrongly estimate that it would still take Iran a year to produce a weapon, a view Israel subscribes to. They also assert that such an attempt would likely be detected by UN inspectors. However, in June, Iran barred access to two experienced inspectors, part of a systematic effort to blind the IAEA to its activities.
3. The Jewish New Year was deemed a good time for the bad news about Iran to emerge because its alarming content for Israel in particular would reach American Jews and Israel more slowly and with reduced impact. The Netanyahu government could then continue to keep the Israeli public deluded about the closeness of the Iranian nuclear threat for a while longer.
Jordan, Japan sign nuclear cooperation deal
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Atomic Energy Commission chief: Agreement sets stage for exploring, exploiting Jordan's uranium reserves; Japan to assist building of reactor.
AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan and Japan have signed a nuclear cooperation deal on Friday, potentially boosting the hand of a French-Japanese consortium bidding to build Jordan's first nuclear plant.
Atomic Energy Commission chief Khaled Toukan said the agreement sets the stage for exploring and exploiting Jordan's uranium reserves.
'Jordan seeks to be nuclear power'
About that Jordanian nuclear reactor...
‘Cairo, Amman worried about Iran nukes’
Toukan said Japan will also assist in the construction and operation of a local reactor and in studies on radioisotopes and radiation.
Jordan wants to build a nuclear plant by 2019 to meet its growing energy needs and reduce its energy bill, which consumes about 20 percent of its annual budget.
Amman has shortlisted a French-Japanese consortium, a Canadian and a Russian company to build the plant.
Jewish Towns Under PA Rule?
by Hillel Fendel
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been talking of “creative solutions” lately, and some reports say he means Palestinian Authority rule over Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.
Two days ago, addressing his Cabinet after returning from the first day of direct talks with PA leader Abu Mazen in Washington, Netanyahu said, “What's needed is creative and new thought to solve the complex problems." He said that in the past, “we have proved that we are ready to go far towards achieving peace, but this time, in order to succeed, we have to learn the lesson and to think in original terms.” He also said he is willing to work towards a “historic compromise,” while ensuring Israel’s security and other national interests.
Aaron Klein of World Net Daily reports that the specific “creative new plan” under consideration is that the Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria will remain in place – under a form of Palestinian Authority rule.
“Officials in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have confirmed the plan to this reporter,” Klein wrote, noting no names or level of authority. He added that PA sources said they held a meeting last week to discuss it.
Abbas Has Often Objected
The PA chairman himself, Mahmoud Abbas, has often stated that he objects to any Jews living in a PA state – and has even announced that he would not accept Jewish soldiers in a NATO force sent to protect a future Israeli-Arab peace.
"I'm willing to agree to a third party that would supervise the agreement, such as NATO forces,” Abbas was quoted as saying by the PA Wafa news agency, “but I would not agree to having Jews among the NATO forces, or that there will live among us even a single Israeli on Palestinian land.” His aide later said that Abbas retracted his opposition to Jewish soldiers in a NATO force.
What the Rabbis Say
Security questions aside, some rabbis living in Judea and Samaria have said in the past that residence in the Holy Land is an important Jewish value no matter who is sovereign. Others feel that the full import of settling the Land can only be attained in a Jewish state – especially if the opportunity to do so exists at the time.