Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Israelis Warned to Avoid Sinai - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
Jordan Sentences Five for Trying to Attack Israel (Los Angeles Times)
Tanzim Fugitive Planned to Attack Jerusalem Cafe - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
Iran Recruits "Human Shields" for Nuclear Reactor (Reuters-Sydney Morning Herald)
Hindu Alarm Over Surge in Muslim Population- Justin Huggler (Independent-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The commander of the guerrillas who seized a school in southern Russia last week shot one of his own men for balking at taking children hostage and later blew up two women in his band with the flip of an electronic control, Russian chief prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov said Wednesday, offering the government's first detailed account of the hostage crisis. He confirmed that the attackers were aided by a local police officer. The bomb that blew up inside the school and triggered the deadly climax of the siege went off by accident when the hostage-takers were rearranging the explosives, he said.
Col. Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, the Russian armed forces chief of staff, asserted, "We will take steps to eliminate terrorist bases in any region of the world." (Washington Post)
A powerful bomb exploded near the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on Thursday, killing seven people and wounding nearly 100. No one inside the heavily fortified embassy was seriously hurt. (AP/New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Palestinians fired seven Kassam rockets at Israel Wednesday while IDF forces moved into the northern Gaza Strip to prevent the rocket fire. Two rockets landing in Sderot and five in the fields of three western Negev kibbutzim. Palestinians also fired three mortar shells at the Gush Katif settlement bloc in Gaza. One hit a house in Neveh Dekalim.
In the West Bank, a booby-trapped car exploded near an army jeep in Baka al-Sharkiya. The car contained about 100 kilograms of explosives plus two canisters of gas, but the bomb went off after the jeep had passed, causing no casualties. (Ha'aretz)
One Fatah-Tanzim fugitive was killed and two others were wounded by Israeli security forces in Jericho Wednesday, acting on information that terrorists were planning to launch attacks in Israel. Security officials said that in recent months Jericho has turned into a safe haven for Palestinian fugitives, some of whom were arrested in the past by the PA and released shortly afterwards. One of the fugitives wounded was Jaber A-Aida from Ramallah, a member of the PA preventive security forces and a member of the Islamic Jihad. (Jerusalem Post)
The U.S. District Court in Washington Tuesday dismissed lawsuits filed by two American-Israeli couples which had argued that the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv should designate Israel as the country of birth on their children's passports in accordance with U.S. law. Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that the federal court did not have jurisdiction over the case since it involved a political matter and was the purview of the executive branch. The place of birth of children born in Jerusalem to American citizens is currently registered as "Jerusalem," with no country designated.
Section 214 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2003, "United States Policy with Respect to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel," states that a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem can choose to have Israel listed in his passport as his country of birth. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
For a long, long time to come, 144 million Russians will never forget or forgive. Several billion folks around the world won't either. Once again, a bunch of crazy fanatics led by Wahhabi, regressive Islamic thinking have succeeded in tainting the majority of Muslims who are reasonable, decent human beings. Where is the voice of Amr Moussa, the articulate secretary-general of the Arab League? Why can he ferociously attack Israel when it kills Palestinians but remain mute when people claiming to be Muslims commit genocide in Russia?
The Russians were allies of the Arabs. Not now. To get the Russians back, the least that can be done is for somnolent Arab rulers, particularly those of Saudi Arabia and Qatar - whose Wahhabi religious leaders are responsible for indoctrinating many of these criminals in Chechnya - to stop fanatical sheiks from spreading the message that what happened in Russia was a jihad, a holy war. (USA Today)
The reality is that there is little chance for an Israeli diplomat, or any diplomat, to carry on a significant dialogue with foreign elements without seemingly committing a crime. The Israeli diplomat who refers only to published information and public-relations releases in his conversations with foreign elements will very quickly lose his value as a contact. Diplomatic contact means an exchange of assessments and data. At the same time, there are accepted rules; you don't hand over classified documents, and you don't use a recording device. The Franklin affair is showing itself to be the product of interference by an enthusiastic FBI investigator who was unaware of the rules of diplomatic dialogue. The writer served as legal counsel and diplomatic counsel at the Israel Embassy in Washington. (Ha'aretz)
Syria's support of terrorism against Israel is just part of the problem. Along with its ally, Iran, Damascus has played an integral role in supporting the terrorist insurgency in Iraq, and it has provided safe haven for Abu Musab Zarqawi. In Assad's hands, Syria's stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and its ballistic-missile capability already force any potential foe to think twice about retaliating for any act of state-sponsored terror. And this Syrian deterrent capability could be growing. Unless Assad is credibly made to fear that he could meet the same fate as Saddam Hussein, Damascus' conduct won't change at all. (Washington Times)
Last week, 100 of the best contemporary minds in the Arab world, members of the Project for Democracy Studies in Arab Countries, met at Oxford University to lament the state of the region's political leadership - united by the devastating reality that not a single one is able to return to work in his or her native country. Together they represent the lost resources of an Arab world that is fast becoming isolated by illiteracy, ignorance, and repression.
As one participant noted, "Nowhere in the Arab world would such a gathering be possible." While most Arab commentators delight in blaming the rest of the world for every misfortune, real or imagined, the Oxford delegates believe that it is only Arabs themselves who can create the institutions in their societies that can lead them to a better future. The writer is a research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London. (International Herald Tribune)
A State's Viability Depends on the Quality of Governance, Not Terrain
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