Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference: click here
Israel to Support Qatar's Bid for UN Security Council Seat - Uriel Heilman (Jerusalem Post)
Egypt: Tomorrow's Houdini - Arnaud de Borchgrave (Washington Times)
Hamas "Wonder Boy" Wows Gaza Worshipers - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Ra'anana Mayor Zeev Bielski to Head Jewish Agency - Dina Kraft (JTA)
Spielberg Internet Archive Now Has Over 300 Films (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Syria is the main conduit for foreign militants fighting for al-Qaeda-ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, a senior U.S. administration official said on Wednesday. "We're concerned that Zarqawi is supported by a foreign fighter network that gets foreign fighters largely through Syria," the official said. "There are locations in Syria where foreign fighters and money and logistics come together and then transit to Iraq, and those foreign fighters and money come from elsewhere in the Muslim world." Syria has taken "some cosmetic steps," but "not nearly what they ought to be doing," the official said.
"They are a major disruptive force, they are disruptive in Iraq, they are disruptive of the efforts between Palestinians and Israelis to come up with a Middle East peace," he said. "Syria in some sense has been a source of instability in the region," the official said. (Reuters)
See also U.S. Army Says al-Qaeda Behind Rise in Iraq Car Bombs - Ian Simpson
An upsurge in car bomb attacks in Iraq was ordered by al-Qaeda's leader in the country, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, at a meeting of insurgents in Syria, a senior U.S. military official said on Wednesday. (Reuters)
With months to go before the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza begins, what to do with the buildings that might be left behind is a hot topic among Palestinians and Israelis alike. Many Palestinians say Israel should destroy them on the way out. "What's best for us is that they (Israel) destroy the settlements and take the rubble with them," said Tawfiq Abu Khosa, the Palestinian Interior Ministry's Gaza spokesman. Destroying the homes also will ensure that senior PA officials don't confiscate the property for themselves, said local resident Fouad Mahmoud Nonaideq. (Knight Ridder)
Suddenly, there are Americans, Europeans, Japanese, and other tourists aplenty in Israel. The number of tourists entering the country in the first three months of 2005 was up 25% from the same period last year. The Israeli government is forecasting that 1.8 million will visit this year. Tour operators have started offering Israel as a destination again, and cruise ships are calling at the ports of Haifa, Ashdod, and Eilat, bringing thousands of extra visitors. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Hamas launched 26 mortars and a number of anti-tank rockets at settlements and army outposts in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, wounding one Israeli. Prime Minister Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz said Wednesday that Israel will resume offensive operations in Gaza if the PA does not move immediately to halt the Hamas mortar fire. Israel will apparently postpone further goodwill gestures because of Wednesday's escalation.
During the mortar fire on Wednesday, the IDF spotted a Hamas cell launching mortars near Khan Yunis. The IDF asked the PA to halt the shooting, and a patrol of PA police showed up, firing in the air. Israel Radio reported that Hamas men opened fire and wounded three PA police officers attempting to stop them from launching mortars. After the mortar fire continued, an IDF aircraft struck the mortar launcher with a missile. (Ha'aretz)
See also Palestinian Militants Fire 36 Mortars into Israel, Settlements
The Israeli military Thursday said Palestinian militants had fired at least three dozen mortars from Gaza into Israel or Israeli settlements over the previous 24 hours. (CNN)
The flare-up in Gaza showed how fragile the Israel-PA-Hamas triangle can be. Israel says the shooting was sparked by Hamas anger over a PA court decision to order a revote in parts of Rafah after last month's local elections. The shooting, say defense officials, may have been at Israel but it was meant to embarrass Mahmoud Abbas. More important, perhaps, was the image shown throughout the Arab world of Palestinian troops running for their lives away from a mob throwing rocks at them while Hamas men shoot at them. (Ha'aretz)
On Wednesday night a Hamas terrorist approached the Israeli-Egyptian border with the intention of laying and detonating an explosive device against IDF forces. According to Palestinian officials, the terrorist was apparently killed as a result of a malfunction in the explosive device he was carrying. (Israel Defense Forces)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
17 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in riots by Muslims since Newsweek published its since retracted story about an American interrogator flushing a Koran down the toilet at Guantanamo Bay. The gorilla in the living room that no one wants to notice regarding this story is that flushing a Koran down the toilet should not be grounds to commit murder. No one says anything whatsoever about a culture that condones - celebrates - wanton murder of innocent people, mayhem, and destruction in response to the alleged and unproven destruction of a book.
To kill people thousands of miles away who had nothing to do with the act, and to fulminate with threats and murder against the entire Western world, all because of this alleged act, is not just disproportionate. It is not just excessive. It is mad. And every decent person in the world ought to have the courage to stand up and say that it is mad. The writer is director of Jihad Watch. (FrontPageMagazine.com)
There are increasing signs of shifts in German attitudes toward rewriting its past. Franz Muentefering, chairman of the German Socialist party, compared certain foreign investors to damaging insects. The weekly Stern listed seven "locust firms"; several were recognizably Jewish by their names. The program of the German Open tennis championships for women in 2005 included an article about the organizers, LTTC Rot Weiss, which explained that the club had blossomed when it had expelled its Jewish members in 1936 and included a photo of Nazi leader Hermann Goering during a visit to the club.
Polls indicate that the majority of Germans consider Israel's attitude toward the Palestinians as similar to that of the Nazis toward the Jews. A profound process is underway involving anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Israelism. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Consequences of Democratization in the Palestinian Authority - Anat Kurz (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
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