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
Hizballah Lobbies London - Vikram Dodd (Guardian-UK)
PA: Israel Sells Us "Carcinogenic" Juice - Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
See also Poison: The Use of Blood Libel in the War Against Israel - Raphael Israeli (JCPA)
Martyrdom of Palestinian in Iraq (Palestinian Information Center-UK)
New Hot Water Geyser at Israeli Drilling Site
- Tzafrir Rinat (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Saudi Arabia is defying the U.S. and the EU by resisting UN efforts to verify that it has no nuclear assets worth inspecting, according to a confidential EU document. While the Saudi government insists it has no interest in having nuclear arms, in the past two decades it has been linked to prewar Iraq's nuclear program and to the Pakistani nuclear black marketeer A.Q. Khan. It also has expressed interest in Pakistani missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and Saudi officials reportedly discussed pursuing the nuclear option as a deterrent in the volatile Middle East. (AP/Washington Post)
Egypt is leading behind-the-scenes efforts to curb further ballotbox successes by the militant Palestinian group Hamas in planned parliamentary elections in Gaza and the West Bank. The "Stop Hamas" campaign is part of a strategy to secure a large-scale international aid and reconstruction effort and a victory for Fatah and other "moderate" Palestinian factions in polls tentatively rescheduled for next January. A senior Arab official claimed Cairo had pressured Abbas to postpone the elections because of concerns that Hamas would win "a clear majority." He said Egypt was calculating that the return of Gaza would give a big boost to Abbas.
The Egyptian strategy calls for an immediate injection of financial assistance for Gaza. Between $500m and $800m in funds for the PA has already been allocated by Saudi Arabia and other regional states, official sources said. Hamas would be offered post-election carrots in the form of up to four ministerial posts and the opportunity to retain its weapons, possibly as part of the PA's reformed security forces, the senior Arab official predicted.
"Hamas must be included," the Egyptian prime minister, Ahmed Nazif, said this week. "We should not leave people out. If we do, they will be the problem of the future." But Cairo is also keen to prevent Hamas's electoral successes being emulated by its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt. (Guardian-UK)
Israeli security experts have been traveling across the U.S. to share counterterrorism tactics with American law enforcement officials. In addition, since the 9-11 terrorist attacks, agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with police officials, sheriffs, and bomb technicians, have been traveling to Israel for weeklong lessons on terrorism. Classes include the history of Islamic fundamentalism and how to spot a suicide bomber. Seminars teach the Americans how to gather deeper intelligence, interrupt bomb supply lines, and discover where terrorists might hide explosives.
"Israel is the Harvard of anti-terrorism," said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer. After returning from Israel, Gainer retrained his officers to shoot a potential suicide bomber in the head rather than aim for the chest, as they were originally taught, because shooting the chest could detonate a suicide vest. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
New IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz said Tuesday that evacuation of the Gaza Strip would only take place after the IDF had secured the volatile areas to make sure Palestinians could not attack settlers and soldiers. "There won't be any disengagement under fire and this means that if there will be fire we will have to halt [withdrawal], deal with it, and only when the fire is put out will we complete the evacuation," Halutz said. (Jerusalem Post)
"We're not going into a war and we're not going for a military victory, but rather, to execute a national mission that doesn't include the use of force," he said. "The overwhelming majority of residents in Gush Katif and the northern West Bank do their military reserve duty, have their children in the army. They're part of us, and they'll continue to be part of us following the disengagement." (Ynet News)
Palestinians fired a mortar shell towards a workers' crossing near the Gaza Strip settlement of Neve Dekalim on Wednesday. (Jerusalem Post)
Two mortars fell on Gush Katif settlements Tuesday; one mortar landed in the yard of a house. Four mortars landed on Gush Katif on Monday. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinian gunmen fired at an Israeli vehicle near the settlement of Ganim in northern Samaria Sunday evening. No one was wounded in the shooting attack, but the car sustained damage, Israel Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
A few months ago the Bush administration had reason to hope that a spring of freedom might be beginning in the Middle East. Yet the promising announcement by Egypt's Hosni Mubarak of multi-candidate presidential elections has begun to look like a sham. Palestinians have followed up a successful election in January by postponing legislative elections scheduled for July that were to have included the Islamic opposition for the first time.
In Lebanon, Syrian meddling continues. At least 35 seats in the 128-member parliament will end up in the hands of an alliance including the militant Islamic movement Hizballah, which refuses to disarm its militia and serves as a paid military proxy for Iran and Syria. Lebanese politicians must find the will to persuade Hizballah to disarm and become an ordinary political party. A Security Council resolution mandating Hizballah's disarmament provides leverage. That disarmament, like Syrian withdrawal, would serve U.S. strategic aims. (Washington Post)
Viewed through an Israeli prism, the U.S. still has a lot to learn about the uses and consequences of coercive force, of torture lite, in interrogations. Israeli security specialists are amazed by the multiplicity of commands engaged in the American interrogation scramble, by the short tours of duty and high turnover of interrogators, by the reliance on interpreters and outsourcing to contractors and foreign governments.
Nasim Za'atari scouted out potential targets for Hamas, then helped suicide bombers with their disguises and guided them to targets within Israel. Za'atari had already had a hand in two bus bombings - one of them killed 23 Israelis on Aug. 19, 2003 - when he was detained and interrogated the following month. Before his capture, he'd also agreed to guide three bombers from Hebron to new targets in Jerusalem. Soon after his interrogation, Israeli security forces targeted the Hamas recruiter who had prepared the candidates for suicide bombing and seized the bomb belts they would have worn. It was reasonable to imagine that a dozen or maybe several dozen lives were saved. (New York Times Magazine)
When the "Voice of Arabs" radio told us triumphantly in the 1960s that Nasser's Egypt had the strongest army in the region and could throw Israel into the sea, we believed. Then came the disaster of June 5, 1967, when Israel destroyed not only the "mighty" Egyptian Army but also the Jordanian and Syrian. Egyptian radio went on with the lies for days, and claimed that American and British aircraft had joined the Israelis. Many of us knew better afterward. Still, too many continued to believe, even today.
The Arab media kept telling us that all our troubles are due to Zionist conspiracies. Sacrifices had to be made. Freedom, democracy, economic prosperity, good education, and all kinds of luxuries had to wait. The new generation wants to live like their peers in other parts of the world. Satellite TV, the Internet, and other modern communication tools gave them an open, unfiltered window. The people's knowledge of the truth will grow larger, their patience will get thinner, and the inevitable big bang will happen - soon enough. The writer is managing editor of Al Madina newspaper in Jiddah and a childhood friend of Osama bin Laden. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
The Gathering Storm - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)
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Daily Alert of Tuesday, June 14, was prepared in Israel on Isru Chag.