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
UN Wants Israeli Peacekeepers - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
China Warns of Islamist Extremist Attacks on Tourists (Reuters/Washington Post)
EU to Help Palestinian Police - Joshua Brilliant (UPI)
Russian Envoy Studies Israeli Security Methods (AP/Moscow Times)
325 Cyclists From Nine Nations in $2 Million Israeli Charity Bike Ride (PRWeb)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran Tuesday rejected a call by European ministers for it to heed a resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) calling for a renewed freeze on all activities related to uranium enrichment. (AFP/Yahoo)
A senior U.S. Treasury official on Tuesday told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Bush administration had doubts over Saudi Arabia's claims to have closed a government account that funded militant Palestinian groups, and was concerned about the overseas activities of Saudi charities and non-governmental organizations with close ties to the royal family.
Daniel Glaser, deputy assistant secretary in the Treasury's office for dealing with terrorist financing, said the U.S. remained "deeply concerned" whether a Saudi ban on funding charities overseas had been implemented with respect to "so-called international NGOs." He named three big organizations with close ties to members of the royal family - the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, and the Muslim World League. "Saudi Arabia will have to move beyond reacting to information provided by the U.S. and to lead the effort to identify and take action against sources of terrorist financing," said Glaser. (Financial Times-UK)
See also Saudi Envoy Rejects U.S. Criticism on Terror - Sue Pleming (Reuters/Washington Post)
Secretary of State Rice named eight countries Tuesday as the world's worst violators of religious liberty, including Saudi Arabia and Iran. The State Department's seventh annual report on religious freedom listed the same countries that it did last year as the most egregious violators, or "countries of particular concern." (Washington Post)
The process of electing 444 members of the Egyptian Parliament begins Wednesday with voting in part of the country. The campaign season has demonstrated that for now the status quo prevails: the National Democratic Party of President Hosni Mubarak remains in control, opposition political parties are weak, and the most powerful opposition organization in the country remains the Muslim Brotherhood, which has taken a more public role than in the past to promote its candidates running as independents. (New York Times)
See also Elections in Egypt - The Muslim Brotherhood's Turn - Zvi Bar'el
The Muslim Brotherhood decided to field a list of some 150 parliamentary candidates. If at least half of its candidates win seats, it would make the Muslim Brotherhood the largest opposition bloc in parliament. Some democracy advocates in Egypt are not opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood reaping an achievement in the first stage of the elections, because they see the crux of their battle as chipping away at the ruling party's power and shattering its governing monopoly. (Ha'aretz)
See also Egypt Releases 154 Islamic Militants
Egyptian authorities released from prison four leaders and 150 members of Al-Gama'a al-Islamiya, an Islamist group that carried out an armed revolt against the government in the 1980s and 1990s in an attempt to establish a strict Islamic state but has since renounced violence, security officials said on Tuesday. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that terror operatives have managed to smuggle ten shoulder-launched missiles into the Gaza Strip over the past two years. He also said terror elements pose threats to civilian air traffic primarily outside of Israel.
Halutz said Israel will continue with its targeted interceptions of Palestinian militants, and that the policy has proven itself to be extremely effective in curbing terror activity. The targeted strikes will focus on Islamic Jihad members, he said. (Ha'aretz)
In 2005, there were 37 targeted interceptions, said Halutz. On Tuesday, 45 threats of terrorist attacks were recorded by the security establishment. "One should not be deceived by the so-called calm. Underneath, the ground is boiling," a security official said.
In the Gaza Strip, a bomb was detonated near soldiers patrolling the north Gaza security fence, the third incident since the IDF pulled out of Gaza in September. (Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Sharon visited "Sharon's Observation Point" in the tidy settlement of Beit Arieh on Tuesday. His visit was the culmination of a number of meetings between Sharon and community leaders concerned that Sharon intends to cede to the Palestinians all Jewish communities east of the security barrier. Sharon vowed that Beit Arieh and its neighbor Ofarim "would always be part of Israel."
Beit Arieh, a community of 900 families, has a little garden at the spot where Sharon lugged countless congressmen and senators to show them what he called the unimpeachable, strategic significance of this spot. It boasts an unparalleled view of Israel's densely populated heartland. It is on the flight path for flights heading toward Ben-Gurion Airport from the east and sits on one of Israel's largest aquifers. (Jerusalem Post)
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom Wednesday dismissed as a "tactic" remarks by Hamas chief Mahmoud Zahar, who hinted at openness to future negotiations with Israel. Zahar said Wednesday that he does not rule out the possibility of negotiations with Israel should it serve Palestinian interests. Shalom said Zahar's remarks represented no substantive change in the positions or aims of Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction and had carried out large numbers of terror bombings and ambushes against Israelis. Asked if Israel still believed that Hamas should be disqualified from taking part in PA elections, Shalom said, "Hamas has disqualified itself. You have only to open the first page of the Hamas Charter, and see that Hamas rules out the existence of the State of Israel and calls for its destruction."
Amos Gilad, Defense Ministry policy chief for diplomatic negotiations, said, "There is no concession here, there is no basis for recognizing Israel as a country with the right to exist. The ideology has not changed....Their strategic goals have not changed. The only thing that has changed at the moment is that they want to go to elections." (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The rioting by Muslim youth that began October 27 in France to calls of "Allahu Akbar" may be a turning point in European history. What started on the outskirts of Paris spread to 300 French cities and towns, as well as to Belgium and Germany. As in other European countries (notably Denmark and Spain), a bundle of issues, all touching on the Muslim presence, has now moved to the top of the policy agenda in France, where it likely will remain for decades.
Mainstream media deny that it has to do with Islam and ignore the permeating Islamist ideology, with its vicious anti-French attitudes and its raw ambition to dominate the country and replace its civilization with Islam's. (New York Sun)
See also Iran Takes France to Task over Treatment of Muslims
State-run Iranian dailies on Tuesday accused the French government of oppressing its people, as Paris and other cities went through another night of fiery protests. The semi-official daily Jomhouri Islami said the French government had given the orders for the French army to "suppress" protestors. On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi blamed the French police for "resorting to violence." "The French police and government must treat the minorities in that country, including the Muslims, in a proper manner," Asefi told a press conference in Tehran. "We hope the French government would respect the rights of the people there and pay attention to their demands in a peaceful way, so that we would not continue to witness the violation of citizens' rights in that country." (Iran Focus)
See also When Suburbs Burn - Bernard-Henri Levy
This is not war. Contrary to what those individuals in France who have an intellectual investment in the discourse of war would like to persuade us (roughly: the far right, the far left, the Islamic fundamentalists), this is not, thank heaven, a matter of an Intifada wearing French colors. (Wall Street Journal, 9Nov05)
Iran's Perilously Honest Man - Amir Taheri (New York Post)
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