Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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German Insight on Iran's Ongoing Support for Terrorism - Dan Darling (Weekly Standard)
Iran's Effort to Conquer Space - Yiftah S. Shapir (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
Saudi Teacher to be Lashed for Praising Jews (Reuters)
Bali Bomber Blows Himself Up in Ambush - Daniel McGrory (Times-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
An international conference in Bahrain intended to advance democracy in the Middle East ended Saturday without a formal declaration, eliciting expressions of disappointment from U.S. officials, who considered the conference a key part of President Bush's regional democracy initiative. In a surprise move, Egypt derailed the Forum for the Future by demanding that Arab governments be given significant control over which pro-democracy groups would receive aid from a new fund. The U.S. delegation expressed disappointment with Egypt, which receives roughly $2 billion in U.S. military and economic assistance annually. "Obviously, we're not pleased," said a senior State Department official. (Washington Post)
Carrying complete official and political blessings, a 174-member Pakistani delegation led by Maulana Ajmal Qadri reached Tel Aviv on Saturday. The delegation is believed to be comprised of religious scholars, businessmen and some officials. Qadri, chief of a Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam faction, said early this month that unofficial trade between Pakistan and Israel via Jordan stands at $1 billion a year and Islamabad should officially allow trade with the Jewish state. Qadri told reporters that he had paid several visits to Israel via Jordan over the last 15 years in his capacity as vice president of a London-based Arab NGO.
We should not abandon our link with Baitul Maqdas (Jerusalem) and we should visit Israel to see it, he said. Pakistan has begun trade and opened bus links with India and a similar arrangement could be made with Israel. (Pakistan Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israeli and Palestinian officials have clinched a long-awaited deal on the manning of the Gaza-Egypt border crossing, Secretary of State Rice said Tuesday in Jerusalem. Rice had postponed her departure from the region Monday in order to finalize the details. Under the deal, the border would tentatively open November 25, and construction of a Gaza seaport would begin. Palestinians would be able to travel between the West Bank and Gaza in bus convoys through Israel.
At the Rafah crossing there will be a communications center with videos filming people crossing the Egypt-Gaza border. The videos will be monitored by Israeli officials, and European observers will have the final decision in the event of a dispute over passage for persons Israel deems suspicious and the PA believes should be allowed to cross. (Ha'aretz)
See also IDF Intelligence Warns of Security Threats at Gaza-Egypt Border - Hanan Greenberg
As an agreement on opening up the Gaza-Egypt border crossing seems imminent, a senior IDF Intelligence officer says that there are warnings and threats to Israel's security from the current arrangement. "With all due respect to the Egyptians and the Palestinians, we can only trust ourselves. Even if there are some Europeans monitoring the place - he won't jump on a terrorist the minute he crosses and arrest him there. He won't even know who the terrorist is," he said.
"Now the Rafah Crossing is turning into a dangerous point....The problem exists on both sides, both from the possibility of traffic of terrorists who left Gaza with an intention to enter Judea or Samaria, or Israel, to carry out attacks, and there are also suspicions that there will be infiltration attempts from Egypt into the Strip," the officer said. "A large quantity of arms is being piled up in Sinai in El-Arish. There are whole stockpiles there that are waiting to be smuggled into Gaza. Unfortunately, the Egyptians are not in control there," he said. (Ynet News)
Prime Minister Sharon met Monday with U.S Secretary of State Rice in Jerusalem. Sharon emphasized that Hamas's participation in the [Palestinian] elections would be a serious mistake because the participation of an armed terrorist organization would only weaken Abu Mazen: "Hamas's participation could lead to the end of the Roadmap, if there is a situation in which an armed terrorist organization is a political partner in the Palestinian administration....We will not help those who murder Jews even if they participate in the elections. Nowhere in the world would they be allowed to participate in elections. Even according to the Oslo accords, they were not allowed to participate in elections." Only if Hamas disarms and annuls its covenant, which calls for the destruction of Israel, would Israel accept Hamas's participation in them.
Rice said she believes that after the PA elections, it will be easier to compel Hamas to disarm because the pressure will come from the entire international community. She said she respects the Israeli position and added that if Abbas does not disarm Hamas, he would lose both American and international support. Rice said the U.S. would never hold contacts with Hamas or Islamic Jihad even if they are in the administration, adding that the U.S. would never countenance a situation in which terrorist organizations that remain armed take part in the Palestinian administration. (Prime Minister's Office)
Palestinian terrorists fired a Kassam rocket Monday at the southern Israeli community of Nativ Ha'asara, which damaged some of the community's greenhouses. (Ynet News)
See also Two Palestinian Rockets Hit Sderot Area
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired two Kassam rockets near the southern Israeli city of Sderot Monday. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Bashar Assad and his family mafia murdered Lebanon's prime minister. Then, forced to withdraw Syrian troops, they began a bombing campaign to destabilize a country that voted for freedom. The Assad regime harbors die-hards from Saddam's murder machine and vigorously supports the Sunni-Arab insurgency in western Iraq. Assad & Co. turn a blind eye to the use of Syrian territory to launch international Islamist terrorists into Iraq. Syria's Baathist thugs continue to support terrorists who attack Israeli civilians and who are determined to prevent the rise of a rule-of-law state among Palestinians.
The collapse of the Assad regime would destabilize the Middle East? Exactly which stability are we talking about? We shouldn't fear the end of Assad's regime. It's pure good news. (New York Post)
Last week, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing, titled "Saudi Arabia: Friend or Foe in the War on Terror?" in order to air expert comment on the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2005. The hearing examined a Freedom House report titled "Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade American Mosques," issued last January. Daniel Glaser, Treasury deputy assistant secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, allowed that the Saudis had shut down terror-financing charities inside their territory but let these operations continue their work abroad.
At the most fundamental level, the Saudi response to terrorism remains weak. A five-part study of the emergence of terrorism and extremism in the kingdom, published in October in the daily Al-Riyad and released by the U.S. government's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, is notable for its curiously opaque language. Islamist extremism is described as a "dubious ideology" of a "misguided faction," not as murderous terrorism. The study argues that this problem "can only be remedied by discussion and advice." (Weekly Standard)
Iran's New Revolutionary Guards Regime:
Anti-Americanism, Oil, and Rising International Tension - Mordechai Abir
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