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
Saddam, Al-Qaeda Did Collaborate, Documents Show - Eli Lake (New York Sun)
- March 23, 2006
Issue of the Week:
Hamas - One Month Later
Gaza Faces Bird Flu - Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)
U.S. and British Jericho Prison Monitors Feared Kidnapping - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
Top Syrian Officials Suspected in Hariri Murder Linked to Fraud - Benny Avni (New York Sun)
In Egyptian Movies, Americans Are the Heavies - Daniel Williams (Washington Post)
Four Injured by Gunfire at Palestinian Wedding (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
Politicized Islam Grows in Serbia's Sandzak (Jane's-UK)
Israel's Unemployment Rate Drops - Einav Ben-Yehuda (Ha'aretz)
There's Water Under the Judean Desert - But It's Hardly Being Used (Physorg.com)
Israeli Doctors to Assist Vietnam in Heart Surgery for Children (VNA-Vietnam)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Incoming Palestinian interior minister Saeed Seyam, chosen by Hamas to oversee three security services, said on Thursday he will not order the arrest of militants carrying out attacks against Israel. "The day will never come when any Palestinian would be arrested because of his political affiliation or because of resisting the occupation," Seyam said. (Reuters)
See also U.S. Delays Aid Decision Until After Hamas Sets Up Government - Adam Entous
The Bush administration is expected to wait until after a Hamas-led government is in place to make final decisions on the fate of U.S. aid programs, U.S. diplomats said on Thursday. A delay of several weeks could buy the administration time to try to iron out differences with its partners in the Quartet over how to sideline the Islamic militant group without collapsing the Palestinian economy. (Reuters/Washington Post)
Iran is publicly professing its support for Iraq's stalemated political process while its military and intelligence services back outlawed militias and insurgent groups, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Thursday. Iranian agents train and arm Shiite Muslim militias such as the Mahdi Army, linked to Iraq's powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and also work closely with Sunni Arab-led insurgent forces including Ansar al-Sunna, blamed for dozens of deadly attacks on Iraqi and American soldiers and Shiite civilians. (Washington Post )
See also below Weekend Features: Muqtada al-Sadr: Statesman by Decree (Newsday)
Acting on a tip from a detainee, American and British troops stormed a house in western Baghdad Thursday and rescued two Canadians and a Briton who had been held hostage for four months, who were discovered bound but unguarded. (New York Times)
The Bush administration moved Thursday to freeze the assets of several Lebanese media outlets, alleging that they helped raised money and recruits for Hizballah's terrorist network. The Treasury Department's action is against al-Manar, a satellite TV operator, al-Nour Radio, and their parent company, the Lebanese Media Group. "Any entity maintained by a terrorist group - whether masquerading as a charity, a business, or a media outlet - is as culpable as the terrorist group itself," said Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. Al-Manar also has provided support to other terrorist groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the department said. (AP/Washington Post)
Ernst Uhrlau, head of Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency, said on Thursday that the success of Germany and other countries in hunting down terrorists has done little to reduce the threat "Islamic terrorism" poses to Europe and Israel. "Europe is no longer just a recruitment and financing area but has become a target of Islamic terrorism," Uhrlau told a conference on Islamic extremism organized by the American Jewish Congress. "In the foreseeable future international terrorism will remain one of the most serious threats to our society. More than ever before Israel and Europe as a single risk area are caught in the crosshairs of international terrorism," he said. (Reuters)
A group of Americans is suing Iran, hoping to seize antiquities to satisfy a judgment against Tehran for sponsoring a deadly terrorist attack in Jerusalem. On Sept. 4, 1997, three suicide bombers attacked a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem, killing five people and injuring nearly 200 others. The militant Palestinian group Hamas claimed responsibility.
Eight Americans who were "severely and permanently injured" in the carnage filed two suits against Iran, widely believed to fund Hamas. In September 2003, ruling that Hamas "has a close relationship with Iran," and that the bombing "would not have occurred without Iranian sponsorship," U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ordered Iran to pay $423.5 million in damages. Realizing it would be impossible to collect from the Iranian government, attorney David J. Strachman set his sights on Iranian antiquities, arguing that museums illegally removed historical artifacts from sites in Iran during the 1930s, making them a legitimate form of compensation for his clients. (MSNBC)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz explained the situation at border crossings between Gaza and Israel in an interview: "After we opened Karni [on Monday] someone started running to attack it, and the IDF commander there immediately closed it down. So every day now we are reassessing the security situation there." "We decided to open the Kerem Shalom crossing and told the Palestinians, 'Whatever you want to send through Karni, send through Kerem Shalom.' But there are people there who have an interest in not opening Kerem Shalom, since they get a cut of whatever goes through Karni. This is part of the Palestinian corruption."
"The Hamas are terrorists. [Incoming Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail] Haniyeh was the bureau chief of [Sheikh Ahmed] Yassin and he has Jewish blood on his hands. Mahmoud Azhar [slated to be the PA foreign minister] is a terrorist in every way." (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket Thursday night that landed near Netiv Haasera in the Negev. (Jerusalem Post)
Earlier this week, unidentified gunmen opened fire at the car of Acting Kalkilya Mayor Hashem al-Masri outside his home. A few days earlier, Masri was beaten on the head with a club as he left a mosque. The attacks are believed to be part of a power struggle between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas leaders in the city warned Thursday of a conspiracy designed to oust them from the municipality, which they have been controlling for nearly eight months.
"Ever since we won the municipal election, we have been subjected to a campaign of intimidation and incitement by Fatah activists," one Hamas official said. These events are seen as an indication of what awaits Hamas after it forms the cabinet and takes control of the PA. Many are convinced that Fatah members would do their utmost to undermine Hamas' control. (Jerusalem Post)
Unidentified gunmen on Thursday went on a rampage inside the studios of the private Shepherds' TV in Bethlehem, destroying most of the equipment. "They threatened one of the workers who was sleeping inside the station with their rifles," said one of the employees. "Then they forced him to stand facing the wall as they started smashing cameras and other electronic equipment, including computers." The station was forced to suspend its broadcasts. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Live From the West Bank - Rebecca Sinderbrand
Welcome to the barely controlled chaos of Palestinian television. Almost anyone who wants to start a TV station can. At least 45 stations have sprouted up in the West Bank in the past 13 years, most run by local media mavens who sell ad time to local businesses. The content is a mixture of strident homegrown political commentary and lowbrow pan-Arab entertainment. About one-third of what's aired is produced locally. (Wired)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
In Anaheim, Calif., last week, a banquet to raise money for former Florida professor Sami al-Arian - who was indicted in 2003 for raising money for the Islamic Jihad terror group - drew top officials from a host of "mainstream" Muslim-American civic groups: the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the American Muslim Taskforce, and the American Muslim Alliance.
Across America, terrorist sympathizers operate perfectly legal schools, mosques, and community centers, often with funding from Saudi sources. At the very least, these centers often win "hearts and minds" for the enemy - stoking the notion that America oppresses Muslims; that their brand of Islam must, and will, ultimately prevail; and that terrorists' grievances are legitimate and that their means are defensible. (New York Post)
What's the point of the U.S. propping up the government of Afghanistan if it's not even going to pretend to respect basic human rights? President Bush himself said it was "deeply troubling" that an Afghan man is facing the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity. In fact, the case is more than deeply troubling; it's barbaric. This is a country that was liberated from the Taliban by American troops and whose tenuous peace is enforced by those troops. If Afghanistan wants to return to the Taliban days, it can do so without the help of the U.S. (New York Times)
See also Abdul Rahman and the Future of Shari'a - Jay Bryant
Oddly enough, the Rahman case represents progress. It has caused an uproar in the West. It has focused attention on the problem with the radical Islamic law code, shari'a. It makes it more difficult for the moderate Muslims to do nothing about the problem. (RealClearPolitics)
Akbar Ganji, who on Friday was released from Tehran's Evin prison after serving a six-year sentence, first incurred the Iranian regime's wrath when, as a journalist in the late 1990s, he implicated former president Rafsanjani in the killing of dozens of opposition figures. From prison, which Ganji mainly spent in solitary confinement, he also wrote his "Republican Manifesto" calling for an end to clerical rule. That manifesto has become a bible of sorts to Iranian opposition groups, especially the politically potent student movement.
Last year, Ganji went on a three-month hunger strike, which nearly killed him but also brought international attention to his plight. In the end, the authorities were forced to keep him alive - an implicit admission that the conscience and will of a single man could compel the regime's surrender. "My views have not changed at all," a rail-thin but still defiant Ganji said upon his release. "Today, I'm more determined to say what I said six years ago." Iranians will be listening. So should we. (Wall Street Journal, 24Mar06)
While Palestinian civilians have been hurt by the actions of Israel's armed forces, they are never the purposeful target of such action. By contrast, Israeli civilians are almost invariably the intended victims of Palestinian violence.
Against all odds, Israelis succeeded in establishing a state despite ferocious Arab and Palestinian opposition. On the other hand, the Palestinians have failed to establish a state despite manifest Israeli acquiescence (and at times even active endorsement) and massive international support. Israelis have built an advanced industrialized country, with the world's highest per-capita rate of scientific publications and patents filed. The county is a world leader in agriculture, hi-tech, and medicine. By contrast, despite being the world's highest per capita recipients of international aid, the Palestinians have excelled at producing crazed martyrs, corruption, and...well, little else. (Ynet News)
The Islamic fundamentalists view Christianity as too secularist and weak to be counted as a religious power. It is Western democracy they consider as a threat to the Islamic fundamentalist culture. Many Europeans do not realize that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is part of this larger battle. A democracy located in the Arab world is a thorn in its side. Radicals are like wolves. The first prey that stills the initial hunger does not satiate them; on the contrary, it makes them more hungry.
Dr. Gerster, the representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Israel from 1997 to 2005, was president of the German-Israeli parliamentarian group in the Bundestag and has been working for improved Israeli-German relations for forty years. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The Palestinian film, "Paradise Now," which describes in an understanding way the lives of two Palestinian terrorists, won a string of important awards from major film festivals, culminating in this month's Oscar nomination as best foreign film. How is it possible that such a film is acclaimed by many people of culture and art, after all the tragic events caused by brutal terror? Why the double standard for terrorism? The main reason is that suicide terrorists (we should call them "genocide terrorists") are, when active in Israel, regarded by many not as murderers but as freedom fighters whose motives should be understood.
There is one word that is the basis for the acceptance of Palestinian terrorists: "occupation." All land that was not part of Israel until 1967 is termed "occupied territory." By that definition, it is stolen land, and all means seem to be justified to force Israel to return the theft. The use of the term "occupied territories" is dangerous, irresponsible, and fully unjustified. Israel didn't take any land from a sovereign state. The "occupied territories" were in 1967 illegally in the hands of Jordan and Egypt. The areas captured in 1967 were promised for Jewish settlements by the League of Nations in 1922, and all the resolutions of this international body were transferred to the United Nations.
If Israel's demand for security lacks a basis of law, justice and morals, if we don't stress our rights in the Land of Israel, if we basically justify the Arab position that large parts of Israel belong only to them and are forcefully stolen, we cannot wonder when we see so many young students on American university campuses accepting the Palestinian propaganda against Israel. The writer is the Academy-Award-winning producer of numerous films, including "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" and "One Day in September." (Jewish Journal of Los Angeles)
As he walked into one of Shia Islam's holiest shrines, the cleric was greeted by hundreds of believers waving his picture and pumping their fists in the air, chanting, "With our blood, with our souls, we will sacrifice for you, Muqtada." Such a reception is typical for Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, where he commands a wide following. But this was Damascus, Syria, a secular dictatorship where visiting religious leaders usually do not rate a hero's welcome. "I pray that all Muslims will unite against Western injustice and tyranny," al-Sadr told the crowd during his Feb. 10 visit.
Once a renegade Shia cleric with a ragtag militia fighting U.S. forces, al-Sadr has transformed himself into a statesman. He controls a key bloc in the new Iraqi parliament, and he's become a kingmaker in the selection of the next Iraqi prime minister. For the U.S., al-Sadr may pose a greater threat as a politician than he did as a militia leader. "The Syrian regime is trying to form a united front with Iran and Islamist groups in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine," said Marwan Kabalan, a political science professor at Damascus University. "Al-Sadr is a major part of that effort." (Newsday)
The Harvard/Chicago Paper on the Israel Lobby
The Basis of the U.S.-Israel Alliance: An Israeli Response to the Mearsheimer-Walt Assault - Dore Gold (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The Graves of Academe - Melanie Phillips (melaniephillips.com)
Stephen Walt's War with Israel - Richard Baehr and Ed Lasky (American Thinker)
Dershowitz: "Study Is Ignorant Propaganda" - Nathan Guttman
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