Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

Wednesday,
August 30, 2006
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In-Depth Issues:

Harris Poll: 75% in U.S. See Israel as Ally or Friend (Wall Street Journal)
    A new Harris Poll, conducted Aug. 8-17, found that 75% of U.S. adults identify Israel as either a close ally or "a friend."
    By comparison, 76% view Iran as an enemy.
    See also U.S. Voters Feel Better About Israel (Quinnipiac University)
    Americans' view of Israel has become even more positive since the recent war with Hizballah, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released Monday.
    When American voters were asked, "how friendly or unfriendly do you think" each nation or group is to the U.S., the top three were England - 78%, Canada - 72%, and Israel - 66%.
    When Quinnipiac last asked Americans to rate those nations in June, Israel received 63%.
    Israel's support in the U.S. is stronger among Republicans (71%) and independents (68%) than among Democrats (60%) and among men (72%) than women (61%).
    Other responses were Saudi Arabia - 38%, the PA - 23% - down from 25%, Syria - 22%, and Iran - 14% - down from 17%.


Israelis Warned to Leave Sinai At Once (Ynet News)
    Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau on Tuesday issued the following statement:
    "The threat to kidnap Israelis on the Sinai beaches has become extremely severe and concrete in recent days. All Israelis in Sinai are firmly recommended to leave the area immediately."


Palestinian Killed Playing with Rocket in Gaza (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
    On Monday, an explosion occurred in a room near the house of Khaled Mohammed al-Za'anin in Beit Hanoun. His son Mohammed, 17, was killed instantly, and his other son, Bilal, 14, was injured by shrapnel throughout his body.
    The explosion occurred when the two brothers were fooling with a locally-made rocket apparently stored in the room by Palestinian resistance activists.


Palestinian Journalists in Gaza Protest Intimidation by Gunmen - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinian journalists in Gaza complained Tuesday that they were being subjected to a campaign of intimidation and terror by various armed groups and urged the PA to punish those responsible.
    Several Palestinian journalists and editors have been killed or beaten over the past few years by unidentified gunmen, especially in Gaza, and none of the assailants have been caught.
    The journalists urged the PA to guarantee freedom of expression in its territories and take legal action against anyone who threatens or attacks them.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Freezes Assets of Hizballah Unit - Glenn Kessler
    The Bush administration moved Tuesday against the Islamic Resistance Support Organization, a key fundraising arm of Hizballah, ordering a freeze on its assets in the U.S. and making it illegal for Americans to contribute to the organization. The Treasury Department released copies of a receipt issued by the group to a donor, which on the back listed projects such as "contribution to the cost of a rocket" and "contribution to the cost of bullets." The donor used ink to signal his interest in helping fund a rocket. (Washington Post)
        See also Argentina's Arab Community Sending Money to Hizballah?
    Allegations that Argentina's Arab community is sending money to Hizballah have incensed Jewish groups in a country where memories are still raw of two deadly bomb attacks on Jewish targets in the 1990s blamed on Hizballah. Argentina's La Nacion newspaper last week quoted Muafak Jammal, whom it described as a senior Hizballah leader, as saying: "Money is arriving from Argentina for Hizballah." (Financial Times-UK, 26Aug06)
  • Hizballah's Indoctrination - Joshua Brilliant
    Israeli soldiers in south Lebanon found a booklet that provided a glimpse into that movement's religious indoctrination. It extolled holy war and martyrdom and provided examples from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' experience. There are several gates to Heaven and the most prestigious of all is the one for those involved in a Jihad, the document says. Yoram Kahati, deputy director of Israel's Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which the intelligence community uses to release declassified materials, noted that Hizballah considers its fighters "mainly Muslim-Shiite Jihad fighters who fulfill a most important religious commitment."
        Disarmament and cease-fire with Israel are not long-term options since such moves would seem to break religious principles. Hence Hizballah will persistently refuse to disarm, and Iran is going to back it. Hizballah leaders in Lebanon "are going to rebuild and strengthen themselves and if they feel they can carry out (operations)...they have a right to abrogate the cease-fire," Kahati cautioned. (UPI)
  • Iran Enriching More Uranium - Dafna Linzer
    Iranian nuclear specialists have begun enriching a new batch of uranium in an apparent act of defiance just days ahead of a UN Security Council deadline for Tehran to stop such work or face the prospect of economic sanctions, officials who have been monitoring Iran's efforts said Tuesday. It is unlikely that the Iranians will stop the work in time to meet the Security Council's Aug. 31 deadline. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Shin Bet Chief: Sinai Becoming Haven for Terrorists and Smugglers - Gideon Alon
    Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Director Yuval Diskin warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that the Sinai Peninsula is becoming a haven for arms smugglers and is being used as a terrorist base. "If we don't move to counter this smuggling, it will continue and create a situation in Gaza similar to the one in southern Lebanon," Diskin said. He said that Hamas wants to adopt the model used by Hizballah in Lebanon and is making every effort to create a balance of deterrence against Israel. Since Israel transferred control of the Egypt-Gaza border to Egypt a year ago, large amounts of weaponry have been taken into Gaza from Sinai. He listed as examples some 15,000 light weapons and four million rounds of ammunition, guns, rockets, dozens of anti-tank missiles and launchers, 15 tons of explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and Katyusha rockets with a 20km range. "It is possible to take anything across apart from tanks and planes," he concluded. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Shin Bet: Samaria Becoming "Islamic Jihad-land" - Sheera Claire Frenkel
    Diskin told the committee that following the evacuation of four settlements in the Samaria region and the withdrawal of the IDF from the region last summer, it had become difficult to gather accurate information about terrorist activity there. "Samaria has become the land of Islamic Jihad following the disengagement," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Foils Terror Attack from Gaza Tunnel - Hanan Greenberg
    The Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet foiled a terror attack from the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the army said Wednesday. Troops located and destroyed a tunnel in the Sajjaiyeh area of northern Gaza which was dug in the direction of the Karni crossing between Gaza and Israel, where terrorists had planned to carry out an attack. The Karni crossing was shut down on August 16 following terror warnings, though alternative crossing points have been used to transport merchandise in and out of Gaza. (Ynet News)
  • Prince Hassan: Arab Leaders Stole Billions - Roee Nahmias
    Jordanian Prince Hassan Bin Talal told a conference of religious leaders in Kyoto that "Arab leaders stole billions of dollars from the Arab people and spent it on weapons to fight Israel, which they will never defeat, instead of using the money for health and education purposes to aid their people." Hassan also said the world needs to make sure that the nuclear project in Iran does not reach the stage of nuclear weapons. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Would Turkish Troops in Lebanon Be Neutral? - Soner Cagaptay
    Whereas a few years ago, Turkish peacekeepers to Lebanon would have been a great idea, today, it is a dangerous one. Since the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) government took office in November 2002, Turkish foreign policy and Turkish public sentiments have changed beyond recognition. Whereas in the pre-AKP period typically more than half of the Turks expressed favorable opinions of the U.S., a Pew Center survey last month showed that only 12 percent of Turks view America positively. The AKP's new alternative foreign policy is solidarity with all "Muslim causes." While the Turkish military would go to Lebanon to do a good job, its hands would be tied by the Islamists. The writer is a senior fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and an assistant professor at Georgetown University. (Jerusalem Post/Washington Institute)
  • Hizballah Is No IRA - Oded Haklai
    The idea that Hizballah should be removed from Canada's list of banned terrorist organizations was raised following the visit of three Canadian MPs to Lebanon. One MP likened Hizballah to the IRA, with which the British government ended up negotiating the Good Friday peace accord. Another MP noted that some Lebanese regard Hizballah as resistance fighters. But the Canadian government rejected offhand the idea that Hizballah should be removed from the terrorists list
        There is a qualitative difference between the two cases that makes the comparison weak. The IRA's objective was to liberate Northern Ireland, not to destroy a neighboring country. Hizballah is not resisting any foreign occupation of Lebanon, since Israel withdrew from Lebanon to the international border more than six years ago. If anything, this organization is allied with foreign elements (Syria and Iran) who meddle in internal Lebanese affairs. Hizballah has an independent militia that challenges the authority of the Lebanese government, rather than a foreign occupier of Lebanese territory. Furthermore, Hizballah's stated objectives and association with Iran suggest that this organization's hostility toward Israel cannot be mitigated by negotiated political solutions. (Ottawa Citizen-Canada)
  • Observations:

    Israel Changes Its Role in Mideast Script - Amotz Asa-El (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

    • Having just endured 4,000 rockets that smashed 6,000 of their homes, displaced 300,000 of their countrymen and sent another million of them into bomb shelters, Israelis are amused by the attempt to portray this frontal and unprovoked attack on innocent civilians and what came in its wake as all kinds of things except what it really was: an Islamist assault on freedom.
    • A European-led effort to change the subject in the debate over Lebanon's future is well under way and Westerners who care for their own future had better resist it. What is immediately at stake in Lebanon is not the Islamist Revolution's desire to expunge Israel, which its leaders are leaving for later, but their designs on Lebanon, the Arab world's most Westernized enclave, which they judge as ripe for the picking.
    • The conquest by Islamism of Beirut, once known as the Paris of the Middle East, would be the equivalent of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and would inspire and embolden Islamists wherever they may be. Why are so many Europeans so reluctant to face up to the Islamist menace, which, frankly, threatens them even more than it threatens Israel? How can Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero not understand what an Iranian conquest of Beirut would do to European Islamists who say Muslims should wrest all former Muslim domains, which happen to include Spain?
    • The answer is: They suffer from a denial syndrome. And so, when Islamism peeks through the horizon, they run home, lock the door, and scream, "I am not home."
    • Back in the 1930s, most Europeans remained deaf to warnings that Hitler was after them, preferring to delude themselves he was "merely" after the Jews. When Europe understood, well after Kristallnacht, that the Jews were merely Fascism's warm-up act, it was too late. Today a very clever Islamism is also telling Europe it merely wants the Jews, and, unfortunately, many Europeans still respond with the same moral understanding and political appeasement that only a few decades ago set their continent ablaze.
    • But the Jews - that stiff-necked lot - are no longer prepared to play their part in the script: They fight.


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