Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

Tuesday,
November 14, 2006
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In-Depth Issues:

Report: Iran Has Secret Nuclear Fund (UPI)
    Iran has a secret $418 million slush fund for expansion of its nuclear operations, the German magazine Der Spiegel reports.
    The information came from telephone calls made by a top Iranian official on a line tapped by a Western intelligence service.
    The money is to be used to safeguard Iran's nuclear sites from attack by moving nuclear operations into tunnels, to build additional centrifuges, and to construct a new nuclear plant at a secret location.
    Farhad Rahbar, vice-president and head of the planning and budget organization and a director of the Control Center for Nuclear Issues, reportedly wrote a clause authorizing the secret fund into the budget, allowing him to increase military spending by 30%.


Al-Qaeda Seeking Technology for Nuclear Attack on West - Sophie Walker (Reuters/Scotsman-UK)
    Al-Qaeda is trying to acquire the technology to carry out a nuclear attack against Western targets including Britain, a senior British Foreign Office official said Monday.
    "We know the aspiration is there. We know attempts to gather materials are there, we know that attempts to gather technology are there," he said.


Egypt Begins Construction of Nuclear Power Plant - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
    Egypt's International Cooperation Minister Faiza Aboul Naga said Monday that Egypt had begun to establish its first nuclear power plant.
    Al-Hayat newspaper in London reported Monday that Aboul Naga told a committee of the Egyptian parliament Sunday that Egypt needed eight power plants for electricity and that four plants would be built first.


Arabs Still Unable to Break PA Financial Ban - Jonathan Wright and Alaa Shahine (Reuters)
    Arab governments have yet to find a way to transfer money to the PA without running into U.S. reprisals against the banks they use, a senior Arab diplomat said on Monday.
    An Arab political source said Arab banks can transfer the money in Jordanian dinars through Jordanian banks to avoid sanctions.


New Survey Counts Lebanon's Ethnic Make-Up - Alistair Lyon (Reuters)
    Lebanon has 4.8 million people, of whom 35% are Christian, 29% Shi'ite Muslim, 29% Sunni Muslim, and 5% Druze, according to a survey published in an-Nahar newspaper conducted by statistician Youssef al-Duweihi.
    The Taif agreement which ended the 1975-90 civil war gave Muslims and Christians equal representation in parliament.
    Lebanon also hosts more than 400,000 Palestinians and a substantial number of Syrian and other guest workers.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • President Bush Welcomes Prime Minister Olmert of Israel to the White House
    After meeting with Israel's prime minister at the White House on Monday, President Bush said: "We talked about our commitment to a two-state solution. We talked about the need for a Palestinian government to embrace the principles of the Quartet and the road map....We spent a great deal of time on Iran, and about how we can work together with other nations of the world to convince the Iranians to abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions."
        "The whole central thrust of our discussions was based upon our understanding that we're involved in an ideological struggle between extremists and radicals versus people who just simply want to live in peace." (White House)
  • Iran Offers to Arm Enemies of Israel with Rocket Arsenal - Kay Biouki and Harry De Quetteville
    Yahya Rahim Safavi, the commander-in-chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, last week offered to arm neighboring countries in the Middle East with sophisticated missiles for use in battle with the "Zionist regime" of Israel. Iran has also offered to open its armory to the official Lebanese army, providing air defense systems that could target Israeli planes. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Former Israeli Intelligence Official Warns of Iran's Nuclear Goals - Olivia Ward
    Iran wants to create a new global power base by producing nuclear weapons, says retired Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of Israel's military intelligence research division. "The Iranians want to change the world order....They want the most important element, that makes them a superpower, in their hands." "From our understanding of the Iranian leadership, they believe that possession of a nuclear weapon would increase significantly their ability to export the Iranian revolution. That is what they care about most," he added. (Toronto Star)
  • Journalist Backs Israelis at Chicago Hamas Trial - Mike Robinson
    Former New York Times journalist Judith Miller testified Monday that she saw no evidence that Muhammad Salah had been tortured when she witnessed his interrogation by the Israelis in 1993. "He was boasting. He was jaunty. There was no reason to believe that he had been subjected to that kind of treatment," Miller, who was then the Times' Cairo bureau chief, testified. Salah is being tried in Chicago on charges of providing money and recruits to Hamas in its campaign to topple the State of Israel. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Olmert: We'll Talk to PA Unity Government If Hamas Recognizes Israel
    Israel will negotiate with a Hamas-Fatah unity government if the Islamic group recognizes Israel, renounces violence, and accepts existing peace deals, Prime Minister Olmert said in an interview published Monday in the Palestinian newspaper al-Quds. A Hamas official based in Damascus said Monday that Hamas and Fatah had agreed on former Islamic University president Mohammed Shabir as the next prime minister. In the interview, Olmert said he would be willing to release "a large number" of Palestinian prisoners, but not before Hamas released Cpl. Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier captured in a cross-border raid in June. (AP/Ha'aretz)
        See also Hamas: PA Unity Government Won't Recognize Israel - Avi Issacharoff
    Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Tuesday the proposed Palestinian unity government would not recognize Israel or accept a two-state solution. (Ha'aretz)
  • Shin Bet Chief Warns of Large-Scale Confrontation in Gaza - Ilan Marciano
    Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Yuval Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that "Israel must prepare for a wide military confrontation in the Strip, if moderate sources in the Palestinian Authority do not get stronger." Diskin outlined the Palestinians' efforts to arm and noted that, "The situation in the Strip is not a flashing traffic light but a red, red, red, light. Israel has no good options in Gaza, there are only bad options, and we need to choose the least bad of all."
        "Although the number of terror attacks this year following the disengagement is smaller, the important thing to look at is the amount of weapons and the significant strengthening of Hamas as a result of the disengagement," he said. (Ynet News)
  • Terrorists Take Advantage of Humanitarian Entry Permits to Attack Israel - Efrat Weiss
    Israeli security forces arrested Gaza City resident Jabar Derabiya, 43, at the Erez crossing two months ago for planning terror attacks against Israeli targets. Derabiya, active in the Popular Resistance Committees, received an entry permit into Israel in order to get treatment for a medical condition, and planned to exploit this to establish terror cells in the West Bank. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Hits Israeli Kibbutz - Gideon Alon
    A Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza landed close to a children's dormitory in a western Negev kibbutz Tuesday, damaging the building and a nearby factory. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israel Still Has No Genuine Peace Partner - Daniel Mandel
    The Arab desire to dismember Israel, expressed in several wars launched by Arab states, has accompanied Israel from the moment of its birth in 1948. Israeli occupation is a symptom, not a cause, of Arab belligerence. In the 1990s, many Israelis preferred to believe that Arab determination to dismember Israel had given way to acceptance, making a land-for-peace deal possible for the first time. It was a seductive hope, yet despite Israeli flexibility, American diplomatic enthusiasm and European largesse, it failed dismally.
        For Palestinians, non-acceptance of Israel trumps statehood. To this day, PA maps and atlases pretend Israel does not exist, PA-salaried clerics call for the murder of Jews, TV and radio broadcasts, popular songs and poetry extol the glories of suicide attacks, textbooks teach that Israel is unfit to live, and streets and colleges are named for suicide bombers. Why the studious avoidance of the abundant evidence of Palestinian intentions and conduct? Because it is apparently difficult to accept that when people say they mean to kill Jews and eliminate Israel, they actually mean it. The writer is a fellow in history at University of Melbourne. (The Age-Australia)
  • In New Middle East, Tests for an Old Friendship - Steven Erlanger
    Most Israelis say they believe they have only one true ally in the world, the United States. But Israel is haunted by the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran. "Our big worry is that they [the Americans] will wait too long to act, after it is too late to stop the Iranians from gaining the knowledge to build a bomb," said one senior Israeli official. The world looks different to nearly all Israelis across the political spectrum than it does to people in most other countries. "Unlike Bush, an Israeli leader looks at Iran through the prism of the Holocaust and his responsibility to the ongoing existence of the Jewish people," said Yossi Alpher, former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. "So we may be willing to do the strangest things." (New York Times)
  • Preventing Tragedies - Editorial
    Fifteen months ago, Israel withdrew completely from Gaza, bulldozing every Israeli settlement and even uprooting Jewish cemeteries. From then on, all the Palestinians had to do in order to never see another Israeli in Gaza and to build a future state in peace was just that: build, rather than attack Israel. Instead, Palestinian groups, including Hamas after its election by the Palestinian people, decided to attack Israel with hundreds of missiles aimed at civilian areas. Since the beginning of the year, over 300 rockets have been fired from the area of Beit Hanoun alone into Israel by Palestinian terror groups - with the support of the Hamas leadership. All the Palestinians need to do to end Israel's military operations is to stop attacking Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    One People, One Destiny: The 2006 United Jewish Communities General Assembly - Michael C. Kotzin (Jerusalem Post)

    • The 2006 General Assembly (GA) convening this week in Los Angeles could be a watershed event for American Jews and Israelis alike. After this summer's war with Hizballah, the GA was refocused around the theme "Together on the Front Line: One People, One Destiny."
    • Prompting this transformation was a recognition that Israel's war with Hizballah was far more than a military flare-up. With Israel's civilian population under attack; with Iran developing a nuclear capability and its president declaring that the Holocaust never happened and that the State of Israel - founded to ensure Jewish survival - should itself be wiped off the map; and with Islamic radicalism and a new anti-Semitism on the rise globally, there was a heightened sense that we are in this together.
    • The conflict had a visceral impact on American Jews, who responded with local rallies and solidarity missions, and who have contributed $350 million to UJC's Israel Emergency Campaign.
    • At the same time, in a world where they are increasingly isolated and vulnerable, many Israelis have been touched to realize that there is someone standing with them at a time of trial and need, someone with whom they have ties of kinship.

      The writer is Executive Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.


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