Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
U.S.: Iran Could Have Nuclear Bomb by 2010 - Veronika Oleksyn (AP/Washington Post)
UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Concerned about Al-Qaeda - Nicholas Blanford (Daily Star-Lebanon)
Bomb Misses Anti-Hamas Palestinian Journalist - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Israel to Let Abbas Deploy Loyalist PLO Brigade in Gaza - Dan Williams (Reuters)
Israeli UAV Operates in Extreme Weather Conditions (Epicos)
Prime Minister Olmert Reaches Out to Palestinians (Prime Minister's Office)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
A senior American intelligence official said Monday that Hizballah in Lebanon had been training 1,000 to 2,000 members of the Mahdi Army, the Iraqi Shiite militia led by Moktada al-Sadr. A small number of Hizballah operatives have also visited Iraq to help with training. Iran has facilitated the link between Hizballah and the Shiite militias in Iraq, and Syrian officials have also cooperated. (New York Times)
See also U.S. Finds Iraq Insurgency Has Funds to Sustain Itself - John F. Burns and Kirk Semple
The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, connivance by corrupt Islamic charities, and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified U.S. government report has concluded. (New York Times)
See also Classified Marine Corps Intelligence Report: U.S. Cannot Defeat Insurgency in Western Iraq - Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post )
U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said Washington's problem with Syria is not a lack of communication between the two governments, but Syria's habit of dabbling in terrorist activities throughout the Middle East. "They're not going to derive the benefits of a normal political or economic relationship with the Sunni Arab states, or with the EU states, or with the U.S. as long as they continue to be caught in the nexus of terrorism, along with Iran, in supporting those major Middle East terrorist groups that have such a negative effect on Israel, the Palestinians, and Lebanon," he said Monday. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
Concern is rising among governments and human-rights organizations about the growing politicization of the new UN Human Rights Council. They say the Council has become obsessed with the Israeli-Palestinian issue to the near exclusion of the vast majority of the world's human-rights violators. Even UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who pushed strongly for the creation of the Council, says it should broaden its focus: "When you focus on the Palestinian-Israeli issue, without even discussing Darfur and other issues, some wonder what is this Council doing? Do they not have a sense of fair play? Why should they ignore other situations and focus on one area?"
UN Watch says a majority of the 47 members of the Council is composed of non-democratic, repressive states, while only 11 members consistently defend the values and principles the Council is supposed to promote. (VOA News)
The Middle East is on the verge of three civil wars - in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories - King Abdullah of Jordan warned Sunday. (Financial Times-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets at Israel on Monday despite the declared cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians. In response, the Israel Defense Forces has altered its rules of engagement to allow troops to fire should they positively identify militants preparing to launch a rocket. (Ha'aretz)
See also Sirens and Missiles Greet Sderot Cease-Fire - Harry de Quetteville
For the residents of Sderot, the first full day of the "cease-fire" between Palestinian militants and Israel did not appear to be much of a cease-fire at all. On Monday afternoon the Red Dawn early warning siren rang out across the Israeli town which lies only a couple of miles from the border with Gaza. A loud bang effectively signaled the all-clear. (Telegraph-UK)
The PA on Monday gave a lukewarm reaction to Prime Minister Olmert's offer to withdraw from large parts of the West Bank and return to the negotiating table, while Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-led government, said Olmert's demand that the Palestinians relinquish the right of return was a "conspiracy." Syria-based Musa Abu Marzouk, the No. 2 man in the Hamas leadership, said the right of return for the refugees is "sacred" for all Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post)
Sources in the IDF Central Command warned on Monday of the consequences of extending the truce to the West Bank, claiming it would lead to an escalation in anti-Israel terror activity. According to defense officials, the only way to curb terrorism in the West Bank is to maintain an around-the-clock presence there. "The moment we walk away terror will flourish," warned one senior official. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israeli Prime Minister Olmert on Monday unexpectedly extended an olive branch to the Palestinians. If the Palestinian Authority - including the Islamic party Hamas - doesn't respond in kind, it will be yet another golden opportunity for Mideast peace squandered. Olmert offered to engage Palestinians in new talks to create an independent Palestinian state.
It would be a tragedy, most of all for the Palestinians, if Olmert's initiative were rebuffed. Hamas is not being asked to approve of the creation of Israel half a century ago, only to recognize that the modern Jewish state is a legal government endorsed by the UN and deserving of security. It's not enough for Hamas to enter into a ten-year truce. Hamas' recognition should be a non-negotiable issue both for Israel and the U.S. (Los Angeles Times)
Those among us who thought that the victory of allied democracies in 1945 would mark the end of hate and state-sponsored racism were naive. Ridiculing historical truths, offending the memory of survivors still alive, the current president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, glorifies the act of lying: As the No. 1 Holocaust denier in the world, an anti-Semite with a disturbed mind, he claims that Hitler's "Final Solution" never happened. And lest we forget, who is behind the Hizballah terrorist organization? Iran. The objective of the Iranian president is the destruction of Israel. This is why I maintain that such a figure does not have a place within the community of international leaders.
I'll go even further: The country he leads and embodies should be excluded from the UN as long as he is its ruler and symbol. One member state of the UN that threatens to destroy another member state of the same UN violates its very charter and conventions. If Iran were to have a nuclear weapon, do we really think that Israel would remain its only target? (New York Daily News)
Britain is contemplating constructing a foreign policy, specifically in the Middle East, that is designed to give in to terrorist blackmail. Never mind that the hereditary grievance of almost all British-born Muslim terrorists is the Kashmir question, to which the almost entirely irrelevant Palestine issue has been tacked on by political manipulators with larger ambitions. So this ignominious posture - what you might call the "save our own skin; who cares what happens in the rest of the world?" view - is based on a false premise.
It is not adjustments to our stance on Israel-Palestine that the international Islamist terror movement wants. That demand was just a bin Laden afterthought. What Islamic fundamentalism plans to achieve is a righting of the great wrong of 1492, when the Muslims were expelled from Spain: a return of the Caliphate, the destruction of corrupt Western values, and the establishment of Sharia law in all countries where Muslims reside. That is what we are up against. (Telegraph-UK)
Iran and Syria Are Waging War in the Middle East. Will the West Fight Back?
To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message to:
To unsubscribe, send a blank email message to: