Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 2, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Palestinians Planned to Kill Former Australian PM (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
    Bob Hawke, who was Labor Party and Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) president, faced assassination in 1976 at the hands of Palestinian militants for his strong pro-Israel views, cabinet papers show.
    Cabinet documents for 1976 - released under the 30-year rule - reveal security authorities and the government were deeply concerned about the rising tide of Palestinian terrorism.
    The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) believed Palestinian terrorists had a clear operational interest in Australia that had been demonstrated by visits from militants.
    ASIO said: "In addition to the Israeli ambassador, three prominent Australians - R.J. Hawke, president of the ALP and ACTU, and Zionist spokesman Isi Liebler and (journalist) Sam Lipski - were regarded by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine as suitable targets for future attack," according to cabinet documents.

Israel Developing Active Anti-Missile Defense for Infantry - Felix Frish (Maariv-Hebrew, 29Dec06)
    Israel Military Industries is developing a version of the active defense system developed for armored vehicles, in order to protect IDF infantry from anti-tank missiles in open areas and inside buildings.
    The system could be placed on the roof of a building or at a window to protect those inside from missiles and mortars.
    Israeli forces suffered many casualties from missiles fired at buildings in the summer 2006 Lebanon war.
    The system uses sophisticated radar that sends small rockets that explode in the air to neutralize incoming enemy ordinance.
    An individual soldier will be able to carry the 20 kg. system on his back.
    See also IDF Restores Smoke Screens to Protect Tanks Against Missiles - Amir Rapaport (Maariv-Hebrew, 29Dec06)
    Many Israeli tanks operating in the Lebanon War lacked smoke screen capability, leaving them easy targets for Hizbullah's anti-tank missiles.
    In 2007, the IDF will equip all its tanks and train the crews in the use of this time-honored defense measure.
    During IDF investigations of the war it became clear that the need for a smoke screen was critical in a number of battles.

Malaysian Troops Leave for UN Duty in Lebanon (Reuters/Boston Globe)
    The first batch of 100 Malaysian soldiers left for Lebanon on Tuesday on a UN peacekeeping mission.
    Israel had initially objected to peacekeepers coming from nations which do not recognize the Jewish state, but later relaxed that stance.
    Indonesia has also sent troops to Lebanon.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Former Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek Dies
    Teddy Kollek, who served as Jerusalem mayor from 1965 until 1993, died Tuesday at age 95. Theodor Kollek was born in Austria-Hungary in 1911, grew up in Vienna, and left for British Mandatory Palestine in 1935. In 1952 Kollek became chief aide to Israel's founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, a position he held for 12 years. (BBC News)
        A tireless campaigner for co-existence, Kollek said, "Jerusalem's people of differing faiths, cultures, and aspirations must find peaceful ways to live together other than by drawing a line in the sand." During World War Two, Kollek helped Allied intelligence contact the Jewish underground in Nazi-occupied Central and Eastern Europe. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians in Gaza Attack Cargo Crossing with Mortar Fire - Ibrahim Barzak
    Palestinian militants attacked the Gaza Strip's main cargo crossing at Karni with mortar fire on Tuesday, wounding an Israeli truck driver who was delivering building materials to Gaza. (AP/Washington Times)
  • Palestinians Continue to Demonstrate to Mourn Saddam Hussein
    Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank once again Monday to mourn the death of Saddam Hussein. Some 500 people attended a rally mourning Saddam in Halhoul, near Hebron, waving flags of all the Palestinian factions and burning Israeli and American flags. In Yabed, near Jenin, 500 people participated in a march for Saddam, firing in the air, and chanting slogans. They also opened a mourning tent in his honor. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • Ethiopian Forces Take Last Somali Islamic Stronghold - Stephanie McCrummen
    Ethiopian forces backing Somalia's transitional government have taken over Kismaayo, the last stronghold of the Islamic movement, and on Monday were chasing the remnants of the Islamic militia toward the Kenyan border. The Islamic fighters include three suspects in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • New UN Secretary-General: "Israel-Palestinian Conflict Key to Mideast Problems" - Herb Keinon
    "If the issues with the conflicts between Israel and Palestine go well, other issues in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Syria, are likely to follow suit," the new secretary-general of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, said Monday in an interview with the South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh. This position is widely at variance with Israel's position, which is that the roots of the problem in the region are terrorism, Islamic radicalism and extremism, and hatred of the West. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Eases Up Security Checks at West Bank Roadblocks - Yaakov Katz
    On Monday, Head of IDF Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh ordered the Judea and Samaria Division to begin easing restrictions throughout the West Bank in conjunction with a program - agreed upon during a recent meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas - to improve freedom of movement for Palestinians at security checkpoints. The army began easing restrictions at sixteen checkpoints throughout the West Bank with the goal of speeding up crossings. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said there were some 50 general terror alerts, in addition to another five concrete warnings. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians in Gaza Renew Internal Clashes, Abductions - Avi Issacharoff
    Internal tensions between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah flared Monday in Gaza as assailants abducted twelve Hamas members and four from Fatah, security sources said. All the kidnapped militants were later freed after both sides agreed to swap captives. The kidnappings sparked gunbattles which wounded three Palestinians caught in the crossfire. In a separate incident, Palestinians kidnapped Agence France-Presse photographer Jaime Razuri. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Sovereign Palestine? - Paul Sheehan
    The level of conflict between the Palestinian parties simmers just below the level of civil war, even as the spoils keep shrinking. Stripped of all emotion and prejudice, right and wrong, one reality becomes clear: there is no chance of a sovereign, autonomous Palestinian state. Not within our lifetimes.
        Compare the fenced-off community of today with 20 years ago, before the intifadas. The Palestinian workforce was integrated into the Israeli economy, with relatively free movement into Israel. Education and health systems were built, universities opened, local governments were functioning, corruption was minimal, and life expectancy had soared from 47 under Arab rule to 68. Then came Yasser Arafat and Fatah. (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
  • Abbas Has Obligation to Respond to Kassam Rocket Attacks - Ray Hanania
    Palestinians have a moral responsibility to first acknowledge the injustices committed by their own before pointing any fingers of accusation. Last week, as Mahmoud Abbas was meeting with Ehud Olmert to pursue peace and resumption of negotiations, Palestinian extremists in Gaza fired Kassam missiles into Israel to provoke conflict and block peace. This time, the rockets were fired by Islamic Jihad, a religious terrorist organization that seeks to destroy Israel, secular Muslim institutions, and all Christians.
        If the Palestinian National Authority has any legal authority, and if it is in fact a "government," then its first responsibility should be to crack down on these extremists firing rockets into Israel. Those firing rockets at Israel are criminals. They should be arrested, jailed, and prosecuted. It is not resistance to fire rockets into Israel when at least one major force in the Palestinian government is engaging Israel in peaceful negotiations. Individuals have no legal right to engage in any form of violence when they have a government. The writer is a Palestinian-American. (Ynet News)
  • The Palestinian Death Cult - David Horowitz
    There are more than a million Arabs living in Israel. They don't go around killing each other. The reason is that in Israel - unlike any other Arab state - they are free. They are even part of the Israeli government. And unlike the Arabs in Gaza they are not followers of a state-sponsored death cult which teaches them to kill for Allah and especially to kill Jews.
        This death cult is the problem in the Middle East, the source of the conflict, and the reason why Palestinian factions are killing each other. The sickness that has consumed the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank is self-generated, an emanation of the death cult they have been nurturing for decades. (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Observations:

    Better Off Dead - Yoel Marcus (Ha'aretz)

    • It is hard to comprehend how the execution of a cruel dictator, personally responsible for the murder of more than one million Iraqis, Iranians, Kurds, and Shi'ites during his 24 years in power, came as such a shock to the high-minded souls of the world, especially those in the EU who called the hanging of Saddam Hussein a "barbaric act."
    • A leader who doesn't blink an eyelid at employing chemical warfare to murder thousands of Kurds and an equal number of Shi'ites, and then buries dozens, if not hundreds, of them in mass graves, who is capable of launching an eight-year war against Iran that ends up killing a million people, is not an ordinary murderer.
    • He is a war criminal who deserves to be put to death. Israel did not hesitate to hang Adolf Eichmann.
    • The common denominator between the Nazi murderers and Saddam was an obsessive desire to wipe out the Jews. Saddam was a megalomaniac who pledged to burn Israel to a crisp.
    • He began to build the first nuclear reactor in the Arab world with the express purpose of putting an end to Israel.
    • He encouraged and financed suicide bombings and terror against Israel's civilian population, and fired 40 Scud missiles at us.

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