Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
IDF: Terrorists Always Return to Terror - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Israel Campus Beat
- January 7, 2007
A Year Since Ariel Sharon Left Office
Saudi Funding for Australian Mosque Investigated (NineMSN-Australia)
Bahrain Revokes Athlete's Passport after Israel Marathon Run (Reuters)
Dershowitz: Six Million Additional People Have Died Because of Obsessive Focus on Israel - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Washington is quietly gaining ground against the oil fields that are Iran's lifeblood. Iran's oil industry has raked in record amounts of cash during three years of high oil prices. But a new U.S. campaign to dry up financing for oil and natural gas development poses a threat to the republic's ability to continue exporting oil over the next two decades, many analysts say. "If the projects for increasing the capacity and production of the oil wells will not happen, within ten years, there will not be any oil for export," said Mohammed Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian, Iran's deputy oil minister for international affairs, in an interview.
Efforts by the U.S. and its allies over the last few months to persuade international banks and oil companies to pull out of Iran threaten dozens of projects. "Many European banks which had accepted financing some oil industries projects have recently canceled them," Nejad-Hosseinian said. Nations such as Japan have begun to back out of Iran oil development under U.S. pressure. (Los Angeles Times)
Iranian reformist parliamentarians on Saturday blamed President Ahmadinejad's government for failing to prevent UN sanctions. "The only way to pass the crisis is to build confidence...but holding a Holocaust conference and financing the Hamas government creates mistrust and tension," said Noureddin Pirmoazzen, the spokesman of parliament's reformist faction. The reformers made a strong showing at local council elections in December, with many voters worried about Iran's increasing diplomatic isolation and economic problems. (Reuters)
Spain's bishops are alarmed by ambitious plans to recreate the city of Cordoba - once the heart of the ancient Islamic kingdom of al-Andalus - as a pilgrimage site for Muslims throughout Europe. Plans include the construction of a half-size replica of Cordoba's eighth century great mosque, according to the head of Cordoba's Muslim Association. Other big mosques are reportedly planned for Medina Azahara near Cordoba, Seville, and Granada. Last month, Spanish Muslims reasserted their right to pray in Cordoba's great mosque.
The bishops of those cities are alarmed at the construction of ostentatious mosques, financed from abroad. Up to one million Muslims live in Spain, many drawn by a romantic nostalgia for the lost paradise of al-Andalus, the caliphate that ruled Spain for more than five centuries. (Independent-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel Defense Forces soldiers arrested four members of the Fatah-aligned Tanzim movement in the West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday, in a raid that also yielded two explosive belts. The army said the operation had thwarted a suicide bombing planned in the coming days, and that the arrests included two masterminds of the attack. The would-be bomber, a 16-year-old boy, had been arrested previously, army officials said. (Ha'aretz)
Palestinians in north Gaza on Monday fired a Kassam rocket that landed near a western Negev farming community. (Ynet News)
Heavy gunbattles between Hamas and Fatah were reported in Jenin on Saturday night, while in Gaza three members of a Hamas-affiliated family were killed by Fatah gunmen. Earlier in the day, gunmen abducted Nablus deputy mayor Mahdi al-Khamdali at gunpoint, while in Ramallah gunmen, reportedly from Fatah, stormed the offices of the Hamas-controlled Ministry of the Interior, shot the office manager in his legs, and abducted him. (Ynet News)
See also Dahlan: Hamas Are Murderers - Ali Waked
Tens of thousands of Fatah supporters gathered for a mass rally in Gaza Sunday in an impressive show of strength. Muhammad Dahlan, Fatah's strongman in Gaza, was surrounded by dozens of gunmen, who fired in the air whenever Hamas' name was mentioned. Many posters carrying Saddam Hussein's image could be seen at the rally. The crowd cried, "Hamas are Shiites, Hamas are Shiites," but Dahlan said, "They aren't Shiites, they are murderers." Dahlan also warned Hamas: "For every attack against Fatah we will respond twofold; if the Hamas leadership thinks it's safe from harm, it's wrong." (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Palestinians have bought themselves a place of honor on the list of unfortunates in the world. A well-oiled public relations campaign has turned them into a nation of victims. Misery pays. One of the countries hated by the Palestinians the most, the United States, has since 1993 helped them more than any other nation in the world, according to World Bank figures. From 1994 to 2004, the U.S. provided the Palestinians with $1.3 billion, the EU $1.1 billion, and Japan $530 million. In addition to direct aid, the U.S. is also the largest contributor to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
In 1992, the Palestinian per capita GDP was $2,683 per person. If there had not been terror, the Palestinian economy could have grown during the 1990s into one of the leaders in the Middle East. The money was used for three major purposes: perpetuation of the refugees as victims, purchase of weapons and explosives, and corruption. Opportunities to achieve independence and prosperity were rejected for the ultimate goal: the removal of Israel from the map.
In relation to their numbers, the Palestinians have received more aid than provided by the Marshall Plan after World War II. Since the Oslo agreements, the Palestinians in the territories have received $5.5 billion, or $1,300 per person. By comparison, in the Marshall plan, each European enjoyed only $273 (in today's numbers). Above all, the guilt lies with those who gave these huge sums without having the Palestinians undergo a period of recovery from their futile dreams of the destruction of Israel. The result is, primarily, the continued destruction of Palestinian society. (Maariv-Hebrew, 5Jan06)
Our body politic just can't manage to completely scrape off the wise old men who fancy themselves "realists," such as Brent Scowcroft whose Jan. 4 op-ed appeared in the New York Times. The title of his piece implies that when those like Scowcroft were running things, the Middle East collectively adored us. Empirically speaking, the Middle East as a whole has not been "on our side" the past 30 years. Saddam wasn't on our side. Iran hasn't been on our side. The Assads haven't been on our side. When Arafat wasn't busy stealing from his own people and amassing a personal fortune, he was arranging the death of a U.S. ambassador and facilitating countless other acts of terror. While ostensibly "on our side," the House of Saud was funding Maddrasses that peddled the most pernicious forms of hatred. And yet Scowcroft feels that there were halcyon days of yore when the Middle East was "on our side."
In truth, it's Israel who has always been on America's side. There's no need to strategize on how to return Israel to the American fold. For the past fifty years, Israel has been the only outpost of peace and democracy in the Middle East and remains our sole reliable ally in the region. (Townhall.com)
See also Getting the Middle East Back on Our Side - Brent Scowcroft (New York Times)
The demise of Saddam Hussein appears likely to closed the lid on secular Arab nationalism across the Middle East. Arab nationalism's roots go back to the revolt against European colonialism in the early decades of the 20th century. But because it was organized around the artificial national borders that these same colonialists had drawn - which generally ignored ethnic and sectarian lines - the result was multiethnic rivalry and the subjugation of one part of the population by another. The defining organizational attribute of secular Arab nationalism was the military emergency regime - witness Egypt, Syria, and Iraq - that justified its existence by the continued state of war with Israel.
Those who proclaim today that the only real solution to the Arab dilemma is political freedom are correct. The problem is that they are describing a process that could encompass several bloody decades. After all, it took centuries for stable democracy as we know it to evolve in Europe. (Los Angeles Times)
Time to Replace the Mullahs - Editorial (Telegraph-UK)
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