Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see


January 22, 2007

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

IDF: Hizbullah Busy Rearming - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Hizbullah is receiving almost daily arms shipments from Syria, a high-ranking IDF officer said Sunday.
    Earlier Sunday, Director of IDF Strategic Planning Brig.-Gen. Udi Dekel told the Herzliya Conference that Hizbullah was busy rearming, receiving "nonstop" weapons shipments from Syria.
    Dekel warned that Iranian involvement in almost every conflict in the region was intensifying.

Iran Plans Three Days of Missile War Games - Nasser Karimi (AP/Washington Post)
    Iran plans three days of military maneuvers, including short-range missile tests, beginning Sunday, state-run television said.
    "The elite Revolutionary Guards plans to begin a three-day missile maneuver...Zalzal and Fajr-5 missiles will be test fired in the war game," said the broadcast.
    In November, Iran test-fired dozens of missiles, including the Shahab-3 that can reach Israel.

Iraqi Gunmen Wearing American Uniforms Kill Five U.S. Soldiers - Damien Cave (New York Times)
    Clashes on Saturday in Karbala left five Americans dead. Lt. Col. Scott R. Bleichwehl, an American military spokesman, said gunmen who stormed the provincial governor's office during a meeting between American and local officials were wearing American military uniforms in an effort to impersonate U.S. soldiers.
    It is not uncommon for gunmen to impersonate Iraqi security forces, but this may be the first time that attackers disguised themselves as Americans.

Arab Satellite Network Al Arabiya Shuts Down in Gaza after Hamas Threats - Sa'id Ghazali (Boston Globe)
    The Arabic satellite network Al Arabiya ordered its reporters to stop working in Gaza Friday after the governing Palestinian Islamist party Hamas attacked the network for blasphemy.
    Al Arabiya had aired a recording that quoted Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh saying that Hamas "will not accept conditional aid, even if it came from God," along with a denial by a Hamas spokesman.
    Al Arabiya's director of operations in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Nidal Hasan, said he had ordered the 42 employees in the station's Gaza bureau to stay home after receiving death threats from anonymous gunmen.
    "We did our jobs as we should, getting comments on the tape from both sides," said Hasan.

Palestinian Wedding Gunfire Kills Brother of Groom, Injures Two Children (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
    Kamal El-Bashiti, 32, was killed and two children were injured by gunfire at a wedding celebration in Khan Yunis on Thursday.
    Kamal, the groom's brother, was shot in the chest when a gunman lost control of an assault rifle he was firing in the air.
    Ahmad El-Bashiti, 13, and Marqouq El-Bashiti, 14, were each injured by a bullet in the leg.

Useful Reference:

The Herzliya Conference on Israel's National Security (Institute for Policy and Strategy, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya)
    See videos of presentations.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Calls for Increased International Pressure to Stop Iranian Nuclear Program
    U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told the Herzliya Conference in Israel on Sunday that the limited sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN Security Council last month are just the beginning of the global effort to punish Iran. "Iran is going to have to suffer the consequences of being an international pariah," Burns said. "There's a rising sense in the world that all of us have to resist this effort by Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability....We're hoping that the European governments and Russia and China will take additional measures so that the impact is that Iran will recalculate the price of developing a nuclear weapons program," he said. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
        See also U.S.: We Won't Allow Iranian Nuclear Weapons - Yaakov Lappin
    Burns told the conference, "the policy of the United States is that we cannot allow Iran to become a nuclear weapons state." (Ynet News)
  • Months After War, Vision of Rebuilding Lebanon Wanes - Hassan M. Fattah
    In August, Mohammed al-Seyed watched with pride as tractors in Bint Jbail driven by Hizbullah men began scooping away the rubble and debris of a month of war with Israel. More than five months later, however, with winter here, the tractors are gone, the men have disappeared, and Bint Jbail's town center still resembles Dresden after World War II. "They told us everything was going to be rebuilt soon," Seyed said Tuesday, speaking of town leaders. "They're not doing anything now. We want to build but they won't let us. They promise to pay us, but they don't. All we want is our homes back and they won't even let us have them!" (New York Times)
  • Abbas, Hamas Chief Can't Agree on Government - Zeina Karam
    Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal met in Damascus Sunday but failed to resolve their differences over forming a Palestinian unity government. Recent Palestinian fighting has killed at least 62 people. The thorniest issues between the sides have been control of the security forces and Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel or commit to previous accords signed between Israel and the PA. Syria hosts the exiled leadership of several Palestinian militant groups, including Mashaal, who has lived in Damascus since 1997. (AP/Washington Post)
  • 80% of Nazi-Stolen Assets Missing - Matti Friedman
    Only one-fifth of the property that was stolen from Europe's Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators has ever been returned, leaving at least $115 billion in assets still missing, according to a new study by economist Sidney Zabludoff, a former CIA and U.S. Treasury official. The study, to appear in the Jewish Political Studies Review, showed that before the Holocaust, Jews owned property in Europe that was worth between $10 billion and $15 billion at the time. Most of that was never repaid, translating into a missing $115 billion to $175 billion in current dollars, the study said. There is little chance of a new push for restitution because Western European governments feel they already did their share, Eastern European governments feel they are too poor, and the U.S. and Israeli governments are too preoccupied with other issues, the study said. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Strategic Talks with U.S. Focus on Iranian Threat - Aluf Benn
    The Iranian threat was at the forefront of the strategic dialogue between Israel and the United States that took place in Tel Aviv Sunday. The Israeli and American teams, headed respectively by Transportation [and former Defense] Minister Shaul Mofaz and Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, discussed ways to halt Iran's nuclear program, its support for terror, and its attempts to expand its regional power and influence. (Ha'aretz)
  • Lebanese Army Uncovers 75 Hidden Missiles - Roee Nahmias
    The Lebanese army seized 75 "Grad" missiles suspected of belonging to the extreme al-Jamaa al-Islamiya militant group. Security officials in Lebanon said Saturday that the missiles were found in a flour mill in the village of al-Biri in southern Lebanon. (Ynet News)
  • Gen. Ashkenazi to Head IDF - Yaakov Katz and Sheera Claire Frenkel
    Defense Ministry Director-General Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi was chosen Sunday by Defense Minister Amir Peretz to become IDF chief of staff, replacing Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, pending the cabinet's approval. Ashkenazi, 52, was deputy chief of staff until 2005. He previously served as head of Northern Command, commander of the Golani Brigade, and head of the IDF Operations Branch. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Who is Gabi Ashkenazi?
    Renowned for his extensive experience as an IDF ground commander, Ashkenazi is also a graduate of the U.S. Marines Training Command School. He took part in the Entebbe operation and was deputy commander of the Golani Brigade during the 1982 Lebanon war. He earned the reputation of being an experienced general, "Mr. Lebanon," though he was not directly involved in the recent war in Lebanon. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire at Israel Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired three rockets at Israel on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Rice's Rhetoric, in Full Retreat - Jackson Diehl
    Eleven months ago Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit to report on their talks in Cairo. After Aboul Gheit summed up the topics, Rice pointed out that he had forgotten one: "Iran. You missed Iran." She then spent most of her time on Egypt's progress - or lack of it - "as it faces questions of democracy and reform." Last week Aboul Gheit and Rice again appeared side by side. This time Iran loomed large in their discussions, as did Iraq. But it was Rice who neglected to mention something: "democracy and reform." The reversal this represents is staggering.
        In Rice's new parlance, Egypt has suddenly become part of a "moderate mainstream" in the Middle East, which she hopes will stand with the U.S. and Israel against the "extremists" - Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. "We had a very rude awakening on September 11th, when I think we realized that our policies to try and promote what we thought was stability in the Middle East had actually allowed, underneath, a very malignant, meaning cancerous, form of extremism to grow up underneath, because people didn't have outlets for their political views," said Rice. She didn't need to add that al-Qaeda was founded, in large measure, by Egyptians. Five-and-a-half years after Sept. 11, the cancer is still growing in Egypt, and elsewhere in the "moderate mainstream."  (Washington Post)
  • The Clock May Be Ticking on Iran's Fiery President - Dariush Zahedi and Omid Memarian
    Until municipal elections in December, the relatively young conservatives who control Iran's parliament and the more traditional conservatives beholden to the clerics were unsure of Ahmadinejad's popularity. But Ahmadinejad's humiliation at the polls - about 90% of his allies lost - has emboldened his opponents. Ahmadinejad comes from the most militant and ideologically driven faction in Iran, known as the Hizbullahis. In general, they are right-wing populists with security and military backgrounds in the Revolutionary Guard and the voluntary militia attached to it, the Basij. The president has gone out of his way to placate these extremist forces, granting them multibillion-dollar infrastructure contracts to develop the country's oil and gas sector, among other enterprises. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Is Gaza Becoming Another Lebanon? - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad
    Listen carefully to Ahmadinejad. He is not insane. He embodies very accurately the nature of the Iranian regime and he is gaining popularity among Muslims. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, sitting in Damascus where he is supported by Iran and Syria, controls the military wing of Hamas and is more powerful than PA Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh. Mashaal is responsible for the money, for the policy of terror, and he holds many cards relating to Israel's abducted soldier in Gaza. The writer is Director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs at the Israel Ministry of Defense. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Observations:

    Gen. Yaalon: Occupation Is Not Root of Conflict - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)

    • The Palestinian government and Hizbullah are seeking Israel's destruction, not just the end of the occupation, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (res.) Moshe Yaalon told the Herzliya Conference Monday. "The fact that Israel was attacked last summer from two areas it left strengthens the sense of a dead end, and proves that the root of the conflict is not the occupation of territories," Yaalon said.
    • He added that Hizbullah's aim was not the liberation of Lebanon, but the destruction of the State of Israel, and that the same was true of the Palestinian Hamas government.
    • Turning to the Iranian threat, Yaalon said: "We cannot avoid confrontation with the Iranian regime....The sense of self-confidence in Iran is growing, and they have not paid any price for being a rogue regime. If we do not take political and economic steps, we are actually bringing a military conflict closer," he warned. "Iran is a rogue government that supports terrorism. It must be punished by the international community," he insisted.
    • He urged cooperation with Sunni elements that "view the Shiite hegemony as a threat to their existence." "Not all Muslims are jihadists...they too see what is happening in Gaza, and recognize that the culture of death is destructive. The West and Israel must make contact with them."
    • In response to a question as to the viability of the two-state solution, Yaalon said: "I know those who talk about a road map or call for pressure on Israel to take a step to solve the problem (are suggesting something that is) irrelevant. Withdrawal will not solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or solve the jihadi threat....The basis of our belief, that the other side wants two states, is false. I think there is deep understanding among the American public over this," Yaalon added.
    • "We tried to ignore the education in Palestinian society. Eventually we were surprised that (Palestinian) society, educated from kindergarten to become suicide bombers, acted as it did," Yaalon said. His comments were backed by former CIA Director James Woolsey, who said, "As long as Wahhabis are running Palestinian education, and little boys are taught to be suicide bombers, I don't see any reasonable prospects for a settlement."

    Subscribe to the Daily Alert

    Unsubscribe from the Daily Alert