Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 31, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian FM: "Israel Should Move to Canada" - (Al-Bawaba-Jordan)
    "One large Islamic nation should be established in the Middle East, and where will Israel go? It should go to Canada. There is much open territory there in which a Jewish state should be established," said Palestinian Foreign Minster Mahmoud A-Zahar in a recent interview with Canada's Globe and Mail.

Iran Schools Feed Pupils "War Curriculum" - Mark John (Reuters)
    Iran's schools are nurturing a siege mentality in children with textbooks showing preparations for war and depicting Israel and the West as the enemy, the Israel-based Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) said on Tuesday.
    Director of Research Arnon Groiss said CMIP surveyed 115 textbooks published in Iran in 2004.
    All the textbooks were underpinned by the belief that Iran was a world power preparing for global "jihad," with the aim of world dominance of Islam.
    "This has been a structural component of the Iranian regime since 1979," he said.
    A picture book for 10-year-olds showed veiled girls carrying rifles, while material for 13-year-olds provided a basic acquaintance with weaponry, explosives, and military tactics.
    Israel was consistently referred to as "the regime that occupies Jerusalem" and marked out on maps as "Occupied Palestine."
    The U.S. was the "Great Satan" or the "World Devourer."

PA Received $130 Million in January - Mu Xuequan (Xinhua-China)
    The PA has received $130 million in January, including tax revenues of $100 million transferred by Israel on Jan. 19 and a $30 million donation from the United Arab Emirates, Rafik al-Hussini, chief of Abbas' office, said Saturday.
    He also said Qatar has promised $220 million.
    See also Bush Approves Transfer of $86 Million to Abbas (Jerusalem Post)
    President George Bush approved transferring $86 million to strengthen the security forces headed by PA Chairman Abbas, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.

Religiosity Growing Among Young British Muslims - Michael Holden (Reuters)
    Research by the Policy Exchange think-tank in London released Monday found that 37% of 16-24-year-old British Muslims would prefer to live under Islamic sharia law than under British law.
    74% of young Muslims said they preferred women to wear a veil or hijab.
    13% of those aged 16-24 also agreed with the statement that they "admire organizations like al-Qaeda that are prepared to fight the West."

U.S. Military: Afghan Leaders Steal Half of All Aid - Gethin Chamberlain (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
    Corrupt police and tribal leaders are stealing vast quantities of reconstruction aid intended to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans and turn them away from the Taliban.
    In some cases, all the aid earmarked for an area has ended up in the wrong hands.
    Defense officials in the U.S. and Britain estimate that up to half of all aid in Afghanistan is failing to reach the right people.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Suicide Bombers in Iraq Trained in Syria - Daniel Dombey
    Dozens of al-Qaeda suicide bombers from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Sudan are crossing into Iraq from Syria every month, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday. The official said that 75-80% of the estimated 75 suicide bombings a month were carried out by foreigners, with the vast majority of suicide bombers coming across the border from Syria. They receive training for their task within Syria as well as inside Iraq itself.
        The U.S. says outside actors - chiefly Syria and Iran - are still one of the biggest factors determining the level of violence in Iraq. "We have been wholly unsuccessful in affecting Syrian behavior with regard to the passage of these elements," the official said, adding that the countries of the region wanted to isolate Syria further. (Financial Times-UK)
  • Iran May Have Trained Attackers That Killed Five American Soldiers - James Glanz and Mark Mazzetti
    Investigators say attackers who used American-style uniforms and weapons to infiltrate a secure compound and kill five American soldiers in Karbala on Jan. 20 may have been trained and financed by Iranian agents, according to American and Iraqi officials. The sophistication of the attack astonished investigators. A senior Iraqi official said the attackers had carried forged American identity cards and American-style M-4 rifles and had thrown stun grenades of a kind used only by American forces. (New York Times)
        See also New Type of IED Comes Via Iran, Say U.S. Officials - Tom Vanden Brook (USA Today)
  • Judge Allows Terrorism Victims to Sue Arab Bank - Tom Hays
    Israelis and other foreign nationals can pursue in U.S. courts claims accusing the Jordan-based Arab Bank of promoting Palestinian suicide attacks by funneling Saudi money to bombers' families, Judge Nina Gershon ruled Monday in federal court in Brooklyn. "In light of the universal condemnation of organized and systematic suicide bombings and other murderous acts intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, this court finds that such conduct violates an established norm of international law," Gershon wrote. "The court further finds that the conduct alleged by plaintiffs is sufficiently specific and well-defined to be recognized as a claim."
        The ruling allows thousands of suicide bombing victims and their families to seek damages, said Michael Elsner, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. Banks and private individuals that aid and abet acts of terrorism "may be held civilly liable in the U.S., even if those acts occur outside the U.S.," he said. (AP/Forbes)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Egypt Could Do More to Prevent Infiltrations - Herb Keinon and Yaakov Katz
    Israel Defense officials said Egypt could do more to prevent Palestinian infiltrations into Sinai from Gaza and then into Israel, and IDF liaison officers have asked their Egyptian counterparts to increase efforts to stop the terror flow. "The Egyptians can do more," said one defense official on Tuesday. "It is just a matter of whether they want to." A diplomatic official said Israel had been pressing the Egyptians for years to take more effective action on their side of the border to prevent arms smuggling and the infiltration of terrorists, but some in Sinai were making a lot of money through smuggling. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel-Egypt Border in Sinai Is Wide Open - Shelly Paz
    Hours before a terrorist entered from Egypt on Sunday to carry out a suicide bombing in Eilat, 23 people from Georgia, Turkey, the Ivory Coast and Uganda were caught trying to illegally enter Israel via that same border. "The border between Israel and Egypt is easy to cross, there is no real barrier, just a low fence," said Yossi Edelstein, supervisor of the Foreigners Enforcement Department in the Interior Ministry. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Eilat Bombing Victims Laid to Rest - Herb Keinon
    Emil Almaliakh, 32, is survived by his wife, Keren, and two-year-old daughter, Jan. He served in the Golani Brigade's reconnaissance unit and performed reserve duty with the Alpinist unit on Mount Hermon. Almaliakh opened the Lehamim bakery eight months ago. Michael Ben-Sa'adon, 27, joined him as a partner in the bakery three months ago. Ben-Sa'adon is survived by his wife, Shani, and eight-month-old son, Nahorai. Israel Samolia, 26, known to all as Izzy, worked at the bakery. Originally from Peru, he immigrated to Israel from Miami several years ago. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Terror Threat Still Lurks - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The Eilat attack illustrates that Palestinian terror, despite being restrained, still exists and is dangerous. The Palestinian motivation to target Israel and Israelis has not decreased in light of the economic and international pressure exerted on the Hamas government and the intra-Palestinian clashes; the opposite is true. Moreover, even if a Palestinian national unity government is formed and a compromise is reached on the release of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, there would still be powerful elements on the Palestinian street that would continue to target Israel with outside encouragement. Israel's government and citizens must prepare for a situation where we have to defend ourselves over a long period of time against radical Palestinian and Islamic terrorism. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Is There a Place for Outside Intervention in the Palestinian Civil War? - Ira Sharkansky
    Currently there is a civil war among Palestinian religious and political movements, along with bloody feuds between extended families and criminal gangs. Outsiders are not good in solving the problems that cause the civil war and enforcing peace among the fighters. Egypt and Jordan might be able to use their own violence to repress violence among the Palestinians, but there is no sign that they want to threaten their own regimes with what is likely to come from the effort. They would be inviting rebellion from their own restive populations.
        Israel may be able to do nothing more than minimize the Palestinian violence that spills over to its people. That means controlling the movement of Palestinians that threaten Israelis, operating intelligence networks, and entering Palestinian areas in order to neutralize whatever is being planned against Israelis. Until they can solve their own problems and demonstrate a capacity to control violence, neither Israel, Jordan, Egypt, nor other well meaning outsiders can make Palestine a better place. The writer is professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ahmadinejad's Honeymoon Is Over - Ali Ansari
    Ahmadinejad's popularity with the Iranian electorate seems to be falling. His casual dismissal of UN sanctions has apparently earned him an unprecedented rebuke from the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei - reflecting growing concerns among the political elite, including many conservatives, who are increasingly anxious at Iran's worsening international situation. His critics argue that not only has he courted the anger of the U.S., but his economic mismanagement and political nepotism have weakened the internal integrity of Iran.
        Ahmadinejad appeared to follow the dictum of his mentor, Ayatollah Khomeini - "Economics is for donkeys." So the oil reserve fund was spent on cash handouts to the grateful poor, and the central bank was instructed to cut interest rates for small businesses. These had the effect of pushing up inflation, hurting the poor. Richer Iranians, worried about rising international tension, decided to ship their money abroad, which added to inflationary pressure. Ahmadinejad's demise, if it comes, will have less to do with the international environment and more with his own political incompetence. The writer is director of the Iranian Institute at the University of St Andrews. (Guardian-UK)
  • Congressional Trips to Israel Spark Debate - Lenny Ben-David
    On Jan. 26, former Sen. Jim Abourezk wrote an opinion piece, "The Hidden Cost of Free Congressional Trips to Israel." As head of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's Jerusalem office for 15 years, I oversaw the scheduling of congressional missions in Israel. Members met with Israel's leadership, visited sites holy to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and viewed Israel's vulnerable borders. On every trip, we scheduled meetings with Palestinian leaders such as Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmed Queria, and Sari Nusseibeh.
        Congressional support for Israel doesn't come about because of fear or arm-twisting, as Abourezk charges. It derives from the American people's support for Israel. Polls show that Americans support Israel over the Palestinians, and Americans have told pollsters that they view Israel as a friend to the U.S. The failures of Arab lobbying organizations over the years are not because of some money conspiracy. It's because, in the best democratic tradition, Congress reflects the spirit of the American people. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Right to Life - Paul Merkley (Christianity Today)

    • Former president Jimmy Carter's views are not irrational, they are just unbalanced - driven by an unquenchable private need for vindication. He cannot let go of the fact that the only part of his Camp David Accords of 1978-1979 which has lasted (and that just barely) is the achievement of a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. He proclaimed at the time that the U.S., Egypt, and Israel were committed under the Accords to persuade the Palestinians and all the Arab nations to resolve their quarrel with Israel along parallel lines. Carter has been working out his frustration regarding the failure of the larger hopes for "Middle East peace" ever since.
    • But Carter's Camp David formula was built on a fantasy: that the Arab world's complaint against Israel has to do with geography. The creation of the State of Israel is an intolerable reversal of the judgment of the Prophet Muhammad that, for their refusal to heed his voice, "humiliation and wretchedness were stamped upon them [the Jews] and they were visited with wrath from Allah" (Sura II: 61; cf., Sura III: 112). It is for this unforgivable assault on the credibility of Islam that Israel cannot be permitted to stand.
    • There is not a word about Islam in Carter's book. Neither is there any developed attention to the dynamic of terror. Carter refers to "the revered prisoner, Marwan Barghouti." Barghouti is "revered" because he is directly responsible for the murder of several Israeli citizens. To Israel it makes sense that he should be a prisoner. To Carter, it does not.
    • Carter does not mention those philanthropic Jews who put up millions of dollars in early 2005 in order to meet the needs of a Palestinian population in Gaza said to be suffering because of Israeli oppression, transferring ownership and custody of the scientifically advanced, productive greenhouses and orchards - the most advanced facilities of their kind in the world - cost-free, to the local Arabs. The Arab response was to trash everything, carry off all the pipes and equipment and hoses and sprinklers, and then to plant in the garbage dump that remained beds for the missiles which rain down terror over the Negev today.
    • The Palestinian people, who elected Hamas to be their government, consistently tell pollsters, by whacking great margins, that there will never be peace until Israel ceases to exist. The Palestinians are never going to embrace a healthier attitude so long as international voices with the prestige of Jimmy Carter keep up their unrelenting assault on Israel's right to life.

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