Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Chlorine Bombs Mark New Insurgent Tactics in Iraq - Claudia Parsons (Reuters)
- February 22, 2007
Issue of the Week:
Hizbullah Orders Bombings in Israel (Middle East Newsline)
Egyptian Blogger Gets Four Years in Prison - Nadia Abou El-Magd (AP/Washington Post)
Iraqi Insurgents Using YouTube - Haviv Rettig (Jerusalem Post)
Gaza's Fragile Peace - Kevin Peraino (Newsweek)
Ten Injured in Clan-Hamas Confrontation in Gaza (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
UC-Intifada - Aaron Hanscom (FrontPageMagazine)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran is steadily expanding its efforts to enrich uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Thursday. In response, the Bush administration immediately pressed for more severe sanctions against Iran. Iran was now operating or about to switch on roughly 1,000 centrifuges, the high-speed devices that enrich uranium, at its nuclear facility at Natanz. "They are installing faster than was commonly expected," said David Albright, a former inspector who is now president of the Institute for Science and International Security. (New York Times)
See also Text of IAEA Report on Iran (pdf) (Washington Post)
See also Iran Insists Nuclear Plan Will Continue - David Blair
Iran will press ahead with its nuclear program even at the price of closing down every other government activity "for 10 years," President Ahmadinejad declared Thursday. (Telegraph-UK)
The Iranian military is watching every move made by American troops stationed in the Persian Gulf region. "We are fully monitoring the route taken by the American" warships in the Gulf, "and because American warships are heavy, they have no maneuverability and are easily sunk," said the navy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Admiral Sejjad Kouchaki. He added, "Our submarines can easily get near the enemy. Even our enemies know full well that one of our submarines passed under one of their [vessels] without their noticing. We came close to their anchored vessels, and we even filmed their anchor chain. We followed them through a periscope at a depth of 1 kilometer without their noticing."
The head of the Iranian army's joint staff, Abdolrahim Mousavi, said, "Regarding what Admiral Kouchaki said...the same goes for unmanned planes. The same unmanned plane that flew over the warships in the Persian Gulf, taking pictures of them all, can do other things if equipped with a warhead."
A Jan. 22 editorial in the Iranian daily Kayhan noted: "The American soldiers to the east and west of the Iranian" border "are in range of our fire. [When] the mighty missiles are launched from Iran, Israel will become a scorching hell for the Zionists." (MEMRI/New York Sun)
Six months after a UN-brokered ceasefire ended Israel's war with Hizbullah, skepticism about the role of 10,000 UN troops is growing in south Lebanon amid signs that the militant Shia group is retraining and re-equipping its forces. The international force is perceived by villagers to be favoring Israel. "They are not our guests any more," said Hajj Ali, a Hizbullah fighter from Bint Jbeil. "If they continue to help the Israelis we will have to take action against them."
Hizbullah still dominates the south, its security men policing the Shia villages and its fighters patrolling the border, albeit with greater stealth than before. A senior UNIFIL official said operational bunkers had been found and that Hizbullah fighters had been seen on patrols. Some areas controlled by the Lebanese army were off limits to the UN. Hajj Ali said they were Hizbullah military zones protected under a deal between Hizbullah and the Lebanese army. The UN official also said there had been an increase in Hizbullah activity north of the Litani river, outside UNIFIL's jurisdiction. "There will be another war in the summer," Hajj Ali said. "It is the beginning of the end for Israel; we are preparing." (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau has called on all Israeli tourists in Sinai to immediately return to Israel, as Egyptian security forces launched a search Thursday for two Palestinians believed to be carrying explosive belts and plotting suicide attacks in southern Sinai. On Wednesday, 23 Palestinians and Egyptians were arrested and confessed to plotting a series of attacks against Israeli tourists in Sinai resorts. The past few months have seen a sharp drop in the number of Israelis visiting Sinai following warnings on terrorist activities in the area. (Ynet News)
Two firebombs were thrown at an Israeli passenger bus southwest of Bethlehem on Thursday night. Two more firebombs were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Nablus. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel contributed approximately $1.7 billion to the Jordanian and Egyptian economies through the qualified industrial zone programs with those countries, research company Business Data Israel said Wednesday. The agreement helped boost Israeli exports to Egypt from $29m. in 2004 to $93m. in 2005 and $126m. in 2006, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor said. (Jerusalem Post)
After a vehicle in Ramallah refused to stop as requested by Palestinian military intelligence forces on Thursday, they opened fire at the vehicle, missed, and accidentally killed a teenager standing nearby. In response, the boy's family members began attacking PA security officers and set fire to police vehicles. The rioters also vandalized several shops in the city. Several hours later, an agreement was reached with the family members, promising that the dead youth would be declared a "shahid" (martyr) and his family members would be compensated by the PA. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
After a meeting with the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leader's chief foreign policy adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, indicated last week that the mullahs might be ready to agree to some kind of a suspension of uranium enrichment. Velayati also announced that the Holocaust is a fact of history and chastised those who question its reality. The strengthened American armada in the Persian Gulf has helped encourage the mullahs to negotiate, but their attitude change began in late December when the UN Security Council finally passed a resolution against the Tehran regime. Top leaders of the Islamic Republic have made it clear that they consider sanctions a serious threat. The resolution succeeded because few things frighten the mullahs more than the prospect of confronting a united front made up of the EU, Russia, China and the U.S. The writer is director of Iranian studies at Stanford and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. (New York Times)
See also Signals from Tehran - David Ignatius
"We're getting pinged all over the world by Iranians wanting to talk to us," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said in an interview Thursday. The problem, says Burns, is that the Iranians haven't yet said the "magic word," which is that they will actually suspend enrichment in exchange for the suspension of UN sanctions. The U.S. and its allies agreed Thursday to tighten the pressure another notch by preparing a second UN Security Council resolution with additional sanctions. Burns said Russia and China agreed to back the new resolution in a meeting Thursday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. (Washington Post)
The more successful Israel's army and security services are in preventing deadly acts of Palestinian terror against Israelis, the more the world looks upon the means of prevention as vindictive and unnecessary harassment of Palestinians on Israel's part. Take Wednesday's thwarted suicide bombing. An Islamic Jihad operative from the West Bank city of Jenin was arrested in a Palestinian "safe house" near Tel Aviv. How did Israel's intelligence services know that someone from Jenin was on his way with a bomb? And how did they know where he was hiding so that they were able to get to him in time?
Israeli intelligence must have known about the bomb because of security-related operations that include roadblocks, raids on houses, dragnets, and sweeps - all those operations that have given Israel a reputation for being an unconscionable oppressor. "Dozens of Israeli lives saved yesterday" doesn't play well with the editors of the New York Times or the Guardian in London. We in Israel, who know those lives could have been our own, our friends', or our family's, have a different take on it. (Commentary)
The European Union - led by Germany, France and Italy - has long been Iran's largest trading partner. Its share of Iran's total imports is about 35%. Even more notable: Its trade with Tehran has expanded since Iran's secret nuclear program was exposed. Between 2003 and 2005, Europe's exports rose 29%. Government-backed export guarantees have fueled the expansion in trade. That, in turn, has boosted Iran's economy and its nuclear program. EU taxpayers underwrite trade and investment that would otherwise be deterred by the risks of doing business with a rogue regime. The EU thus provides a lifeline to a regime that is unpopular at home and sponsors terror abroad. (Wall Street Journal)
Iraq is one of many places where Iran is working to destabilize the Middle East and damage U.S. interests. In Lebanon the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hizbullah, which last summer plunged Lebanon into war with Israel, put its cadres in the streets of Beirut to bring down the Lebanese government. Along with its ally Syria, Iran has funneled assistance to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and an amalgamation of terrorist groups called the Popular Resistance Committees, who are using the West Bank and Gaza to attack Israel. Jordan accuses Hamas operatives of planning to carry out operations there. Iran's subversion of Iraq is but one part of a much darker picture. (Washington Times)
It looks like the Muslim teen who opened fire on shoppers in a Salt Lake City mall is yet another case of "sudden jihad syndrome," a condition in which normal-appearing American Muslims abruptly turn violent. Taken together, this and other cases add up to an invisible jihad inside America.
Several other Muslim-tied cases since 9/11 include: Naveed Afzal Haq, who went on a shooting rampage at a Jewish community center in Seattle; Egyptian national Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, who shot two and wounded three at an Israeli airline ticket counter at LAX; the D.C. snipers - John Muhammad and Lee Malvo, both black Muslim converts - who picked off 13 people in the suburbs; Omeed Aziz Popal, who took his SUV on a hit-and-run spree in San Francisco, mowing down pedestrians; Ismail Yassin Mohamed, who injured drivers and pedestrians in Minneapolis; and Iranian student Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, who deliberately rammed his SUV into a crowd at the University of North Carolina.
They may seem isolated, but all have radical Islam at their nexus. These men act as conscripts called up for a mission, sick as it is. (Investor's Business Daily)
See also Killer's Daughter Admits It Was Political - Mahmoud Habboush
Ali Abu Kamal's relatives say they are tired of lying about why the Palestinian opened fire on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, killing a tourist and injuring six other people before committing suicide. Kamal's daughter Linda said that her dad wanted to punish the U.S. for supporting Israel, and revealed her mom's 1997 account that her husband had become suicidal after losing money in a business venture was a cover story crafted by the Palestinian Authority. (New York Daily News)
Weekend Features: Jerusalem
In 1992 King Hussein of Jordan financed renovations of the golden dome of the Dome of the Rock Muslim shrine on the Temple Mount. On a visit to the site during those renovations I discovered an iron panel inscribed in French. The foreman of the Irish construction company said the panel had been found on top of the mosque and was temporarily dismantled so that the dome could be coated in gold.
The words in French revealed that the shrine had been renovated in 1899 during Turkish rule, assisted by the Jewish community in Jerusalem. The inscription noted that five acclaimed Jewish artists had been invited to Jerusalem to help renovate the mosques on the Temple Mount, including stone carvers, wood carvers and iron mongers. The inscription also noted that all the students at the "Kol Israel Haverim" school in Jerusalem were given a three-month leave in order to assist in the renovation work on the Temple Mount.
The foreman apparently told Waqf representatives about the panel, and when we came back to the site the next day the panel was no longer there. (Ynet News)
At the end of the Camp David summit in July 2000 Yasser Arafat tried to assert that there never had been a Temple in Jerusalem. What he essentially did was to throw a stone of historical lies called "Temple Denial" into a lake and its ripples spread all over the Middle East. In an effort to begin to negate these trends, I wrote The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City. I also put into the book striking color photos from the Israel Antiquities Authority with some of the greatest archaeological finds of recent years that bolster the veracity of the Biblical narrative and contradict the trend Arafat sought to initiate. How can you deny there was a Kingdom of Judah when you see royal seals of the Davidic dynasty - like the seal of Hezekiah, King of Judah?
We must create a modus vivendi in Jerusalem based on the mutual respect of all the great monotheistic faiths. But that modus vivendi will be impossible to reach if the radical Muslims succeed in spreading a culture of total denial with regard to the historical connection of the Jewish people and Christianity to Jerusalem. There are many holy cities in the world that interest other faiths - Istanbul, Mecca, Karbala. No one demands internationalization today in those cases. Why do they talk about internationalization with respect to Jerusalem? (FrontPageMagazine)
It's become very clear that the clash over the construction work near the Mugrabi Gate is part of a broader campaign for the control of Jerusalem. After all, this construction work has no connection to the Al-Aqsa Mosque nor any effect on it. In the view of those Arab leaders mobilizing the war and the incitement against the construction, Israel has no sovereignty in Jerusalem's Old City and has no right to carry out any sort of construction work in the Temple Mount environs. At the root of this war is the intensifying effort by the Palestinians to deny any link or rights of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount or to Jerusalem, and thus to undermine not only our right to sovereignty in Jerusalem, but also Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. The writer, a former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Ha'aretz)
Lest the Sword Slip from Our Hand - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
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