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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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February 23, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Chlorine Bombs Mark New Insurgent Tactics in Iraq - Claudia Parsons (Reuters)
    Two bombs with chlorine gas have killed up to 11 people this week in Iraq, causing toxic fumes that have made scores more sick.
    Lt.-Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, said U.S. forces had found chlorine cylinders in a car bomb factory near Falluja on Tuesday.
    Chlorine gas was used as a weapon in World War One.

Israel HighWay
- February 22, 2007

Issue of the Week:
    Israeli Stamps

Hizbullah Orders Bombings in Israel (Middle East Newsline)
    The Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah has ordered its Palestinian agents to launch mass-casualty attacks in Israel.
    Israeli security sources said Hizbullah has financed more than 20 plots to conduct suicide and other bombings inside Israel, relaying funds to Fatah operatives loyal to Mahmoud Abbas as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
    The sources said Hizbullah-aligned cells were most active in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Egyptian Blogger Gets Four Years in Prison - Nadia Abou El-Magd (AP/Washington Post)
    Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil, 22, was convicted Thursday and sentenced to four years in prison for insulting Islam and Egypt's president.
    The former student at Egypt's Al-Azhar University had been a sharp critic of conservative Muslims and called Al-Azhar "the university of terrorism," accusing it of encouraging extremism.

Iraqi Insurgents Using YouTube - Haviv Rettig (Jerusalem Post)
    Iraqi insurgents are distributing their propaganda movies not only through fringe, hard-to-find websites, but by uploading them directly to popular video sharing sites such as YouTube, Google Video and
    Some show footage from terror attacks, including close-ups of badly burned children, as well as exploded military vehicles and dead American soldiers, while Arabic victory songs play in the background.

Gaza's Fragile Peace - Kevin Peraino (Newsweek)
    Palestinian leaders hoped that the low-grade civil war that has killed about 100 Gazans and wounded 300 more since the beginning of the year was coming to an end.
    At an emergency summit meeting in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Hamas and Fatah agreed to share power in a new "unity government."
    But similar accords have collapsed in the past. Already politicians are squabbling over who will control Gaza's security forces and key cabinet ministries in any new government.
    Even if the two parties manage to agree, emotionally charged family rivalries could torpedo the deal. In Gaza, feuds between the roughly 100 large clans are something of a local sport.

Ten Injured in Clan-Hamas Confrontation in Gaza (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
    On Wednesday, Nahda Sa'di Hasanein, 20, a resident of the Sheja'eya Quarter in Gaza City, was admitted to Shifa Hospital after being shot while inside her house.
    When the Hamas Executive Force prevented members of the Hasanein clan from entering the hospital because they were armed, a gunfight broke out leading to the injury of ten people.

UC-Intifada - Aaron Hanscom (FrontPageMagazine)
    On Jan. 31, Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes gave a talk at the University of California at Irvine titled, "The Threat to Israel's Existence."
    Roughly 100 members of UCI's Muslim Student Union occupied the central seats in the lecture hall, most wearing t-shirts reading "UC Intifada."
    A coordinated disruption began about five minutes into the talk. After the protesters exited the building while chanting slogans, student Reut Cohen followed the MSU students outside with her video camera running.
    Cohen's video of an organizer of the protest declaring: "It's just a matter of time before the State of Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth" immediately began circulating on the Internet and was aired on Fox News.
    See also UC Irvine: Jewish Group to Investigate Alleged Anti-Semitic Incidents on Campus - H.G. Reza (Los Angeles Times)
    The Hillel Foundation of Orange County announced this week that it will investigate "an alarming increase in anti-Semitism" at UC Irvine, a campus with a history of tension between Muslim and Jewish students.
    It is the second investigation in two years of alleged anti-Semitism at the campus.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Expanding Nuclear Effort, UN Nuclear Agency Reports - David E. Sanger and William J. Broad
    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)
  • Iranian Military Targets American Forces - Steven Stalinsky
    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)
  • Suspicion of UN Troops Grows in South Lebanon - Clancy Chassay
    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:

  • Israelis in Sinai Warned to Return Home - Ahuva Mamos
    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)
  • Firebombs Hurled at Israeli Bus Near Bethlehem
    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 Boosts Jordanian, Egyptian Exports by $1.7B - Avi Krawitz
    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)
  • PA Security Forces Kill Palestinian in Ramallah - Ali Waked
    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):

  • What Scares Iran's Mullahs? - Abbas Milani
    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 News You Don't Read - Hillel Halkin
    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)
  • How the EU Subsidizes Trade with Iran - Editorial
    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)
  • Time to Take Iran Seriously - Editorial
    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)
  • Sudden Jihad Syndrome - Editorial
    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

  • When Jews Helped Renovate the Temple Mount Mosques - Yehuda Litani
    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)
  • The Fight for Jerusalem - Jamie Glazov Interviews Dore Gold
    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)
  • Safeguarding Jerusalem - Yehuda Ben Meir
    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)
  • Observations:

    Lest the Sword Slip from Our Hand - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

    • Jibril Rajoub, a former head of PA Preventive Security in the West Bank who is considered a "moderate" Palestinian, has now appeared on television and shocked his Israeli acquaintances with the remark that in the end, the Palestinians will recover every inch of land between the river and the sea.
    • With all due respect to my Palestinian friends, I can only conclude from these remarks that we must shut our ears when the Palestinians scatter promises about wanting to live alongside Israel. It is not words that matter, but deeds, and deeds alone.
    • There is only one conclusion, and Moshe Dayan already said it in his eulogy over the grave of Roi Rutenberg, who was murdered by Arabs from Gaza in the 1950s: "This is our life's choice: to be prepared and armed, strong and determined, lest the sword slip from our hand and our lives be cut down."
    • The key issue here, and our primary concern, is the continuation of terror; today manifested in the continued rocket fire, the refusal to release Gilad Shalit, the attempts to carry out suicide bombings, and the massive smuggling of arms. Bringing an end to these things constitutes part of the Quartet's demands.
    • Of course Israel must help Mahmoud Abbas, and through him, the suffering Palestinian people. But it cannot participate in a sneaky attempt by Hamas to use a moderate and positive-thinking man like Salam Fayad, who would be finance minister in a unity government, to put aid money into the hands of Hamas ministers, including those heading the movement's military wing.
    • Having a moderating force in Gaza and within the PA is in Israel's interest, but it is not enough. Israel must also insist that the Palestinians pass the critical test of reining in terror and fully abide by all agreements.

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