Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 17, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Professor Killed in Virginia Tech Shooting - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
    Prof. Liviu Librescu, a senior researcher and lecturer at Virginia Tech, was among the 32 people killed during a shooting rampage at the university on Monday.
    One of Librescu's students, Alec Calhoun, said he and classmates heard gunshots from the classroom next door, and saw Librescu trying to block the door to his room as students climbed out the windows.
    Librescu taught at Virginia Tech for 20 years and was the professor with the highest number of publications in the history of the school. In the past, he taught at Tel Aviv University and the Technion.
    Prof. Librescu and his wife are both Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Israel from Romania in 1978.
    An accomplished scientist, he was allowed to leave Romania only after Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin appealed to President Nicolae Ceausescu.

Israel Campus Beat
- April 15, 2007

Point Counter-Point:
    Should Israel Seek the Return of its Soldiers at Any Price?

U.S. May Be Softening Stance on Muslim Brotherhood - Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball (Newsweek)
    A brief encounter at a Cairo cocktail party could signal a shift in Bush administration policy toward the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide Islamic movement that the U.S. has shunned because of alleged ties to terrorism.
    At the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Francis Ricciardone, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was introduced by a U.S. Embassy official to Mohammed Saad el-Katatni, a Brotherhood leader in the Egyptian Parliament.
    A senior U.S. official says the invite to el-Katatni was "cleared" by the State Department and represented the highest-level contacts with the Brotherhood since 9/11.
    "This doesn't mean we are embracing the group," the official says. "It means we recognize that we have to listen to a wide range of voices."

Israeli Photographer Wins Pulitzer Prize for News Photo (AP/Washington Post)
    AP photographer Oded Balilty won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography on Monday.
    View Photo (World Press Photo)

Israel Protests Anti-Semitic Russian Video Clip - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israel Foreign Ministry on Monday expressed concern to Russian Ambassador Piotr Stegniy about an "anti-Semitic" promotional video shown at a Euroleague basketball game in Moscow last week.
    The Russian video clip, which depicted CSKA Moscow as a train running over a Hassidic-looking Jewish man meant to represent Maccabi Tel Aviv, was shown to thousands of fans in the arena.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Is Seeking North Korea's Nuclear Expertise - Con Coughlin
    Iran and North Korea have appointed high-level delegations to deepen cooperation on nuclear weapons technology, according to diplomatic sources in Beijing. The countries are keen to seal a deal before North Korea starts to close its Yongbyon reactor under the terms of an agreement with the U.S. and regional powers in February. The U.S. State Department has demanded that North Korea should "immediately" invite the International Atomic Energy Agency to begin sealing the facility.
        Iran has taken advantage of the delay to intensify attempts to negotiate a deal that would give Teheran access to the nuclear expertise North Korea acquired during last year's atom bomb test. Iranian scientists have been invited to Pyongyang to study data collected from the test. Although North Korea has agreed to shut the Yongbyon reactor, the agreement puts no limits on North Korea to export the expertise it acquired from the test.
        The Iranian delegation handling negotiations with North Korea reports directly to Reza Aghazadeh, the country's vice president and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization. Meetings have taken place at the Chinese border city of Shenyang, because the Iranians are keen not to draw attention to their increased cooperation with Pyongyang. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Dangerous Dealings: North Korea's Nuclear Capabilities and the Threat of Export to Iran - Siegfried S. Hecker and William Liou
    Iran appears to be North Korea's most likely customer or partner for nuclear technologies. Iran seems to be on a determined path to nuclear weapons. It began its covert uranium-enrichment program nearly 20 years ago but has only recently publicly demonstrated its ability to produce low-enriched uranium. However, the sale of plutonium represents the gravest and most immediate threat. Obtaining 10 to 20 kilograms of plutonium from North Korea, would catapult Iran into nuclear-weapon status. North Korea is unlikely to encounter serious hurdles if it was to ship plutonium to Iran, and detecting such shipments would be very difficult.
        Iran has money and oil, just what Pyongyang needs most. The two countries have long-standing collaborations in ballistic missiles dating back to the Iran-Iraq War. North Korea helped Iran establish a missile assembly facility and provided the required technical documentation for future production. Key engineers and military personnel were exchanged on a regular basis, and missile cooperation continues today. If the six-party agreement falls through, Iran could help finance an expanded North Korean nuclear weapons program. Siegfried S. Hecker is co-director of Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation. He was director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1986 to 1997. William Liou is a technical staff member at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (Arms Control Today)
  • Judge Rejects Request for Secret Trial in AIPAC Case - Matthew Barakat
    A federal judge on Monday rejected prosecutors' request to close portions of an upcoming trial for two former pro-Israel lobbyists accused of violating the Espionage Act. The government's proposal to keep huge swaths of evidence in the case out of public view was unprecedented and violated both the defendants' and the public's right to an open trial, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis said. (AP/Forbes)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Syria Threatens to "Liberate Golan Heights" - Roee Nahmias
    "If Israel rejects the Arab League peace proposal, resistance will be the only way to liberate the Golan Heights," Syrian Information Minister Muhsen Bilal said in Damascus Monday. Bilal also referred to Syrian-American Ibrahim Soliman's visit to Israel, saying, "Nobody elected Soliman to represent Syria. He does not speak for any Syrian institute." (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Terrorists Injure Three in West Bank Shooting Attack - Lilach Shoval
    Three people were injured when Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a car entering Naaleh in the West Bank, not far from Modi'in, the police said. (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Calls for More Kidnappings of Israeli Soldiers
    A number of Palestinian factions, including Hamas, have called for more Israeli soldiers to be captured in order to ensure Palestinian prisoners are released in exchange. In a statement, Hamas urged the armed brigades of Fatah, the Popular Resistance Committees, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and others to work together to capture more Israeli soldiers. (Maan News-PA)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket toward Israel's western Negev Monday night, Israel Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Renewed Negotiations with Syria: Currently Not in Israel's Interest - Giora Eiland
    There are five reasons why Israel should not engage now in negotiations with Syria over a peace treaty similar to the one discussed seven years ago. A treaty with Syria will not remove the Iranian threat. Nor will it solve the Palestinian problem or the problem of Lebanon and Hizbullah. Peace with Syria will not lead to any comprehensive agreement vis-a-vis Israel's relations with the Arab world. Nor would an agreement solve the problem of Israel's standing in the world.
        In addition, the U.S. has no interest in encouraging a peace treaty between Israel and Syria. The potential stability of such an agreement is another issue since Syria is a country ruled by the minority Alawi sect. There is no guarantee that a Sunni government of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria would honor such a peace treaty. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland is former head of Israel's National Security Council. (Strategic Assessment-Tel Aviv University)
  • German for Chutzpah - David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey
    Germany has become one of the world's most vocal champions of both international legal institutions and "universal jurisdiction" (under which one state claims the right to prosecute foreign officials and nationals for alleged "international" offenses). Germany is a particularly enthusiastic proponent of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), and has declared ICC "universality" to be one of its pre-eminent foreign policy goals. Yet Berlin has little problem "engaging" the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a true Holocaust denier who has pointedly threatened a renewed genocide against Israel. (Wall Street Journal, 16Apr07)
  • Hizbullah, the War on Terror, and the War in Iraq - Ely Karmon
    In light of Hizbullah's potentially destructive influence in the region, it is imperative that the U.S. and the international community take the necessary measures to curtail the organization's international terrorist activity. These measures include isolating Hizbullah at the international level; maintaining relentless diplomatic and economic pressure on Syria and Iran; making the Hizbullah issue the first priority in U.S. communication with Damascus; and applying diplomatic and, in particular, economic pressure to convince Lebanon to curb Hizbullah's military presence. (Institute for Counter-Terrorism-IDC Herzliyia)
  • Observations:

    Palestinians and the "Right of Return" - Alan Dershowitz (Christian Science Monitor)

    • Among the major barriers to peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis is the so-called right of return. In its broadest formulation, this "right" belongs to some 4 million alleged descendants of the 700,000 or so Palestinian Arabs who left what is now Israel as the result of the war that began when Israel declared statehood in 1948.
    • Israelis insist that the Palestinian "Nakba" - catastrophe - was self-inflicted. By attacking Israel in a genocidal attempt to push the Jews into the sea, the combined Arab armies created the refugee problem. Israel insists that many Palestinians left of their own volition or at the behest of Arab leaders who promised that the Palestinians would return triumphantly after Israel was defeated.
    • The millions of other refugees who were forced to leave their homes in the decades following World War II - the Sudeten-Germans, the Greeks and Turks, Pakistanis and Indians, and the 700,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries - have all been integrated and normalized. Only the Palestinian refugees have been kept in camps by their Arab hosts.
    • In 1949, Egypt's foreign minister candidly acknowledged: "It is well known and understood that the Arabs, in demanding the return of the refugees to Palestine, mean their return as masters....They intend to annihilate the State of Israel."

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