Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Pakistani Scientist A.Q. Khan Aided Iran,
His Nuclear-Secrets Network May Still Be Active - David Montero (Christian Science Monitor)
- May 3, 2007
Issue of the Week:
Fatah's Armed Wing Threatens to Hit Targets Outside Territories Unless Economic Embargo Is Lifted - Rami Almeghari (IMEMC-PA)
Pro-Hamas Newspaper Launched in Gaza - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters)
A Rising Tide of Fury - Tony Blankley (Washington Times)
Berber Leader: "There Is No Worse Colonialism Than That of the Pan-Arabists" (MEMRI)
Iran Defends Plan to Expel One Million Afghans (Reuters/Scotsman-UK)
Israel May Buy Palestinian Gas from Gaza (Middle East Times-Egypt)
Microsoft Plans to Invest $100M in Israel - Matthew Krieger (Jerusalem Post)
Healthier Coke Only in Israel - Navit Zomer (Ynet News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met on Thursday with Syria's foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, in the first high-level diplomatic contact between Washington and Damascus in more than two years. The 30-minute meeting came in the middle of two days of international talks on Iraq at Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt. Rice asked that Syria, with its porous border with Iraq, do more to restrict the flow of foreign fighters. Rice characterized her meeting with Moallem as "professional," adding, "I didn't lecture him, and he didn't lecture me." (New York Times)
See also Iranian Minister Avoids Dinner with Secretary of State Rice
Iran's foreign minister abruptly left a dinner where he was to sit opposite U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, complaining that a red dress worn by an entertainer was too revealing, a U.S. official said on Friday. Expectations had been high that Rice might use a dinner held on the sidelines of an Iraq conference in Egypt on Thursday to get to know Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, but instead the foreign minister left as guests were being seated. "I am not sure which woman he was afraid of, the woman in the red dress or the secretary of state," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. (Reuters)
Attacks in Iraq involving lethal weapons that U.S. officials say are made in Iran hit a record high last month. The number of attacks with armor-piercing weapons known as explosively formed projectiles rose to 65 in April, said Lt.-Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who oversees day-to-day U.S. military operations in Iraq. The growing use of the projectiles is a major concern for American commanders because the weapons are powerful enough to punch through the heaviest U.S. armored vehicles, including the Abrams tank. To function correctly, the projectiles require components with sophisticated machining that often come from Iran, according to U.S. military officials. (Washington Post)
Saudi Arabia and Egypt are putting the final touches to an ambitious project to span the Gulf of Aqaba, creating a direct link between Africa and Arabia. King Abdullah, the Saudi monarch, is expected to lay the foundation stone for the causeway when he visits the northern province of Tabuk next week. The project would involve the construction of two bridges across the Tiran Strait spanning a total distance of about 15 miles (25km) and could be completed by 2012.
The bridge would cut across a busy channel through which commercial shipping passes to Eilat, in Israel, and Aqaba, in Jordan. Israel may have strong objections to the causeway if it were not satisfied that the security of its ships could be guaranteed. Attempts by Egypt to ban Israeli shipping from the Gulf of Aqaba were one of the reasons for the outbreak of the Six-Day War forty years ago. (Times-UK)
A federal judge rebuked intelligence agencies Wednesday for delaying the classified information trial against two former AIPAC staffers for nearly two years. "These people have sat around indicted for years. They are entitled to a trial," Judge T.S. Ellis III told Thomas Reilly, the prosecution lawyer who represents the intelligence agencies. "You need to get with it now." Ellis was reacting to Reilly's request for another postponement. The judge set a May 21 deadline. (JTA)
Ohio can make a splash in international politics if it agrees to divest itself of dealings with companies that do business with Iran, former CIA Director James Woolsey said Thursday as he testified on behalf of a bill that would strip Ohio's public investments from international companies doing business with Iran. "It's important because [Ohio] is populous and a swing state in presidential elections," Woolsey said after testifying before the House Financial Institutions, Real Estate and Securities Committee.
The bill sponsored by Reps. Josh Mandel of suburban Cleveland and Shannon Jones of Springboro would require the state's five public pension funds to dump investments in companies that do business with Iran. Whatever Iran "decides to do by way of talking with the United States or not talking with the United States, this genocidal talk and terrorist support is just unacceptable," Woolsey said. (AP/Akron Beacon Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Egypt has expressed newfound interest in allowing Israel to construct a moat along the Philadelphi Route separating Sinai from Gaza to combat Palestinian weapons smuggling, say senior Israeli defense officials. Last month, the head of the IDF Planning Branch, Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan, traveled to Egypt for talks with security officials there about areas of cooperation. Nehushtan raised the possibility of the moat with the Egyptians and was told that they would consider it positively. (Jerusalem Post)
Dr. Ahmad Mali, a member of Hizbullah's political council, said Thursday that former Israeli Arab MK Azmi Bishara would be welcome in Lebanon. Bishara left Israel for a tour of Arab countries three weeks ago and submitted his resignation from the Knesset at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Israel has accused Bishara of receiving large sums of money from a foreign agent for transferring intelligence and giving strategic advice to Hizbullah. (Ynet News)
The extermination of Jews is Allah's will and is for the benefit of all humanity, according to the Hamas paper Al-Risalah of April 23. Kan'an Ubayd explains that the suicide operations carried out by Hamas are committed solely to fulfill Allah's wishes. Furthermore, Allah demanded this action because "the extermination of the Jews is good for the inhabitants of the world." It should be noted that Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf: "When I defend myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." (Palestinian Media Watch)
NATO is financing research at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa on protecting water supply systems against biological and chemical terrorism. Prof. Israel Schechter of the Faculty of Chemistry said: "In the wake of the discovery of al-Qaeda documents and plans in Afghanistan, the FBI was alerted that the organization was planning a terror attack on water sources. It became apparent that water distribution systems in the U.S., Israel, and the rest of the world's developed nations are totally exposed."
Previously, chemical attacks on water supplies were considered very difficult to carry out because the contaminants would be quickly diluted. However Schechter identified a way in which a handful of a certain type of poison could be put into water sources and cause mass fatalities despite the dilution factor. He then began to develop a device to detect the chemical poisoning of water and neutralize it. (Jerusalem Post)
The An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), launched two 100mm mortars and two rockets at Nahal Oz, east of Gaza, on Thursday at dawn. The Al-Aqsa Brigades of Fatah claimed responsibility on Wednesday for launching two 80mm mortars at Kfar Aza, also east of Gaza. (Maan News-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Up to now, the Syrians have successfully pushed their allies in Beirut to block creation of a tribunal to deal with the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. However, UN officials and the five permanent members of the Security Council have indicated that if this continues, the tribunal will be set up under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Even Russia has said it would not veto this. Syria is continuing to supply weapons to Hizbullah, in breach of Security Council Resolution 1701, and it still refuses to recognize Lebanese sovereignty, establish an embassy in Beirut, or delineate borders with its neighbor.
Three conditions must govern any contact with the Assad regime: First, Syria must prove it accepts the Hariri tribunal by discontinuing efforts to thwart its endorsement in Lebanon. Second, Syria must respect UN resolutions on Lebanon, and end its destabilization efforts and the arming of Hizbullah and other groups. Third, Damascus must formally accept Lebanese sovereignty and agree to the opening of embassies and a delineation of the border with Lebanon. (Wall Street Journal)
See also UN to Weigh Lebanon Options - Patrick Worsnip (Reuters)
Q: Hasn't Hizbullah emerged strengthened as a result of the war in Lebanon last summer?
Taheri: No, it has been destroyed. Israel won the war against Hizbullah. As long as Hizbullah controlled southern Lebanon, it could exert "proximity pressure" on Israel. That situation has changed; that status quo no longer exists. That Hizbullah tried to camouflage its defeat by provoking a political crisis in Lebanon is also an indication of its understanding that the situation has changed. It may become stronger in the future, but the Israelis killed 637 Hizbullah warriors out of a full-time fighting force of about 2,000 - about a quarter of its fighters. It also lost literally all of its missile launching pads in the south, many missiles and arsenals. In other words, it lost manpower, territory, and weaponry.
Altogether, Hizbullah is in a very dangerous situation because it found out that Iran does not want allies; it wants agents. Suddenly, Hizbullah is so tied to the Islamic Republic that it has lost its maneuverability.
Q: How dangerous is Ahmadinejad?
Taheri: He is dangerous because he controls the resources of a major and powerful state.
Q: Isn't Khamenei the one calling the shots?
Taheri: It doesn't work this way - with Ahmadinejad saying, "Let's go to war," and Khamenei saying, "No." Prudence dictates taking Ahmadinejad seriously and assuming that he has the power - even if he doesn't. It's like when Hitler came to power, and the British and the French said, "But there's still [president Paul von] Hindenburg."
Amir Taheri is former editor-in-chief of Kayhan, Iran's main daily newspaper. (Jerusalem Post)
A new sense of Arab empowerment could shift the political and strategic balance in the region by reshaping alliances in such a way as to demonstrate to the U.S. that it is not the reigning regional power with Israel as proxy pro-consul. As the U.S. defeat in Iraq undermines its global influence, Iran's rising power will not be stymied by U.S. threats. Despite all U.S.-Israeli attempts to provoke a Shia-Sunni war, an Iranian-Arab alliance is the Middle East's last and best hope for balanced security, regional stability, and the elimination of foreign hegemony. The writer, a former correspondent for Al-Ahram in Washington, D.C., also served as director of UN Radio and Television in New York. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
In Zarqa, Jordan, Abu Ibrahim considers his dead friends the lucky ones. Four died in Iraq in 2005. Three more died this year, one with an explosives vest and another at the wheel of a bomb-laden truck. Abu Ibrahim, 24, was on the same mission when he was arrested at the border. Back home, he's biding his time, he said, for another chance to hurl himself into martyrdom. Zarqa, home of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq who was killed last summer, is known as a cradle of Islamic militancy. (New York Times)
Since the war in Lebanon last summer, media in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have reported that Sunnis, taken with Hizbullah's charismatic Shiite leader Hassan Nasrallah and his group's "resistance" to Israel, were converting to Shiite Islam. When I recently visited eastern Syria, Sunni tribal leaders whispered stories of Iranians roaming the Syrian countryside handing out bags of cash and macaroni to convert families and even entire villages to Shiite Islam.
Over the last five years, Iranian donors have financed the restoration of half a dozen Shiite tombs and shrines in Syria and built a Shiite religious school near Damascus named after Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Iran and the Shiite militias it supports in Iraq sponsor a number of Arabic-language Internet portals as well as satellite TV stations broadcasting Shiite religious programming into Syria. (New York Times)
A crucial element of Israel's success is the unifying factor among its immigrants. What binds them is being Jewish. Such a bond is lacking in the Netherlands, where the immigrants' background is diverse and also differs greatly from that of the Netherlands, including religion. In socialist eyes, whoever is not white or Western is a victim and this includes Muslims, Palestinians and immigrants. These people, however, are responsible for their acts like anybody else.
There are many cases of extreme racism perpetrated by the minorities in the Netherlands, including a number of honor killings. Those who propagate the image of the Netherlands as a tolerant country do not understand the difference between being tolerant and tolerating intolerance. The crisis of Dutch socialism can be sized up in its attitudes toward both Islam and Israel. It holds Israel to exceptionally high moral standards. The standards for judging the Palestinians, however, are very low. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Abdel Moneim Mahmoud is a technologically savvy member of Egypt's main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood. Mahmoud and other like-minded 20-somethings have been pushing the Brotherhood to focusing on the Internet to recruit young Egyptians and to build alliances with secular activists in the fight for reform. The journalist and human rights lawyer is spreading the word on his Arab-language blog, "I am a Brother." But while attracting new interest in the Brotherhood, he's drawn the attention of security services, too. Mahmoud now languishes in Egypt's feared Tora prison, though he has not yet been charged with any crime. (Christian Science Monitor)
In Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life, Sari Nusseibeh misses no opportunity to denigrate and delegitimize Israel through sharp, short, often subtle yet always false readings of history. His text is marred by countless factual errors and inaccuracies that cast a serious doubt on the validity of his personal narrative, not to mention the wider historical and political picture he seeks to paint. The British foreign secretary who made the famous declaration (in November 1917) on "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" was Mr. Arthur James Balfour, not "Lord Alfred Balfour," and the declaration was made in a letter to Lord Rothschild, not to Chaim Weizmann.
If the Arabs reverted to violence, as they occasionally did, it was invariably the Jews' fault, according to Nusseibeh. The 1929 massacres, for example, in which 133 Jews were slaughtered by their Arab neighbors, and hundreds more were wounded, were but "a nasty backlash among Muslims" to Zionist nationalist aspirations regarding the Wailing Wall; just as Arafat's war of terror was a logical reaction to Ariel Sharon's short stroll along the Temple Mount. But then, why should Muslims act differently when Jews, who have no valid claim to Palestine, let alone to the Wailing Wall - "a most likely candidate for being the wall of a fortress built for Roman legions" - make outrageous demands on this holy Muslim site. (New York Sun)
Amia Lieblich, a professor emeritus of psychology at Hebrew University, tells the story of The Children of Kfar Etzion. During the War of Independence in 1948, Kibbutz Kfar Etzion's male population was killed almost in its entirety by the Jordanian Legion. Many of the men were slaughtered after they had surrendered. Since most of the children and all of the women had been evacuated from the kibbutz some months earlier, the tragedy of Kfar Etzion is also one of several dozen people whom the massacre turned into widows and orphans. Lieblich describes the annual memorial services and the observation, from a distance, of the village's lone oak tree, a focal point of longing. The book's second part is devoted to the great drama of the kibbutz's resettlement after the Six-Day War. Ten of the children of Kfar Etzion now live in the renewed kibbutz, and several others live nearby. (Ha'aretz)
When Mark Twain visited Israel in 1867, he wrote, "We hardly saw a tree anywhere." "Making the desert bloom" has been a core component of the Zionist ethos throughout the decades. Today, what was once desert is now forest. Over 150 researchers and foresters from around the world convened in Jerusalem last month to learn Israel's techniques for making the desert recede. The secret to Israel's success, said Dr. Nir Atzmon of Israel's Volcani Center, is that there is no alternative. "We are a small country. We don't have much land...so we should take very good care of it." (Israel 21C/Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Arabian Delusions - Zalman Shoval (Washington Times)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert