Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Congressional Hearing Shows Israel at Crux of Missile Defense Plan - Ron Kampeas (JTA) Little Arab Pressure Over Darfur - Sebastian Abbot (AP/Washington Post) Video: FBI Reconstructs "Shoe-Bomber's" Bomb and Shows Its Lethality (YouTube) Pups for Peace Aim to Be "First Preventers" - Josh Richman (Inside Bay Area)
Congressional Hearing Shows Israel at Crux of Missile Defense Plan - Ron Kampeas (JTA)
Little Arab Pressure Over Darfur - Sebastian Abbot (AP/Washington Post)
Video: FBI Reconstructs "Shoe-Bomber's" Bomb and Shows Its Lethality (YouTube)
Pups for Peace Aim to Be "First Preventers" - Josh Richman (Inside Bay Area)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
Illegal arms traffic into Lebanon across the Syrian border, mainly to Hizbullah fighters, is reported to be taking place on a regular basis, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday. In a report to the U.N. Security Council, Ban said news of arms shipments, including "detailed and substantial" reports from Israel, and other nations, showed the need for a team he was sending to propose ways of monitoring of the border.
"Such transfers are alleged to be taking place on a regular basis," Ban wrote. "I am deeply worried that the political crisis in Lebanon may be deepened and exacerbated" by arms smuggling. He also said that there was a growing threat from armed "extremist Islamist groups" who have found safe haven in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. (Reuters)
"A new intifada is not a mere prediction," Meshal said. "I estimate it will be a reality in the future — if we base our analysis on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict during the past years, and consider the difficult and escalating conditions on the ground. What does the world expect from the Palestinian people if the current conditions continue, if the economic siege continues, even after we formed the national unity government?" (Newsweek)
The Hebrew University announced Monday night that it has uncovered the grave and tomb of King Herod, who ruled Judea for the Roman empire from circa 37 BCE. The tomb was discovered by Hebrew University Professor Ehud Netzer, who is considered one of the leading experts on King Herod. Herodium, a fortified palace built by Herod some 12 kilometers south of Jerusalem, was destroyed by the Romans in 71 CE. Herod is credited with expanding the Second Temple and building Caesarea, Masada, and many other monumental construction projects. (Ha'aretz)
The United States has presented Israel and the Palestinians with a new plan for enhanced security, movement and access -- but if initial reactions are any indication, its fate might be no better than previous, never-implemented plans. The plan was drawn up by U.S. Security Coordinator Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton and discussed in weekly meetings with the parties. It was presented a fortnight ago.
Its text has two essential elements, one of which is to improve Palestinian movement and access. It talks of easing Israeli restrictions on movement in the West Bank, especially in the Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus and Jordan Valley areas. No later than July 1 there should be five bus convoys a week linking the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
The second major element concerns security. Palestinian security forces should actively enforce law and order and fight terrorism, the plan says. By June 21 the Palestinian president should deploy forces to stop Qassam rocket attacks into Israel.
A senior Israeli defense official indicated the defense establishment did not want to open a corridor between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. "There is a mess and chaos in Gaza. Why bring it to the West Bank?" he asked. The Gazans are more prone to violence, the situation in the West Bank is already "problematic ... delicate," and if Gazans reach the West Bank "within a week there will be terrorist attacks here."
Hamas' spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, minced no words about the Dayton plan. "The American plan is rejected and we will work to make it fail by any means," he declared. Even if Hamas were to cooperate, it would be a long time before the authorities could end the chaotic security situation where clans and factions seem armed to the teeth. (UPI)
Following the Second Lebanon War and the country's poor showing in the fight against Hizbullah, Israeli defense officials have pointed to an increase in chances for war with Syria, referring to the double-tongued Assad as someone who extends his hand in peace while simultaneously threatening the use of force to win back the Golan.
While Damascus has made several clear and repeated overtures to engage the Israelis in peace talks, on the other side of the border a cacophony of assessments and opinions within the Israeli intelligence community has created confusion as to the authenticity of the Syrian proposals.
On Monday, head of the National Security Council Ilan Mizrachi expressed to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that he believed the overtures were authentic, contradicting an assessment voiced at the same committee by Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who said Assad should not be taken seriously. Dagan and other defense officials believe that Syria is actually preparing for war with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
Last week's Winograd Commission report on the war provides a window into what may be an increasingly insurmountable task facing modern democracies: winning war, regardless of military superiority. Both Israel and the United States are face to face with religious militants and insurgency groups – organizations that are committed to an idea but not necessarily a country or its leadership. From Hizbullah in Lebanon to Al Qaeda in Iraq and around the world, victory is in the eyes of the beholder.
Each group has the Internet at its fingertips and an increasingly sophisticated public-relations machine to strike at the home front, from Hizbullah's slick marketing proclaiming "Divine Victory" after the Lebanon war to Al Qaeda's professional video-distribution network. The traditional scorecards used to tally winners and losers, experts say, were designed for a battlefield that is fading into obsolescence. (Christian Science Monitor)
Strategic Lessons of the Winograd Commission Report - Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Implications for the Gaza Strip
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