Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hamas, Al-Qaeda Cooperating - Jonathan D. Halevi (News First Class-Hebrew)
Israel Campus Beat
- May 13, 2007
Should Israel Begin Talks with Syria?
Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah:
"We Can Fire 3,000 Rockets a Day" - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
Mubarak Rejects Bridge from Sinai to Saudi Arabia (AP/Jerusalem Post)
Hamas' Giant Anti-Israel Mouse Back on the Air (Chicago Tribune)
Yemen Recalls Envoys from Iran, Libya over Rebels ((Reuters/Khaleej Times-UAE)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
A White House spokesman said Sunday that U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker will meet with Iranian counterparts in Baghdad to prod Tehran to play a "productive role in Iraq." "The president authorized this channel because we must take every step possible to stabilize Iraq and reduce the risk to our troops, even as our military continue to act against hostile Iranian-backed activity in Iraq," said Gordon D. Johndroe, the spokesman for the National Security Council.
The administration appears to have concluded that it is worth trying to see whether Iran can use its influence in Iraq to help curb violence and spur political reconciliation. Administration officials stressed that the talks would be limited to the security situation in Iraq and would not include negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, which are being handled by the UN and Europe. (Washington Post)
The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, one of the country's most powerful Shiite parties, announced Saturday that "revolution" would be dropped from its name and that Iran's top cleric would cease to be the party's dominant spiritual leader. It is unclear, however, if the platform changes will be more than just symbolic. The party's top officials, including its leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, lived in Iran for decades and still frequently return. (New York Times)
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed a law Friday requiring the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, the state's largest pension fund, to divest its holdings in companies doing in business in Sudan. The measure is designed to pressure Sudan into ending violence in its Darfur region. (AP/Houston Chronicle)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel's defense establishment says two articles of the Benchmarks Plan, presented to Israel and the PA by the U.S. administration, could lead to an increase in terror attacks. The two issues are the demand that all roadblocks be lifted across the West Bank, particularly in the Nablus area, and the demand for the resumption of "safe passage" for Palestinians between the West Bank and Gaza. Senior Shin Bet and IDF officers said that this would provide Palestinian militants with the opportunity to exploit the breaches to execute attacks inside the "green line."
Regarding the problem posed by Nablus, a senior IDF officer said the city was the center of terrorism in the West Bank, and this was the sole reason the city was under closure. Only the closures and continuous operations to arrest militants could prevent attacks against Israelis, he said. Overall, Israel is upset with the "patronizing tone" of the document, which Israeli officials consider to be a blatant interference in the country's security considerations. (Ha'aretz)
Ambassadors from the U.S. and the EU countries will not attend the celebrations Wednesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, the Israeli media reported Sunday. All of the embassies in Israel are based in Tel Aviv, and not Jerusalem, due to the disputed status of the capital. The entire city fell under Israeli control during the 1967 Six-Day War, an event marked annually by Jerusalem Day. (Ha'aretz)
French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy has reportedly selected Socialist Hubert Vedrine as his foreign minister. Vedrine served as foreign minister under Prime Minister Lionel Jospin during 1997-2002, in a term characterized as pro-Palestinian and pro-Arab. During the height of the Palestinian violence that began in September 2000, Vedrine advocated economic sanctions against Israel within the EU. The appointment seemed to fly in the face of expectations in Jerusalem that Sarkozy's election would usher in a significantly warmer period in Israeli-French ties. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinians in northern Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at the western Negev Sunday morning. (Ynet News)
See also Palestinian Rocket Explodes Near Strategic Facility in Ashkelon - Shmulik Hadad
A Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians from north Gaza on Friday exploded near a strategic facility in Ashkelon's industrial zone. Workers at the facility said that lately the rocket attacks had become more accurate and powerful. Sappers dispatched to the scene said the rockets were carrying higher-quality explosives. (Ynet News)
Four Palestinians were killed and 14 others wounded Sunday in the worst outbreak of factional violence in Gaza since Fatah and Hamas agreed to form a unity government in February. At least 14 people were abducted as well, a Hamas official said. (Ha'aretz)
See also Two Killed, 10 Wounded in Hamas-Fatah Fighting in Gaza Monday - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
See also Palestinian Interior Minister Resigns Amid Gaza Violence
Interior Minister Hani al-Qawasmeh on Monday resigned from the Palestinian unity government amid a dispute over security control following the deadliest factional violence in two months. (AFP)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Each time we Israelis hear the words "the problem of the 1948 refugees," our stomachs knot in anxiety and repudiation. For us, the "refugee problem" has become a synonym for the "right of return," and granting Palestinian refugees the right to return to their original homes means the end of Israel. Perhaps the time has come for us to put our thoughts in order - to make a distinction between the refugee problem and what is called the right of return. After all, the refugee problem can and must be solved, but not by returning the refugees to the territory of the State of Israel within its peace borders.
The demand that the refugees be returned to Israeli territory must be rejected, because if that were to happen, there would be two Palestinian states and no state at all for the Jewish people. But the problem of the 1948 refugees needs a remedy.
The 1948 war was a total war, village versus village, neighborhood versus neighborhood. In such wars, populations are uprooted. About a dozen Jewish towns and villages, among them the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City, were conquered in 1948 by the Arabs. The entire Jewish populations of these places were either murdered or forcibly expelled by the Arabs. A comprehensive solution will also need to address the fact that hundreds of thousands of Jews were uprooted from their homes in Arab countries. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
The first thing that attracted me to Martyn Burke's "Islam vs. Islamists" was that PBS had suppressed it. The network rejected Burke's documentary - produced with Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev for the network's "American Crossroads" series - on the film's completion. Burke's doc is a riveting and creatively made film about the most important subject of our time: What to do about radical Islam. It confronts this dilemma in a novel manner, interweaving the stories of good, moderate Muslims with the imams and supposedly "true Muslims" who, not surprisingly, accuse the moderate Muslims of not being Muslims at all. Soon enough we learn these imams are apologists for terrorism and for the worst kind of medieval religious sadism. The mostly mild-mannered moderate Muslims are shown to be at risk for their lives, some of them accompanied everywhere by bodyguards.
Our Public Broadcasting Service, an organization supported by taxpayer money, is practicing the most obvious censorship. PBS is operating here in the manner of similar institutions in the former Soviet Union and in modern Iran - financing artists and then withholding distribution of their work when it is not deemed ideologically "correct." The writer received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay of "Enemies, A Love Story." (New York Post)
The Role of Finance in Combating National Security Threats - Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert M. Kimmitt (U.S. Treasury Department)
See also Iranian Businessmen in Dubai Chafe Over U.S. Restrictions
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