Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Egyptian Policemen at Gaza Border Are Elite Commandos - Herb Keinon and Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
U.S. Investment in Fatah Forces Likely to Go Down the Drain - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Three Islamic Jihad Terrorists Killed in Gaza "Work Accident" (Reuters)
Understanding the Palestinian Infighting - Daoud Kuttab (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Khaled Mashal, the political leader of Hamas, speaking in Damascus Tuesday, insisted attacks on Israel will continue despite Israeli retaliation. Hamas has been the main force behind more than 250 Kassam rockets fired at southern Israel from Gaza in the past two weeks, killing two civilians. Mashal rejected demands by the Quartet that Hamas accept three conditions - recognition of Israel, an end to violence, and acceptance of previous peace agreements with Israel.
Mashal is described by Western sources as the channel for Iranian financial support for Hamas. The U.S. has pressed Syria to close down Hamas' Damascus offices but Syria insists it will not. Contemplating the forthcoming 40th anniversary of the June 1967 Middle East war, Mashal underlined his view that armed resistance will eventually succeed. (Guardian-UK)
The U.S. and its European allies, acting despite opposition from Russia, scheduled a vote for Wednesday on a binding Security Council resolution establishing an international court to try those suspected of killing Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister. Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador, said he believed that the Western powers had the nine votes necessary for passage, and Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador, outlined his country's opposition in a way that seemed to presage an abstention rather than a veto. The resolution is being proposed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, making it mandatory and subject to enforcement. (New York Times)
Al-Qaeda has rapidly extended its influence across North Africa by aiding and organizing local groups that are demonstrating a renewed ability to launch terrorist attacks in the region. The bombers who struck the Government Palace and a police station in Algiers last month, killing 33 people, are believed to have been local residents. But Algerian authorities are examining evidence that the bombers were siphoned from recruiting pipelines that have sent hundreds of North African fighters to Iraq and perhaps were trained by veterans of the Iraqi insurgency.
"Al-Qaeda's presence in North Africa is a reality," said Baltasar Garzon, a senior Spanish magistrate. "It's an ideal base from which to engage in actions against Europe....Moving their next phase of action to Europe, I think, is just a matter of time." (Washington Post)
See also Spain Arrests 16 Over Recruiting Islamist Fighters - Ben Harding
Spain said on Monday it had arrested 14 Moroccans and two Algerians suspected of recruiting Islamist fighters for Iraq and North Africa. (Reuters/Washington Post)
See also Al-Qaeda Video Threatens Attacks on U.S. - Anna Johnson
Wearing a white robe and a turban, Adam Yehiye Gadahn, an American member of al-Qaeda who has been charged with treason, warned President Bush on Tuesday to end U.S. involvement in all Muslim lands or face an attack worse than the Sept. 11 suicide assault, according to a new videotape. Gadahn demanded that Bush remove all U.S. military and spies from Islamic countries, free all Muslims from U.S. prisons, and end support for Israel. He said a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq alone would not satisfy al-Qaeda. (AP/Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The Israel Air Force killed two Hamas men early Wednesday in a strike on a group of gunners firing rockets at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip. Hamas radio said the men belonged to its military wing. "Hamas exploits every calm and quiet period to build itself up and prepare for future attacks. We cannot allow this," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday. (Ha'aretz)
The refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel's basic right to exist as an independent Jewish state is the main obstacle to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya'alon said Monday. "Today, I do not see the possibility of being able to settle the conflict without defeating the regimes and terrorist organizations that still hold the idea of destroying Israel," Ya'alon said at a briefing sponsored by Jerusalem's Shalem Center marking 40 years since the Six-Day War.
"Until 1995, I thought we might have a Palestinian partner to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on a two-state solution, but I do not think this way anymore, based on the experience of the last decade," he said. "The way to defeat global terrorism is not by solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but by defeating jihadist regimes and their organizations by all means, including political and economic," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas TV continues to promote martyrdom for children. A new video clip, broadcast Sunday, follows a young Palestinian boy who matures into a Hamas fighter against Israel and eventually dies as a martyr, while a choir sings, "The pure blood will produce honor and glory." (Palestinian Media Watch)
View Child Terrorist Video (Palestinian Media Watch)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Iran's economy is so damaged that it is impossible to tell how bad things are. Iranian dissidents put overall unemployment at 30% and youth unemployment at 50%. Government subsidies sustain a very large portion of the population; 42% of the non-agricultural population is employed by the Iranian state, compared with 17% in Pakistan. The present inflation rate of about 20%, driven by a 40% rate of monetary expansion, suggests that government resources are already exhausted. Governments resort to the printing press when they no longer can raise sufficient funds.
Ahmadinejad last week reduced private and state bank lending rates to 12% from 14%, that is, 5-10 percentage points below the rate of inflation. If Ahmadinejad were in the pay of a hostile intelligence service, he could not have found a more effective way to sabotage Iran's economy by augmenting the incentives for capital flight. (Asia Times-Hong Kong)
Britain has become in recent years the battlefield in Israel's fight for its existence as a Jewish state. The number of British organizations calling for the boycott of Israel, their public campaigns, and their constant comparisons between Israel and the apartheid regime of South Africa have made the battle for British public opinion particularly significant. In the face of boycott proposals by Britain's National Union of Journalists, by a group of British doctors and a group of architects, and in the wake of the Anglican Church's decision to divest from companies cooperating with Israel, even the Israeli left has no choice but to fight back.
Taking off the gloves in this debate involves knowingly foregoing the kudos that British academia lavishes on all who are willing to express anti-Israel stands. The British University and College Union has even had the temerity to proclaim that Israeli lecturers who disown the policies of the Israeli government will not be boycotted. It is British academics who should lose sleep over this McCarthyistic demand. Academic freedom means first of all an open exchange of opinions, without coercion, and not shutting people's mouths. (Ha'aretz)
See also British Academic Union Set to Vote on Boycotting Israel - Jon Boone (Financial Times-UK)
See also Israeli Foreign Minister Meets with British Ambassador Over UK Boycotts - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
The Economist Is Wrong - Sever Plocker (Ynet News)
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