Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Israeli Soldier's Kidnappers on PA Payroll - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Libya Backs Out of Deal with U.S. to Destroy Chemical Weapons - Carol Giacomo (Reuters)
Israel Launches Spy Satellite - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
Israel Air Force Holds Joint Exercise with U.S. Pilots (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
Fatah Man Pushed Off Roof in Gaza - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
New Online Resource: The Six-Day War - Causes and Consequences (CAMERA)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Palestinian gunmen from Gaza, using an armored vehicle labeled "TV," crashed through the Gaza-Israel border fence at Kissufim crossing on Saturday. One of the Palestinian gunmen was shot dead in a gun battle with Israeli soldiers. A spokesman for Islamic Jihad, Abu Ahmed, said three of the four gunmen had returned to Gaza, and the intention had been to try to capture an Israeli soldier. (New York Times)
See also Palestinians Blasted for Media Disguise - Matti Friedman
Journalists on Sunday condemned Palestinian militants for using a television truck to disguise their assault on an Israeli military position, saying the new tactic would make their jobs significantly more dangerous. In Saturday's attack, four gunmen drove a white jeep with press markings in English and Arabic to a fence on the Gaza-Israel border, then broke through on foot and attacked a guard tower in a failed attempt to capture a soldier. Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Ahmad denied the group had put the press markings on the jeep, but AP photos clearly show the markings on the jeep when the attack was underway. (AP/Guardian-UK)
Iran has threatened to launch a missile blitz against the Gulf states and plunge the entire Middle East into war if America attacks its nuclear facilities. Admiral Ali Shamkhani, a senior defense adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned that Gulf states providing the U.S. with military cooperation would be the key targets of a barrage of ballistic missiles. Shamkhani told the U.S. journal Defense News that missiles would be launched not only at U.S. military bases but also at strategic targets such as oil refineries and power stations. The attacks on Arab states would be in addition to airstrikes on Israel, which have been threatened repeatedly. (Sunday Times-UK)
The UN Security Council refused to approve a statement Friday that would condemn remarks about Israel's impending destruction attributed to Iran's hard-line president because of objections from Indonesia, council diplomats said. France's UN Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, who called for condemnation of the remarks attributed to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said: "At stake is...a real question of principle. When the president of a country talks about the destruction of another country, a member of the United Nations, this is a serious issue."
"A statement by a head of state calling for or implying the destruction of a member state of the United Nations is as a matter of principle unacceptable, and this is a threat to international peace and security," said U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. (AP/Washington Post)
Florida became the first state in the nation Friday to have a law that its pension fund dollars cannot be invested in any companies doing business with Iran's energy sector and Sudan. "This is what's right for America, it's right for the world," said Gov. Charlie Crist. "It says [to] Iran, the world's leading sponsor of terror, we will not stand idly by anymore. And to Sudan and the genocide that is occurring there, we will not stand idly by and let that happen anymore." About $1 billion of Florida state money is currently invested with companies that do business with Sudan and Iran's energy sector, said state Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, the bill's sponsor. (AP/Houston Chronicle)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, in Washington last week at the head of an Israeli team conducting a strategic dialogue with the U.S., said one of the topics under discussion is UN Resolution 1701 which ended the Second Lebanon War. "There is no implementation of 1701, and today Hizbullah is back to the strength it was at before July 12, 2006. It is not back in its positions right along the border but it is in positions - forest preserve areas - that are close to the border. They have not fulfilled the resolution. The kidnapped soldiers have not been returned; Hizbullah has not been disarmed and dismantled by the Lebanese armed forces or UNIFIL; there is no embargo on the Lebanese-Syrian border; and there is a free flow of weapons to the Hizbullah." "Now, not only are [Hizbullah] still in southern Lebanon, but they are also building a second military line north of the Litani River. Today they have a double grip - both sides of the Litani."
"There is linkage between the radical quartet - led by Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. Non-government groups like al-Qaeda are also growing stronger. We have been talking for three to four years about al-Qaeda trying to get a foothold in the Middle East, and there have been attempts to infiltrate Israel." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Hizbullah "Has Stockpiled Rockets" on Israeli Border - Uzi Mahnaimi
Hizbullah has built a network of underground military bunkers under the feet of UN peacekeeping forces in southern Lebanon close to Israel's border. It has rebuilt its fighting capability and Israeli intelligence now estimates that it has stockpiled 20,000 rockets. "Since the Israeli forces left, Hizbullah has been building formidable military underground posts under the noses of the UN," said an Israeli intelligence officer. (Sunday Times-UK)
Vice Premier Shimon Peres on Sunday played down prospects for relaunching peace negotiations with Syria, saying that the Damascus regime is not ready for direct talks. Peres said: "The problem is the Syrians are not ready and are unwilling to negotiate directly with Israel. They want to do it through the United States. The United States said: 'Gentlemen, if you want to negotiate, you have to stop being a supporter of terror and you have to stop supporting...the toppling down of the prime minister of Lebanon - stop supporting the Hizbullah.' And there is where it is stuck for the time being."
Prime Minister Olmert transmitted a message through a Turkish third party and another individual in April to Syrian President Assad, in which he asked if Syria would agree to end its alliance with Iran, Hizbullah and extremist Palestinian organizations in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights. A source in Olmert's bureau said Assad's lack of response showed Syria was not serious. (Ha'aretz)
A harsh controversy between the Israeli and U.S. defense establishments has been transpiring over the U.S. decision to supply Saudi Arabia with smart satellite-guided bombs. The supply of these weapons to Saudi Arabia is being defined by the Israeli security establishment as "a real blow to Israel's qualitative military edge in the Middle East." Israel argues that there is an American commitment to safeguard that qualitative edge. Israeli involvement in developing the future Joint Strike Fighter with the U.S. is being held up because of Israeli objections to the smart bomb sale to the Saudis. Israeli officials argue that the weaponry being transferred to the Saudis could last decades and that the Saudi regime is not stable. They add that al-Qaeda has already penetrated the Saudi defense establishment. (Maariv-Hebrew, 11Jun07)
Palestinian gunmen fired six Kassam rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot and other western Negev communities on Monday morning. The rockets were launched while children were making their way to schools and kindergartens. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Now 40 years after Israel's stunning victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, the Israelis are still ringed by enemies but with even more menace. Radical Islamic forces and a global jihadist movement offer no room for compromise. The Arab state media fester with anti-Semitic hate. And looming over all this is a radicalized Iran striving to build nuclear missiles - an Iran that is now the single greatest threat to world peace. At the very heart of the impasse, then and now, is the Arab refusal to accept Israel's existence. Peace would not come even if Israel pulled out of every bit of land defensively captured in 1967. Look what happened when Israel turned over Gaza. The Palestinians turned Gaza into a launching ground for rockets and suicide terrorists, and then elected those terrorists in the form of Hamas. Hamas does not want peace, and Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO leader, cannot deliver it. (U.S. News)
The government of Iranian President Ahmadinejad is in the midst of one of the most intensive crackdowns on domestic dissent in the last two decades, targeting banks and labor unions, students, and civic organizations. Iranian news outlets have been issued a three-page letter from the Supreme National Security Council listing forbidden topics. Barred subjects include the enforcement of Islamic restrictions on dress, the effect of UN sanctions on everyday life, international sanctions on Iranian banks, and travel bans on Iranian nuclear and military officials. Also on the do-not-publish list are stories about tensions between Iran's Shiites and Sunnis, ethnic clashes in the provinces, and strained relations between Iran and other Muslim countries worried about Tehran's regional ambitions.
The bureau chief of one Western news organization in Tehran likened present-day Iran to the former Soviet Union. "There are many things that I would like to write about, but can't," the journalist said. "They would shut down our office and kick us out." (Los Angeles Times)
It's Time to End the Vilification of Israel - Howard Jacobson (Independent-UK)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert