Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


June 29, 2007

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Police Find Bomb in London, Launch Terrorism Probe - Guy Dresser and Avril Ormsby (Reuters)
    British police defused a bomb on Friday in a parked car in Haymarket, close to Piccadilly Circus, in an area packed with theatres, restaurants and pubs.
    Sky News quoted unidentified sources as saying the bomb was "potentially massive."
    A police officer said witnesses had seen the vehicle driving erratically before crashing into some bins outside a nightclub in the early hours of Friday. The driver got out and ran away, they said.

Israel HighWay
- June 28, 2007

Issue of the Week:
    Baseball in the Holy Land

UK Appoints New Foreign Secretary - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    David Miliband, 41, who is Jewish, was selected as foreign secretary on Thursday by new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
    According to press reports at the time, Miliband was critical in a cabinet meeting last July of Blair's refusal to denounce Israel for its actions during the Second Lebanon War.
    The BBC reported that Miliband's appointment could presage a shift "in British foreign policy to one in which criticism of the United States and Israel is not off the agenda - as it was under Tony Blair."
    On Thursday, former Prime Minister Blair said he will begin his new job as the Quartet's Middle East envoy immediately and will likely come to the region next month.
    Government officials in Jerusalem said they were content with Blair's mandate, which was essentially to engage in PA institution-building.
    The officials said they were satisfied that Blair's job was not defined as a mediator because Israel preferred to deal directly with the Palestinians.

Oxford Not Joining Boycott of Israeli Academia (Ha'aretz)
    Oxford University is not joining a boycott of Israeli universities and has announced that it "affirms its policy of maintaining open communications and professional links with universities everywhere in order best to support the upholding of the principle of academic freedom."
    On Sunday, Religious Intelligence reported that the Anglican Bishop of Chester had denounced the boycott call.
    Lady Deech, formerly the leader of St Anne's College at Oxford, told the House of Lords that the boycott amounted to anti-intellectual bigotry.

20 Beheaded Bodies Found in Iraq - Sinan Salaheddin (AP/ABC News)
    Twenty beheaded bodies were discovered Thursday in the Sunni Muslim village of Um al-Abeed, 14 miles southeast of Baghdad.
    The bodies - all men aged 20 to 40 - had their hands and legs bound, and some of the heads were found next to the bodies.

Saudi King Snubs Abbas (Al Jazeera-Qatar)
    Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah skipped a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas on a visit to Jordan.
    It was reported to be a deliberate and undiplomatic snub, with Abbas waiting at a palace room for a telephone call that never came.

In West Bank, Hamas Is Silent But Never Ignored - Ian Fisher (New York Times)
    No one, it seems, belongs to Hamas in the West Bank anymore. But in scores of interviews in the West Bank, Hamas remains a powerful presence.
    Hamas crushed Fatah politically last year, sweeping legislative elections in January 2006, partly because Fatah was perceived as corrupt and aloof.
    That reality, even many Fatah members complain, has changed little.

A Tense Quiet in Gaza - Ilene R. Prusher and Safwat al-Kahlout (Christian Science Monitor)
    Over and over again, one song is heard from radios everywhere on the only station in Gaza, Hamas' Al Aqsa Radio: "A Hamas fighter is not afraid of death. A Hamas fighter is for the sake of religion!"
    Gaza residents are enjoying visiting large swaths of beachfront that had once been closed off - taken over and "privatized" by Fatah kingpins.

Palestinians Fear Split Has Derailed Statehood Quest - Joel Greenberg (Chicago Tribune)
    The brief, brutal civil war that led to the Hamas takeover of Gaza has left Palestinians contemplating a political divide that threatens their goal of a state in the West Bank and Gaza.
    The two territories now resemble hostile states, with the green Hamas flags flying over captured security bases in Gaza and truckloads of gun-wielding Fatah security men tearing through the streets of Ramallah.
    Officials of a cabinet appointed by Abbas in the West Bank say they will work to ensure humanitarian aid to Gaza and make salary payments to government workers there.
    The government in the West Bank claims jurisdiction over Palestinians in Gaza as well, asserting that Gaza has come under the control of rebels who staged a coup.

Radical Outreach - Steve Emerson (National Review)
    President Bush spoke at Wednesday's rededication ceremony of the Saudi-funded Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.
    The 2005 Freedom House report on the Saudi-led radicalization of American mosques specifically identifies the Washington Islamic Center as a hotbed of hatred.
    In the past decade, I personally collected numerous copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion from the mosque.
    The Freedom House report chronicles the center's extremism: imams instructed their students to distance themselves from the West.

Dutch Government Subsidizes Anti-Israel NGO - Manfred Gerstenfeld (Jerusalem Post)
    In 2001 the Dutch Roman Catholic NGO Cordaid, which is subsidized by the Dutch government, was indirectly involved in financing the largest anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate campaign of the 21st century, the UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa.
    Recently it undertook another anti-Israel campaign jointly with Pax Christi, another pro-Palestinian Roman Catholic group.

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert - and want to share it with friends - please click "Forward" in your email program and enter their address.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Unrest Grows in Iran Amid Gas Rationing - Nazila Fathi and Jad Mouawad
    Unrest spread in Tehran on Thursday, the second day of gasoline rationing in oil-rich Iran, with drivers lining up for miles, gas stations being set on fire, and state-run banks and business centers coming under attack, with dozens arrested. The anger posed a keen threat to President Ahmadinejad, elected two years ago on a platform of bringing income from oil to the nation's households. Saeed Leylaz, an economist and political analyst in Tehran, said, "The high gasoline consumption has made Iran very vulnerable, and this is a security decision now." "We are importing gasoline from 16 different countries," he said. "The country would be on the verge of collapse if they suddenly decide not to sell us gasoline."
        The Web site Norouz reported that riots had erupted in Ilam on the eastern border and that people had attacked a gas station in Shiraz in the south. Some fear rationing could make inflation worse. Many people are dependent on their vehicles as a source of income, and many jobless people or low income government employees use their private cars as taxis. Ahmadinejad is facing growing discontent over his economic policies and is being blamed for failing to deliver on his promises to improve the economy. He suffered a setback last December when he lost local elections, and he faces crucial parliamentary elections in March. (New York Times)
        See also Iran Bans Negative Stories about Gas Rationing
    Iran's top security body has ordered local journalists not to report on problems caused by petrol rationing. Angry motorists have reacted violently to the curbs, attacking up to 19 petrol stations in Tehran. The authorities switched off the mobile text messaging system in Tehran to prevent motorists from organizing more protests. During Wednesday's unrest, motorists threw stones and shouted slogans against President Ahmadinejad. (BBC News)
  • U.S. Legislation Would Try to Deny Supply of Gasoline to Iranian Government - Barry Schweid
    Leaders of a bipartisan House panel, seeking economic pressure against Iran, acted Thursday to try to reduce Tehran's import of gasoline. A bill introduced by Reps. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., and Robert E. Andrews, D-N.J., who set up a congressional group on Iran's nuclear programs two years ago, proposed that any company that provides Iran with gasoline or helps it import gasoline after the end of the year could lose its access to U.S. customers.
        On Tuesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislation designed to strike at investments in Iran by ending the Bush administration's power to waive penalties against foreign companies that invest in Iran. "Our goal must be zero foreign investment," said the committee chairman, Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Egypt Blames Iran for Fueling Gaza Violence - Alain Navarro
    Egypt has reinforced its border with Gaza and accused Iran of threatening its security after Hamas violently seized control of the territory. Fearing an influx of thousands of refugees, dozens of extra police have reinforced the 750 paramilitary troops already guarding the border fence, officials said. Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit accused Iran of having encouraged Hamas to seize Gaza. "Iran's policies encouraged Hamas to do what it has done in Gaza and this represents a threat for Egypt's national security because Gaza is a stone's throw from Egypt," he told Al-Masri Al-Yom. "The Iranian influence in Iraq also represents a threat for Egyptian and Arab national security. This obliges Cairo to restrict its relations with Tehran," he said. (AFP/The Age-Australia)
        See also Iran "Played Role" in Gaza Takeover
    "Iran has played a big role in what happened in Gaza," Tawfiq al-Tirawi, the Palestinian intelligence chief, said Sunday. "Dozens of members of Hamas have been trained in Iran, and Hamas smuggled in weapons through tunnels not to fight Israel but against the Palestinian Authority." (Al Jazeera-Qatar)
  • New Palestinian PM Wants to Work with Israel
    The new Palestinian government is seeking "intensive and active cooperation" with Israel, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Thursday. "We have to have some sense of what has happened over the, eight years. Simple, basic question: Are we better off now than we were then? Then, the situation was not great, but guess what it is like today? It's catastrophic." He said the recent division among Palestinians has "destroyed" the vision of a Palestinian state. "This is complete chaos," he said. "Anyone resisting, however which way they want, whenever they want, from wherever they want, is that resistance? That has destroyed our national project completely." (CNN)
        See also Fayyad Warns Islamic Preachers - Mohammed Daraghmeh
    New Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad delivered a stern warning Thursday to some 800 Muslim clergy, including Hamas supporters: He won't tolerate calls for violence delivered from mosque pulpits and plans to collect militants' weapons. "We will collect weapons and replace them with pens and books," he told the crowd. "We won't allow them (mosques) to be turned into places of incitement and intimidation," he added. "It's the responsibility of men of religion to...present religion as a way of tolerance, not as a cover for bloodshed." (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Fatah, in Disarray, Torn by Mutual Recriminations - Khaled Abu Toameh
    A top Fatah leader and adviser to PA Chairman Abbas was fired on Thursday for criticizing senior Fatah officials who were responsible for the defeat of their faction in Gaza. The dismissal of Hani al-Hassan, a former PA interior minister, is yet another sign of the growing tensions inside Fatah in the wake of Hamas' takeover of Gaza. "Fatah is facing a very dangerous crisis," said a senior Fatah official in Ramallah. "Many Fatah leaders and activists are unhappy with the way Abbas and the Fatah leadership have been handling the current crisis. If we don't get our act together, we will lose the West Bank to Hamas."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Exposes Bomb Lab in Nablus - Efrat Weiss
    IDF troops operating in Nablus in the West Bank on Thursday exposed a large explosives laboratory. Three explosive devices, each weighing five kg., were found along with numerous weapons. The operation was launched after intelligence information indicated that terrorists in the city were planning a number of attacks in Israeli territory. (Ynet News)
  • Fatah-Affiliated Al Aqsa Brigades Refuses to Disband, Disarm
    The Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Brigades has announced that it has rejected Mahmoud Abbas' decree to disband the militia, spokesman Abu Oday announced following consultations with the brigades' leaders in the West Bank. He added that the brigades will not disarm and will not be committed to a truce with the Israelis. (Maan News-PA)
  • Hamas Militia Fires Mortars at Gaza-Israel Border Crossing
    The Hamas-affiliated Al Qassam Brigades announced that it launched four mortars at the Israeli military presence at the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel on Thursday. (Maan News-PA)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • Financial Aid Will Not Change Palestinian Political Perceptions - Yaron London
    The assumption is that showering the PA with funds will lead to prosperity, and that prosperity will moderate young Palestinians' passion for 72 virgins awaiting them in heaven. This hypothesis is premised on a mistaken assumption that improvement in living conditions can change perceptions, while in fact the opposite is true. Donations save people from starvation and make leaders wealthy, but they do not serve to change the cultures of societies and do not drive them to success. The aid provided to Palestinian refugees and their offspring by UNRWA since 1948 atrophied their ability to rehabilitate themselves and is one of the reasons for their political behavior. Hence, it is doubtful whether increasing economic support to the PA will change anything in the Palestinian political culture. (Ynet News)
  • An Alternative Reading of the Muslim World - David Pryce-Jones
    As Hamas took over in Gaza, hundreds of local Palestinians sought refuge in Israel. Among them were Fatah members now being hunted down. A few who had been wounded were admitted to Israeli hospitals. In Gaza hospitals, they knew, they would be murdered, but in Israel they would be treated. Covering the civil war in Jordan in 1970, I had seen this phenomenon before, when the terrified residents of Baqaa refuge camp outside Amman had set off for Israel. Hundreds of Arafat's gunmen fled to Israel from King Hussein's army, as now they flee Hamas.
        Thousands of refugees from genocide have been fleeing Sudan. Many went to Cairo, where the police have scandalously harassed, beaten and scattered them. A thousand have found safety in Israel. These people, it is clear, are well able to reject a lifetime of hate propaganda, and recognize the reality that Israel will be more humane than any Muslim country. In my view, the huge majority of Muslims know that the U.S. and Israel could offer them freedom, peace and prosperity, but for the sake of keeping power their own Muslim leaders stand in the way of it, and whip up a hate which the mob doesn't really feel but to which in these police states it is obliged to pay lip service. (National Review)
  • Mideast Moment of Truth - Eric Cantor
    Dressing Fatah, the organization founded by Yasser Arafat, in "moderate" garb is disingenuous. It is Fatah that works hand-in-glove with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, its declared military wing and personal terrorist appendage. Since 2000, the group has killed and maimed hundreds of Israelis in a relentless wave of suicide bombings. Largely because of Fatah's own doing, Palestinian media and textbooks teem with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic vitriol. Palestinian soccer teams and streets are named after suicide bombers, television shows glorify terrorists and guests on PA TV demonize Jews and urge their viewers to hate and kill Jews.
        The administration should condition aid to the Abbas government on his promoting reform. Fatah must offer Palestinians something better than the engine of corruption and anti-Israel vitriol it has always been. Abbas can start by rooting out the incitement against Israelis that is a staple of Palestinian daily life. And by promoting clean and open government, Fatah can regain much of the trust it lost to Hamas over the years. The writer is a Republican congressman from Virginia. (National Review)
  • Don't Expect Palestinian-Israeli Peace Anytime Soon - Yossi Alpher
    Hamas is a dedicated Islamist organization with close ties to Iran. It represents Islamist objectives that are totally antithetical to Israel's values as well as those of moderate secular Arabs. To have any chance of success, Abbas must consolidate security control in the West Bank by a single Fatah-Palestinian Authority force in much the same way that Hamas has cleared the streets of Gaza of armed militias. He must reform his own movement's leadership institutions by replacing the "dinosaurs" from Tunis with new blood. And he must resist the temptation of a renewed unity government.
        It was not the absence of a peace process that brought about Hamas' rise to power, but Fatah corruption and disarray. Thus, there will be no new and dynamic peace process, no strategic wedge driven between West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, and no international force sealing Gaza. ( Star-Lebanon)
  • Keeping Hamas Away from the West Bank - Eran Shayshon
    Fatah's inherent weakness in the West Bank is still severe: First, Fatah is divided from within, and not all its factions subjugate to the central leadership or refrain from terrorism against Israel; second, Fatah, unlike Hamas, has no apparent social and economic agenda; third, recent elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council suggest that Hamas may be more popular than Fatah in the West Bank; fourth, Hamas military strength in the West Bank should not be underestimated; and last, the existence of a multitude of security forces still plagues the PA and complicates its ability to uphold public order and govern effectively. (Jerusalem Post)

    New Mideast Envoy Tony Blair

  • Blair's Mission: Impossible - Youssef Ibrahim
    The move to hire Blair by the Quartet would have been amusing if it were not so obviously misguided. What's the man supposed to do? The Palestinian Arab territories are run by two warring mini-authorities. Neither side has any constituents who can make a deal, keep one if it were made, or even deliver on any pact with other Arabs, let alone with the Israelis. That has been true for 60 years. In this circus, Abbas has been nothing but a convenient distraction. He has never commanded anyone and, like most so-called Palestinian Arab leaders, he is just one of a series of tired, old faces - unable to manage, but unwilling to move on.
        So Blair's first mission will be to reconcile the Palestinian Arabs - something that the Saudis, the Egyptians, and the Jordanians have been unable to do since 1948, when Britain gave up its mandate to run the Palestinian Arab territories. Blair has nothing special to contribute to this mess. Attempting to fiddle - again - with the one Middle East problem that has been a constant since 1948 is glaringly artificial and pretentious. Tony, we love you. Please get a life. (New York Sun)
        See also Four Reasons Why Blair Is the Perfect Envoy - Anshel Pfeffer (Jerusalem Post)
  • Advice for Blair: Stop Patronizing the Palestinians - Gerald M. Steinberg
    Real Israeli-Palestinian peace requires the type of societal transformations that take many years. This process will also require a basic change in international perceptions with respect to Palestinians. In particular, the patronizing and ineffective emphasis on Palestinian suffering and helplessness that has dominated actions since 1948 must end. Palestinians must be given the opportunity and the external push to take control over their own destiny, and stop seeing themselves simply as passive victims. The rampant corruption and failed leadership in Palestinian society is, to a large degree, a product of the massive welfare system in effect since the 1948 war. (ICA/JCPA)
  • The Real Obstacle to Peace: Genocidal Jihad - Saul Singer
    The first thing Tony Blair should do is rethink the whole concept of a "Mideast envoy." What the job needs most now is not a mediator but a truth-teller. The more Israel embraced Palestinian statehood, the more violent and radicalized the Palestinians have become. During last summer's war in Lebanon, Blair hit on the real obstacle to peace. He said Hizbullah was not fighting "for the coming into being of a Palestinian state, but for the going out of being of an Israeli state." The struggle for peace is no longer between Israelis and Palestinians. It is between the jihadi axis (Hamas, Hizbullah, al-Qaeda, Syria and Iran) and the West, moderate Arabs and Israel, who want to resolve the Palestinian problem and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Blair's first task for peace should be to expose the real obstacle to peace: the jihadi front's genocidal dream of destroying Israel. (Washington Post)

    Other Issues

  • Fuel for Lebanon's Next War - Editorial
    If another war between Lebanon and Israel is to be prevented, the traffic of Hizbullah arms and fighters across the Syrian-Lebanese border must be stopped. But as an alarming report to the Security Council made clear this week, that flow of deadly arms continues unimpeded. The Security Council, whose main job is supposed to be preventing wars, needs to move quickly to help Lebanon control its border, and it needs to pressure Syria into finally cooperating.
        Ever since Damascus pulled its troops back home - in the wake of the almost certainly Syrian-ordered assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister - Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, has seemed determined to prevent Lebanon from reclaiming its full sovereignty. Assad seems to believe that Syria's international clout is strengthened by a well-armed Hizbullah and a Lebanon unable to control its borders. The Security Council needs to summon the will to convince him that he is wrong. (New York Times)
        See also Losing Lebanon - Editorial
    The international community ought to have been jolted out of its passivity by the car-bombing last week that killed six UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon. It was widely interpreted as yet another warning to the UN not to proceed with the tribunal looking into the Hariri assassination. Syrian President Bashar Assad has signaled that keeping the tribunal from indicting senior Syrians is a critical, perhaps even existential, priority. Although this page has endorsed engagement with Syria, there can be no compromise on the work of the tribunal, which is as vital as any war crimes tribunal. And there can be no retreat from Lebanon's right to sovereignty. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Iran and Nuclear Diplomacy
    Suspension of its nuclear work, Iran insists, is out. Instead, as the Security Council has stepped up sanctions, Iran has speeded up the installation of centrifuge machines at its enrichment plant at Natanz and cut back cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's watchdog. Last year, in an effort to avoid being referred to the Security Council for its egregious breaches of nuclear safeguards, Iran offered to clear up all outstanding issues in just three weeks. It never did. Skeptics note that Iran's nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani's latest offer (talks about ways to provide answers, rather than just giving them) comes as sanctions discussions - on the agenda of George Bush's meeting next week with Russia's Vladimir Putin - are set to resume at the UN. (Economist-UK)
  • It's Best to Ignore the Middle East - Edward N. Luttwak
    Middle East experts, like the rest of us, should at least learn from their past mistakes. Instead, they just keep repeating them. The first mistake is "five minutes to midnight" catastrophism. The late King Hussein of Jordan was the undisputed master of this genre and would warn us that with patience finally exhausted the Arab-Israeli conflict was about to explode. And then came the remedy - usually getting an American envoy to the scene to make the usual promises to the Palestinians and apply the usual pressures on Israel. What actually happens at each of these "moments of truth" is nothing much; only the same old cyclical conflict which always restarts when peace is about to break out, and always dampens down when the violence becomes intense enough. The ease of filming and reporting out of safe and comfortable Israeli hotels inflates the media coverage of every minor affray. (Prospect Magazine)
  • Observations:

    View from South Africa: Israel Is More Like the ANC - Warren Goldstein (Jerusalem Post)

    • South Africa's apartheid history is often invoked against Israel both internationally and in South Africa. But what if the real apartheid of the Middle East is the one directed against the Jews? And what if Israel is more akin to the African National Congress (ANC)?
    • In South Africa, the ANC was always ready to talk peace. Like the ANC, the Israeli government has always been ready to talk peace but has been forced since the birth of the Jewish state into an armed defensive struggle because the anti-Semitic Arab world has not been prepared to talk peace. Unlike the ANC, Israel has not found genuine negotiating partners.
    • What if Zionism is not colonialism but rather an ancient people's deep connection to their native, historical and covenantal land? What if the real colonialism is Arab expansionism?
    • What if the dispute has never been about Palestinian statehood but really about the destruction of the Jews and the only Jewish state on earth? In 1917, the Balfour Declaration, confirmed later by international law through the League of Nations, declared the British Mandate of Palestine to be a national homeland for the Jewish people, recognizing 4,000 years of Jewish connection to the land, and the injustice of the forced removal of the Jewish people. In 1922 the British took 76% of the land designated for a Jewish state and allocated it instead to the Arabs, creating a new country which came to be known as Jordan, which to this day has a Palestinian majority.
    • If the conflict is about Palestinian statehood, why - for the 19 years that Jordan controlled the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip and the Arab world had the opportunity of establishing another Palestinian state in those territories - did they choose not to?
    • The conflict is really about Arab rejection of the very presence and existence of a Jewish state, and probably any Jews at all, in the heart of the Middle East. And so the charter of Hamas calls for the murder of all Jews world-wide. And rockets from Gaza continue to target Israeli civilians even after Israel's evacuation. And the Arab world is awash with the most rabid and pernicious anti-Semitism.

      The writer is chief rabbi of South Africa.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert