Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Message of Sunni Insurgents in Iraq Penetrates Mainstream Arab Media (Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty)
Government Abducts "Iran's Lech Walesa" - Amir Taheri (New York Post)
Damascus-Based Palestinian Terrorist Leader Due to Visit West Bank (AFP/Yahoo)
German Firms Smuggled Nuclear Material to Iran (AFP/Yahoo)
Reconstruction Proceeds Slowly in Southern Lebanon - Rym Ghazal (Daily Star-Lebanon)
India, Israel to Co-Develop Advanced Barak Ship Defense Missile System (India Defence)
Current Anti-Semitism in East Germany - Thomas Haury (JCPA)
Visit Israel...You Will Never Be the Same - Stan Wilson (Journal Chretien-France)
Foreign Visitors Donate Blood in Israel - Michele Chabin (New York Jewish Week)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iraqi security forces seized 200 explosive belts found during a search of a truck that had crossed into Iraq from Syria, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj.-Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said. American military spokesman Brig.-Gen. Kevin Bergner said 60 to 80 foreign fighters enter Iraq "in any given month" - 70% of them through Syria. He said up to 90% of the suicide attacks in Iraq were carried out by "foreign-born al-Qaeda terrorists." (AP/Washington Post)
U.S. Special Forces are intensifying their efforts to root out Iranian agents in Iraq, Gen. Jack Keane told a conference at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Iran is so intent on pushing the U.S. out of the country that it is now aiding all enemy factions, he added. (Washington Times)
Jordan is hoping to become the latest Middle Eastern country to acquire nuclear power and is looking for Canadian help to achieve that goal, King Abdullah II said in an interview prior to a visit to Canada. The director of the king's office, Bassem Awadallah, said the Jordanian delegation planned to discuss the purchase of Candu heavy-water reactors with the Canadian government. King Abdullah said Jordan hopes to have a nuclear plant in operation by 2015 for power generation and water desalination. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
Investors in the Israeli satellite company ImageSat are asking an American judge to punish the company for refusing to provide access to the spacecraft and their sensitive imagery to Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, who is an ally of Israel's enemy Iran. The investors claim that the Israeli-owned part of the company is killing off several profitable contracts because of diplomatic considerations. For example, the suit says that the Israeli Ministry of Defense pressured the company to renege on a multimillion-dollar contract with Venezuela. (New York Sun)
Alongside the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the gritty business of coexistence marches on. Since the Islamic militants of Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, Israel has kept the main commercial crossing point at Karni shuttered. Hamas seeks Israel's destruction, making border crossing etiquette more precarious than elsewhere. On Wednesday, between mortar attacks by Hamas and other militants, about 20 truckloads of milk products, meat, medicines and eggs passed from Israel into Gaza, ordered by Palestinian merchants from Israeli suppliers, relying on contacts built up over years. At the fuel depot at Nahal Oz, Israeli tankers pour diesel, gasoline and cooking gas into Gaza through pipes that run beneath the border. At Karni, the Israelis have adapted a 650-foot-long conveyor belt, previously used for gravel, to send in grain.
Col. Nir Press, head of the Coordination and Liaison Administration, the Israeli military agency that deals with the civilian aspects of the Gaza border, noted that in April 2006, a vehicle loaded with half a ton of explosives got through three of four checkpoints on the Palestinian side of Karni, and was stopped at the last security position by members of the American-backed Presidential Guard, loyal to Mahmoud Abbas. But the Presidential Guard is no longer there, having been routed by Hamas. (New York Times)
UN investigators probing the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri have identified a number of people who may have been involved or known about it, Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz reported on Thursday. New information about a van used to blow up Hariri and 22 others in Beirut in February 2005, about mobile phones used to track him, and about Hariri's political activities had helped to pinpoint suspects, he said.
The report said the Mitsubishi van in which a suicide bomber is believed to have set off some 1,800 kg. of explosives was stolen in the Japanese city of Kanagawa in October 2004, then shipped to the United Arab Emirates. From there it was sent in December to a showroom near the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli and sold. The UN team "has recently acquired information regarding the sale of the van to individuals who could be involved in the final preparation of the van for the attack," Brammertz said. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
A Palestinian gunman opened fire at an IDF checkpoint east of Tulkarm on Thursday and was killed by troops who returned fire. The terrorist, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, had approached the roadblock by car and was wearing an explosives belt. (Jerusalem Post)
The clashes with Hamas and Islamic Jihad gunmen in Gaza, in which Staff Sergeant Arbel Reich was killed Wednesday, are taking place at a distance of 2 km. west of the security fence and extend only to the outskirts of the built-up areas. By comparison, during the extensive operation in Gaza following the abduction of Cpl. Gilad Shalit in June last year, IDF units at times reached as far as the beaches of Gaza. These operations are an attempt to prevent Palestinian attacks close to the fence surrounding Gaza aimed at Israeli communities or to abduct more soldiers. (Ha'aretz)
Fatah media spokesperson Fahmi Za'areer said Thursday that Hamas gunmen opened fire at protestors in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, as hundreds of residents marched in support of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Hamas gunmen arrested dozens of protesters. Za'areer also charged that Hamas gunmen abducted 15 members of the al-Kafarna, Hamad and Abu Aisha families, and that Hamas was trying to take over a mosque in Khan Yunis. (IMEMC-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
One Year Since the Lebanon War
The anniversary of the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev, and Gilad Shalit will be marked in New York City on Monday with a rally organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations outside the UN at noon. On April 12, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution that condemns not only Hamas and Hizbullah but also "Iran and Syria for their ongoing support of Hizbullah and Hamas." It demands that the captives be immediately and unconditionally released and that "Hizbullah and Hamas accede to the most basic standards of humanitarian conduct and allow prompt access to the Israeli captives by competent medical personnel and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross."
The accused terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay have been regularly visited by the Red Cross and are provided with lawyers and copies of the Koran. Somehow the concern about the conditions under which Goldwasser and Shalit and Regev are being held is less audible than the fuss about Guantanamo. (New York Sun)
Lt.-Col. Effie Deffrin, 35, was leading his troops through Wadi Saluki in southern Lebanon when his tank was hit by a hail of antitank rockets. Wounded in the lungs and head, doctors were not certain he would live through the night. But two weeks later, he was back in command of his battalion, he told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
On July 20, the Eshet Battalion of the 401st Armored Brigade was ordered to move to the Lebanese border. "It was a Friday when we were called up to the North; people were home on leave, but everybody rushed in and we had 100 percent reporting for duty. They grew up overnight. I never heard a word of complaint from a single soldier during that time. Not a single argument. It was as if they, 19- and 20-year-olds, suddenly rose up to meet the responsibility that had been placed upon them. They fought among themselves to 'go in' and join the operations in Lebanon."
The Eshet Battalion was picked to lead the attack across Wadi Saluki during the closing days of the war. After Deffrin was wounded, Capt. Shai Bernstein took command, leading the column. The terrorists struck at the lead tank once again and Bernstein and two members of his tank crew were killed. "This battalion did exceptional work during the war," Deffrin said. "These soldiers went in there knowing that they were going to die for their country. All those slogans that I thought were confined to the pages of history were proven relevant."
"There were incidents like the tales you hear from '73. Soldiers ran, exposed, from their own tanks to pull their comrades out of burning tanks, guarding the wounded without any cover for an hour. There were soldiers who collapsed because they had inhaled so much smoke saving others." One combat support soldier from the Ordinance Corps, Dimitri Kamishlin, "jumped out of the tank that he was in, ran without any cover into a burning tank nearby, and pulled out the entire crew." (Jerusalem Post)
When five-year-old Galit Zelinsky hears a helicopter fly over her home in Nahariya, she thinks her father is inside and is coming home. After all, her mother told her that her father is in heaven. Andrei Zelinsky was killed by a Katyusha rocket on July 18, 2006. The entire family had run to the shelter when the siren sounded, but the shelter's new air conditioner was running, and Galit was cold. So Andrei returned to their apartment to get her a blanket. At 5:40 p.m. the Katyusha hit. Rada Zelinsky, 30, will never forget the sight that met her eyes when she went out to look for her husband: body parts scattered all over the lawn. She could identify him only by his clothing. (Ha'aretz)
The dilemma of whether Hizbullah emerged from the Second Lebanon War strengthened or weakened has been resolved by France. This weekend, Hizbullah figures will arrive in France to conduct a "national Lebanese dialog" under French supervision. This is the first time Hizbullah has been invited to France as a political entity equal to the other factions, for a meeting intended to find a solution to Lebanon's political future. (Ha'aretz)
One year after the summer 2006 war, we're not sure whether to celebrate Hizbullah's "divine victory" or bemoan the destruction of our country and its economy. That disconnect reflects the larger disconnect between Hizbullah and the rest of Lebanese society.
Soon after the war began, a spectacular bit of disinformation surfaced when the Beirut Center for Research published a poll that allegedly showed overwhelming support for Hizbullah. Unfortunately, rare were the correspondents who could read Arabic and the question put to respondents: "Do you support the Resistance's opposition to the Israeli aggression against Lebanon?" More loaded a question would have required a firearms license, its answer obvious in advance, particularly when Lebanon was being bombed. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
Nothing has changed in south Lebanon. The entire region still belongs to Hizbullah and nothing happens there without its approval. The money available to Hizbullah there is doing its job, and the southern villages show absolute loyalty to Hizbullah and to Nasrallah. Even weddings are coordinated with Hizbullah so that no "undesirable songs" are played that praise another leader except for Nasrallah. Recently, many Hizbullah flags were hung on 10-meter high flagpoles under the open eyes of UNIFIL and Lebanese troops. There is no doubt Hizbullah is preparing for another war against Israel, with direct Syrian and Iranian military backing. (Ynet News)
Joel Fishman, adjunct fellow at the University of Calgary's Center for Military and Strategic Studies, sees the Muslim Brotherhood transforming "Gaza into an armed and fortified enclave from which it can stage new acts of aggression. Indeed, Hamas has no plans to accept Israel's existence."
"At the beginning of the 1970s, a delegation of Palestinians, among them Arafat...went to consult the North Vietnamese political officers. Seeing how successfully North Vietnam was standing up to the U.S. in the war, while garnering sympathy and support even from the American public, the Palestinians - in crisis because they were universally viewed as terrorists - sought out their advice. In response, the Vietnamese counseled them to work for their goals in phases, which would conceal their real purpose, permit strategic deception, and give the appearance of moderation."
"So the PLO leadership adopted the term 'two-state solution' from the North Vietnamese....The 'two-state solution' represented a way-station on the road to ultimate victory. The real meaning of this term - and its real intent - was the model of North Vietnam which ultimately swallowed up South Vietnam. This is why it makes me shiver to hear Israeli leaders call for a 'two-state solution.'" (Jerusalem Post)
See also The PLO's "Peoples War" Strategy and Israel's Inadequate Response - Joel Fishman (JCPA)
Earlier this year an Iranian nuclear scientist at the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan died from poisoning with uranium hexafluoride gas. Accidents like this keep Najmedin Meshkati awake at night. A leading expert in nuclear safety at the University of Southern California, the Iranian-born engineer worries that the Russian technology and human error that led to the Chernobyl disaster may cause a similar tragedy at Iran's nuclear facilities in Bushehr and elsewhere. The biggest nuclear threat from Iran is not from an attack but from an accident, he said. (New Scientist)
Before 9/11, I had no experience with the Middle East or the Arabic language. I was a mother of three and a municipal judge in a small town in Montana. In January 2002, I began taking an Arabic language course online for eight weeks from the Cairo-based Arab Academy, supplemented with an intensive Arabic course at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As I learned more Arabic, the jihadi websites opened for me. Certain individuals stood out for either their radicalism or the information that they sent. I followed and tracked these individuals and kept notebooks detailing each website and person of interest.
I created my first terrorist cover identity on the Internet on March 13, 2002, to communicate and interact with these targets. In my first chat room sting, I convinced a Pakistani man that I was an Islamist arms dealer. When he offered to sell me stolen U.S. Stinger missiles to help the jihadists fighting the U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, I used the Persian Gulf dialect of Arabic to ask him to provide me with information that I could use to confirm his claims. Within a couple of weeks, the missile identification numbers were in my computer inbox. (Middle East Quarterly)
After years of crisis and departing members, kibbutzim have experienced a noticeable turnaround. The kibbutz product has risen from NIS 20 billion in 1997 to NIS 27 billion in 2006. In the same period, the kibbutzim have gone from a collective debt of NIS 700 million to a NIS 1.2 billion profit, accounting for 12% of all Israeli exports. While 52,000 members left the kibbutzim between 1988 and 2005, in the past two years thousands have joined the kibbutzim, and children of members are returning.
Economics has been the main driving factor in this revolution. The kibbutz's egalitarian regime prevented them from maximizing the potential of their talented work force. Today's revolution does not discard this traditional ideology, but it differentiates between economics and management on the one hand, and the community on the other. Today's kibbutzim still care for the weak, elderly and those members unable to earn high wages. Culture, education and health care are also still provided for by the kibbutz. However, business enterprises operate according to market-driven parameters, differential pay was introduced, and management has become increasingly professionalized. (Jerusalem Post)
What to Do Now About the Palestinian Authority? - Khaled Abu Toameh
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