Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


July 19, 2007

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Says Syria Giving Terrorists Arms (AP/International Herald Tribune)
    U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad accused Syria and Iran on Wednesday of playing a negative role in Lebanon and said there is clear evidence of arms smuggling across the Syrian border to terrorist groups.
    "We condemn all efforts to destabilize Lebanon and expressed particular concern with regard to the arms transfers that are taking place particularly across the Syrian border," he said.
    Khalilzad said there was clear evidence of "arms transfers to terrorist groups" inside Lebanon.

Christian Zionists: Ahmadinejad Is New Hitler - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
    Thousands of members of Christians United for Israel headed to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to lobby Congress on behalf of Israel.
    The group's founder, the Reverend John Hagee, called on President Bush to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
    He also called for American divestment from Iran, which he compared to Nazi Germany as a threat to the Jewish people.
    Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Salai Meridor told the group, "We must make it clear to the Iranians that all options are on the table and that there is no way they will be allowed to hold nuclear weapons."

Stolen U.S. Vehicles End Up as Bombs in Iraq, FBI Says - Bryan Bender (Boston Globe)
    The FBI says dozens of stolen U.S. cars have turned up as car bombs in Iraq.
    Special Agent Ryan Toole of the FBI's Major Theft Unit in Washington said American-made vehicles are particularly attractive to terrorists in places such as Iraq.
    Forensics specialists there have identified some bomb-rigged cars as vehicles that were swiped off American streets.
    Terrorists desire a "vehicle like a [Chevrolet] Suburban because it can hold a lot [of explosives] but it also blends in," said Toole.
    That particular SUV model is popular, he said, because "it looks like an American security vehicle [in Iraq] and they can get closer to their target."

Molotov Cocktails Thrown at Israeli Bus (Jerusalem Post)
    Four Molotov cocktails were thrown at an Israeli bus south of Nablus on Wednesday.
    IDF soldiers discovered an additional three Molotov cocktails ready for use.

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

  • French Foreign Minister: Hamas Has Contacts with Al-Qaeda
    The Palestinian militant group Hamas has contacts with al-Qaeda, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Wednesday, adding that this was not the result of Western pressure to isolate the movement. Kouchner was reacting to comments by Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema this week, who said the West's policy of isolating Hamas, which seized control of Gaza last month, could push it into the arms of al-Qaeda. "I think Hamas did not wait for this extreme situation - the current terrible situation in Gaza - to have contacts with al-Qaeda. And it would perhaps be too simple to think that we, the international community, are responsible," Kouchner said. (Reuters)
  • Al-Qaeda in Iraq Detainee Details Ties to Bin Laden - Megan Greenwell and Karen DeYoung
    The man responsible for ferrying messages between Osama bin Laden and Iraqi insurgents is in U.S. custody and is providing "significant insights" into the workings of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, the top American military spokesman in Iraq, said Wednesday that the July 4 capture of Khalid al-Mashhadani has yielded evidence of the relationship between bin Laden's al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda in Iraq. "There is a flow of strategic direction, of prioritization, of messaging and other guidance that comes from al-Qaeda senior leadership to the al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership," Bergner said.
        "The rank-and-file Iraqis in AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] believe they are following the Iraqi al-Baghdadi. But all the while they have been following the orders of the Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri," Bergner said. Bergner said that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, described in insurgent statements as leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, was a fictional creation of Masri. (Washington Post)
  • Europe, China Balk at Economic Sanctions Against Iran - Gary Dorsch
    China has become Iran's biggest customer, buying 15% or 335,000 bpd of Iran's oil exports last year, and Beijing uses its UN veto to blunt Washington's drive to squeeze Iran's oil industry and economy. European companies that export machinery, industrial equipment and commodities to Iran get loans from European banks and then receive European government guarantees for the loans on the ground that such transactions are risky in nature. European loans for business with Iran amounted to $18 billion last year, and the largest providers of such credits in Europe in 2006 were Italy at $6.2 billion, Germany at $5.4 billion, France at $1.4 billion, and Spain and Austria, at $1 billion.
        Germany was the biggest European exporter to Iran last year with 4.4 billion euros, and much of this trade is bound up with the lucrative Iranian oil industry. Some of Germany's biggest companies - Siemens, BASF, Lind - are active in Iran, in addition to 124 other publicly listed German firms. Iran is bidding $1.5 billion for Germany's Transrapid high-speed magnetic train. International traders ship about 210,000 barrels of gasoline per day to Iran, mainly from India, the Netherlands, France and the United Arab Emirates. (Seeking Alpha-Stock Market Analysis)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Not All Gunmen Give Up Weapons in Amnesty Deal - Ali Waked
    Israel has decided to halt negotiations to expand a list of wanted Fatah operatives eligible for amnesty, after a number of members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - Fatah's military wing - refused to sign a document renouncing terror activities, Palestinian sources said Thursday. After an agreement granting amnesty to 178 wanted terrorists, Israel and the PA began negotiations to add another 206 wanted operatives to the amnesty list. Israel has refused to grant amnesty to 28 gunmen on the second list because of their ties with Hizbullah. (Ynet News)
  • 17% of Released Palestinian Prisoners Resume Terror Activity - Etgar Lefkovits
    17% of Palestinian prisoners who have been released return to terror activities, Justice Ministry Pardons Department head Emmy Palmor said Wednesday. Israel is scheduled to free more than 250 Palestinian prisoners on Friday in a confidence-building measure aimed at bolstering Mahmoud Abbas. Among those slated for release is Abdel Rahim Malouh, 61, second in command of the PFLP, which orchestrated the 2001 assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi. Palmor said Malouh was not involved in the killing. Palmor also revealed that at least one Palestinian prisoner preferred to stay behind bars to continue receiving free arthritic medication. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel to Free Terror Chief in Prisoner Release - David Byers (Times-UK)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Blair's New Mission - Editorial
    Tony Blair's mandate is narrow: he is to raise funds for the Palestinians, promote economic development and advise on building institutions. Blair needs to impress on Abbas that the West's decision to back him in his confrontation with Hamas is not without conditions. Western politicians know well that Hamas was elected to power last year largely because of widespread Palestinian anger at corruption among Fatah leaders. Palestinians do not want to see aid squandered or going to line the pockets of corrupt officials. Blair may find that, even with his present narrow mandate, the encouragement of good governance and building institutions quickly go to the heart of the peace process and the success of the Bush initiative. Already, Blair's role is proving pivotal. (Times-UK)
  • Bush Sees Egypt, Not Israel, as Gaza's "Natural Gateway" for Trade - Aluf Benn
    In President Bush's speech on the Middle East on Monday, he called Jordan and Egypt "natural gateways for Palestinian exports" and urged them to be open to trade with their neighbors in the West Bank and Gaza. The economic model of Israel's disengagement from Gaza in 2005 assumed that the Gaza economy would depend on Israel's Ashdod port and the Karni crossing. After Hamas took over Gaza, Bush accepted the position that the Arabs must look after their kinfolk, and the trade in the territories must go through the Rafah crossing to Egypt and the Allenby Bridge to Jordan. This is a message to Tony Blair not to delude himself with the fantasies of his predecessor, James Wolfensohn, about economic cooperation on both sides of the Green Line. (Ha'aretz)
  • Al-Qaeda Sanctuary in Pakistan Must Be Eliminated - Editorial
    U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that al-Qaeda is growing stronger and that the threat that it will stage another major attack against the U.S. homeland is a serious one. That al-Qaeda has established a sanctuary in Pakistan's tribal areas has been known and discussed since last year. The Sept. 11 commission said the U.S. government must disrupt such bases in the future "using all elements of national power." If Pakistani forces cannot - or will not - eliminate the sanctuary, President Bush must order targeted strikes or covert actions by American forces. Such actions run the risk of further destabilizing Pakistan. Yet those risks must be weighed against the consequences of another large-scale attack on U.S. soil. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Hizbullah and Hamas Have Overplayed Their Hands - Mark Helprin (New York Times)

    • Last summer Hizbullah overplayed its hand. Israel emerged shaken but with few casualties and an economy that actually grew during the hostilities. It took 4,000 of the vaunted Katyusha rockets to kill 39 Israelis, they did little material damage, and not one has been launched in the year since the war.
    • Israel showed that upon provocation it could and would destroy anything in its path, thus creating a Lebanese awakening that has split the country and kept Hizbullah fully occupied. Though Hizbullah is rearming, it remains shy of Israel.
    • Hamas, too, has overplayed its hand, which has provided the opening from which a Palestinian-Israeli peace may emerge. For the first time since 1948, a fundamental division among the Palestinians presents a condition in which the less absolutist view may find shelter and take hold.
    • Mahmoud Abbas is weak in many ways, but he has decisively isolated the radicals. Hamas loyalists in the West Bank face a different demographic than they did in Gaza, and a different economy.
    • Although Hamas leaders portray Abbas as a collaborator, it is they who may be held to account for keeping more than a million of their own people hostage to a gratuitous preference for struggle over success.

      The writer is a fellow at the Claremont Institute.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert