Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hamas Creating New Armed Cells in West Bank - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Syria Receives First Shipment of Russian Anti-Aircraft Missiles - Amos Harel, Barak Ravid and Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
Palestinian Rocket Hits Sharon's Farm - Shmulik Hadad (Ynet News)
U.S. to Train Palestinian Guards (AP/Washington Post)
3 Palestinians Injured by Armed Palestinian Groups Hunting Phantom IDF Soldiers in Gaza (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
Law and Order in the Palestinian Authority - Tim Butcher (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, who commands U.S. operations south of Baghdad, said Sunday that about 50 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps are training Shiite militias in firing mortars and rockets. "They are facilitating training of Shiite extremists....We know they're here and we target them as well." U.S. military leaders in Iraq have repeatedly maintained that Iran is providing money, weapons and training to militia groups. (Washington Post)
Israel sent approximately 50 African migrants back across the border to Egypt on Saturday night, after the migrants had illegally crossed the Israeli-Egyptian border earlier that day. Israeli government spokesman David Baker said Israel was prepared to absorb the 500 refugees from Darfur already in Israel, but from now on, Israel would send back all illegal migrants crossing the border from Sinai under a recent agreement with the Egyptian authorities. About 2,500 African asylum seekers have entered Israel over the past two years. (New York Times)
See also Flight from Darfur Ends Violently in Egypt - Ellen Knickmeyer
Israel has up to 50 African refugees crossing its border a day, according to the UN refugee agency. The Israeli government earlier this year allowed a few of the Sudanese refugees to take jobs inside Israel. But that decision may have inadvertently encouraged this summer's influx, the refugees said. Egypt regards its border with Israel a military zone, and anyone trying to cross it is considered an infiltrator. Since July, Egyptian border guards have repeatedly used lethal force on the unarmed refugees. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The IDF Saturday identified three Palestinians advancing towards the Gaza security fence and behaving in a suspicious manner. One of the men was killed and the other two were wounded. Earlier in the day five Palestinians infiltrated Israel near Kibbutz Be'eri but were eventually caught. Over the past three weeks, 10 gunmen have been killed while trying to plant bombs alongside the security fence. "Our goal is to stop anyone who approaches the fence; sometimes it's civilians, sometimes it's terrorists and sometimes it's terrorists pretending to be civilians," said a military official. "We have no intention of harming civilians, but it's often impossible to ascertain the intent of each individual infiltrator." (Ynet News)
The Gaza Generating Company has not received any fuel for its power plant because the European Union has yet to decide whether to continue paying for it. As a result, the power plant said it had shut down all four of its generators, which provide electricity to roughly one-fourth of Gaza's 1.5 million residents. IDF Col. Nir Peres said, "This is an internal Palestinian matter," while some Israeli officials said PA Prime Minister Fayad was trying "to flex his muscles in order to show Hamas that he is the one who controls the tap and is running the show." (Ha'aretz)
The time for violence has come to an end, and the era of peace and dialogue between Muslims and Jews has begun, says Maulana Jameel Ahmed Ilyasi, secretary-general of the All-India Association of Imams and Mosques, representing half a million imams who are the main religious leaders of India's 200 million Muslims. He also said the time had come for Pakistan to establish official relations with Israel.
"My impression was initially that the Israelis are certainly dominating Muslims out here. Once I came here, that impression completely changed," Ilaysi said. "I saw the reality on the ground, the mutual respect Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews have for each other. Constant conflict is not the reality here." In Jerusalem "I saw that Muslims, Christians and Jews lived side by side happily, not at each other's throat."
"I was pleasantly surprised to know that the Sharia (Islamic law) code is being supported by the Israeli government, whereas in India only local Muslims implement it. That is unique," he said. "The Jews I have met here say that we are all children of Abraham, part of the same family. This is something I didn't hear in India. The Muslims in India should come and see things for themselves," Ilaysi said. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Sanctioning Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for its terrorist-related activities could have a significant impact, as Iranian leaders are vulnerable to the types of "smart sanctions" that would result. Finding others to join in this designation, however, would make it far more effective. After the extensive use of sanctions in the early 1990s, governments and scholars focused on drawing lessons learned. One point of broad consensus was that targeted sanctions were more effective than broad-brush measures.
Ahmadinejad has proved as corrupt as his predecessors. Ahmadinejad's family has parachuted into top positions: the head of the presidential office is his brother, the cabinet executive secretary is one brother-in-law, and the national police commander is another brother-in-law. On August 12, the Industries Minister, one of the more technically competent members of the cabinet, was replaced by Ahmadinejad's nephew. The foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, also appointed as his director-general for human rights his wife, a pharmacologist with no experience in foreign affairs.
The U.S. should strongly press other countries to join in the designation against the IRGC. Although action by the UN or Iran's main trading partners would be ideal, having any partners at all for the designation would be far preferable to going it alone. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Prior to the Palestinian parliamentary elections scheduled for January 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley sat down with aides at the State Department to consider if the elections should be canceled? Israeli leaders had implored Bush advisers to not let the vote proceed. Hamas, deemed a terrorist group by the U.S., could easily win, they warned. Even Natan Sharansky urged the Americans to postpone the vote, arguing that democracy is about building institutions and civil society, not just holding elections.
But Mahmoud Abbas told the Americans that his Fatah party needed the vote for credibility and it had to include his opposition. "We didn't think that postponing the elections would have solved any problems," said Philip D. Zelikow, who was Rice's counselor at the time and attended the meeting. "You would have been conceding Fatah's illegitimacy." It was, they thought, a test of Bush's democracy agenda. The elections went forward and Hamas won big. Now Bush was stuck with an avowed enemy of Israel governing the Palestinian territories. (Washington Post )
Al-Qaeda has been busy extending its clout and presence throughout the Middle East, including on the Palestinian scene. Striking the deathblow to the Soviet army in Afghanistan was a huge victory for Bin Laden and his supporters and not just in military terms. It gave al-Qaeda the strength and conviction that the same tactic could be applied to the U.S. and Israel.
The increased self-confidence that Palestinians have in their ability to force Israel to withdraw from all the territories coincided with the rise of Islamic "power" in Afghanistan and its spread to other countries in the region. No doubt the Palestinians drew comfort from the ability of hitherto unknown militant Islamist factions to become a "power" that many countries, including the world's remaining superpower, now fear. This growing article of faith in the ability of small militant Islamist groups to wage wars against mighty nations and win, as indeed had happened in Afghanistan and is happening in Iraq, has instilled a conviction among Palestinians that they too can become a "force" and succeed in extracting from Israel major territorial concessions sooner rather than later. The writer is a former Jordanian ambassador to Turkey and to the UN. He is currently a columnist for the Jordan Times and Al-Rai. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
Al-Qaeda's Travel Agent: Damascus International Airport Is a Hub for Terrorists - Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Wall Street Journal)
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