Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
One Candidate to Replace Iraq's PM Visited Israel in 2004 - Khalid Mohammed (TIME) Sudanese Refugees to Study in Israeli Schools - Moran Zelikovich (Ynet News) Israeli Firefighters Arrive in Athens (Ynet News)
One Candidate to Replace Iraq's PM Visited Israel in 2004 - Khalid Mohammed (TIME)
Sudanese Refugees to Study in Israeli Schools - Moran Zelikovich (Ynet News)
Israeli Firefighters Arrive in Athens (Ynet News)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
By night, a growing number of supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamic fundamentalists who reject modern democracy in favor of a pan-Islamic religious caliphate, gather in the West Bank to recruit the thousands who have grown disillusioned with the vicious stand-off between the secular Fatah and Islamist Hamas. Any talk about a return to the caliphate, any talk about a return to religious values is something that is attractive to people," said Majid Abu Malah, 55, a teacher who attends regularly. He, like many others, says he has given up on both Hamas and Fatah.
Inside the West Bank, the rise of the Islamist group is being met with increasing concern from secular Palestinians still hoping for democracy and a two-state solution with Israel, as well as from Hamas which is seeing its support eroded by the group. (Telegraph -- UK)
Members of the Hamas Executive Force broke up a demonstration by Fatah, Hamas’s rival, in Gaza City on Friday, firing into the air and briefly detaining journalists who were trying to document the events, according to news media reports. The anti-Hamas protest, which came amid growing signs of restiveness, was the largest since the militant Islamic group seized control of Gaza after a week of factional fighting in June. (New York Times)
See also Hamas Honeymoon Ends with Torture - Charles Levinson
Human rights groups and ordinary Gazans say Hamas is committing exactly the same crimes as its Fatah predecessors, whose corruption and brutality were one of the main reasons why support for Hamas grew. (Telegraph -- UK)
More than 100 journalists held a sit-in in Gaza on Sunday to protest against pressure on the media by the Islamist Hamas movement, which took over the territory in June. (AFP/Times -- UK)
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said that Egypt's failure to prevent arms smuggling implies that the country wants Hamas to prosper. In an interview with Army Radio on Monday Dichter said, "Any right-thinking person who witnesses the Egyptians' failure to act against arms smuggling can all but infer that strengthening Hamas is their interest. Egypt is capable of acting decisively against Hamas, but hasn't done that for more than seven years," Dichter added. "Their intelligence is as good as ours," he concluded.
The deputy head of the Shin Bet security service told the cabinet on Sunday that 40 tons of explosives have been smuggled into the Strip since Hamas took over. (Ha'aretz)
IDF forces foiled a terror plot early Saturday morning when they killed two gunmen who infiltrated Israel from northern Gaza. The terrorists had planned to attack troops and residential communities near the border and were found to be wearing IDF uniforms and carrying an explosive device. Maj. Tal Lev-Ram, an Israeli army spokesman, said there was "an intention to carry out a large attack in Israeli territory." He said the militants were armed "head to toe" with grenades and automatic weapons, and were headed toward communities in southern Israel when they were stopped. (Ynet News)
See also Top IDF Officers: Terrorist Groups Have Learned Our Defense Systems (Jerusalem Post)
Riyadh-based Oukaz lashed out at the Syrian regime last week, accusing it of having plotted the assassination of Lebanese politicians starting with Druze leader Kamal Jumblatt. "For the last 30 years Syria has set up a clear-cut plan to systematically kill Lebanese leaders to incite strife among various Lebanese sects, and consequently reinforce its presence and role in Lebanon," the newspaper said.
The Saudi daily published a special report from Beirut tackling the role of Syria in Lebanon since 1975. The daily described the current Syrian regime as "a regime of slaying and slaughter," and accused it of making use "of all possible means to restore its influence in Lebanon after their withdrawal in April 2005." (Daily Star -- Lebanon)
The UN on Monday will launch a series of international meetings on racism, leading up to a major world conference in 2009. The so-called "Durban Review" process is the follow-up to the 2001 conference in South Africa that turned into a diplomatic fiasco. All indications suggest next week's session, and the events that follow from it, will mimic both the format and script of the original. The ghosts of 2001 are almost certain to be conjured up by the shamans of Durban II. The party chosen to chair the entire process through 2009 indicates its seriousness of purpose: Moammar Qaddafi's Libya.
On Thursday, while the Geneva session is underway, the European Parliament in Brussels will host a UN "International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace." The UN's 16-member Palestinian division is part of a sprawling infrastructure of anti-Israel committees and programs launched by the General Assembly in 1975 alongside its resolution declaring that "Zionism is racism."
A UN secretary general cannot be judged by country-driven bodies that go astray. But as Secretary General Ban did recently in protesting the hypocrisies of the Human Rights Council, he can choose to speak truth to power now. The writer is executive director of UN Watch in Geneva. (Boston Globe)
See also Jerusalem, U.S. Keep Low Profile on Durban II - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
The Bush administration is making a subtle but important shift in its strategy for the Middle East -- establishing containment of Iranian power in the region as a top American priority. A simple shorthand for this approach might be "back to the future," for it is strikingly reminiscent of American strategy during the 1980s after the Iranian revolution. The cornerstone is a political-military alliance with the dominant Sunni Arab powers -- especially Saudi Arabia. The hardware will be new arms sales to Israel, Egypt and the Saudis. The software will be a refurbished Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The problem with "back to the future," of course, is that we've been there before. Arms deals won't provide lasting security for Saudi Arabia; supporting authoritarian Sunni regimes won't stem the appeal of Islamic radicalism; and a fractured Iraq will keep the region in a permanent state of tension. But the new approach has the virtue of realism -- preparing for the worst in Iraq rather than hoping for the best. (Washington Post)
Misinterpreting the Mideast - Moshe Ya'alon (Los Angeles Times)
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