Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
U.S. Supreme Court Justices to Learn How Israel Handles Detainees - Nina Totenberg (NPR) Iran's Shiite Strategy in Kuwait and Palestinian Territories - Jonathan Dehoah Halevy (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs - Hebrew) Illegal Arms Deals to Iran, Libya Traced to Malaysia's Elite - Ioannis Gatsiouis (Asia Times)
U.S. Supreme Court Justices to Learn How Israel Handles Detainees - Nina Totenberg (NPR)
Iran's Shiite Strategy in Kuwait and Palestinian Territories - Jonathan Dehoah Halevy (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs - Hebrew)
Illegal Arms Deals to Iran, Libya Traced to Malaysia's Elite - Ioannis Gatsiouis (Asia Times)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
Hamas has sent hundreds of its fighters abroad for military training, most of them to Iran, the Israeli Army’s deputy chief of staff says, and Israel has the names of more than 100 of them. Israel is watching as Hamas, in control of Gaza, is building an army there on the model of Hizbullah in southern Lebanon, said the deputy chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky,
He said Hamas was constructing positions and fortifications, building tunnels for fighting and smuggling in explosives, antitank weapons and more sophisticated rockets through the Egyptian desert. Hamas now has improved antitank missiles and mortars and possesses manufactured Katyusha rockets with a range of 10.6 miles, which they are keeping in reserve. (New York Times)
See also Hamas's Military Capabilities after the Gaza Takeover - Nick Francona (Washington Institute)
A U.S.-sponsored international conference on Israeli-Palestinian peace is doomed to fail because it will serve only Israel's interests, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal said in a CNN interview broadcast on Monday. Calling the gathering, expected in November, "a meeting controlled and directed by (U.S. Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice," Meshaal, who lives in exile in Damascus, said neither Israel nor the United States was serious about achieving peace. (Reuters)
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday a diplomatic push by the world's powers to rein in Tehran's nuclear program was the only alternative to "an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran." He also presented some new ideas, such as possibly renewing high-level dialogue with Syria.
Sarkozy said a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and that major powers should continue their policy of incrementally increasing sanctions against Tehran while being open to talks if Iran suspended nuclear activities. "This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran," he said, adding that it was the worst crisis currently facing the world. (Reuters)
See also Sarkozy: Friend of the U.S. and Israel - Angela Doland
While France has a history of close ties with the Arab world, Sarkozy said: "I have the reputation of being a friend of Israel, and it's true. I will never compromise on Israel's security." Despite that, he said, the many Arab leaders who have visited him since his election know they can count on his friendship. (AP/Santa Barbara News Press)
Palestinian police officers came to the rescue and saved an IDF officer who accidentally entered Jenin on Monday and was attacked by an angry crowd. A senior Central Command officials said that "the officer owes his life to the Palestinian security organizations." The senior Central Command officials defined the incident as "extremely severe." According to them, what happened in Jenin served as proof that the cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces had been reinforced recently. (Ynet News)
See also Jenin Rescue Creates Optimism for Olmert-Abbas Talks - Herb Keinon
The rescue by Palestinian Authority security personnel of an IDF officer who lost his way in Jenin on Monday will likely be acknowledged and improve the atmosphere at Tuesday's meeting in Jerusalem between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli diplomatic officials said. (Jerusalem Post)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hizbullah has more rockets today than it did prior to the Second Lebanon War last summer. According to a source who was present at the meeting, Barak was referring to both long-range and short-range rockets, and said that the rockets are situated north of the Litani River, but within striking range of Israel.
In regard to the tense relationship between Israel and Syria, Barak said that he can sense that the tension is beginning to dissipate. (Ha'aretz)
Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism. The mullah regime is providing weapons to kill our soldiers in Iraq. It is working furiously to develop nuclear weapons. We certainly do not want to go to war against Iran. But we have other weapons that are being deployed now — not by the military, the federal government, or officials in Washington, but by state government officials and legislatures in state capitals, who are working to divest their pension funds of stocks in companies that do business in Iran.
Divestment bills have been passed or filed in Missouri, California, Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Texas.
Many of these bills have met with opposition. Pension fund administrators have opposed them. They argue that divesting would cost them money. But the fact is that American-based companies already are prohibited from doing business in Iran. Firms that do the most business in Iran are French — Alcatel, BNP Paribas, Total; Italian — ENI; Korean — Hyundai; Chinese — PetroChina; and Russian — Statoil. The potential losses to pension funds are almost certainly minimal; a fund can find plenty of international stocks for its portfolio without touching those who do business in Iran. (New York Sun)
Two weeks ago, the Bush administration announced it may designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. European allies see the steps as a prelude to war and fear they will make ongoing nuclear diplomacy with Tehran much more difficult.
Such fears are unfounded, however, and rest on several basic misunderstandings. For one thing, the terrorist label is nothing new, and thus will do little to change the current state of play. For another, Iran represents a much greater threat than Europe typically recognizes. It is not a status quo state that favors stability, as most pundits and governments portray it. Iran is, instead, a radical revolutionary force determined to sow chaos beyond its borders. The mullahs don't want peace in Iraq—just the opposite. The widespread belief (shared by the Iraq Study Group, among many others) that Iran wants stability in Iraq is wrong.
The Europeans, who are among Iran's largest trading partners, must agree to biting measures—something these states, which are as addicted to noncoercive diplomacy as they are to commerce, seem unlikely to do. Washington can try to exercise soft power—through sanctions, resolutions, diplomatic isolation and rougher rhetoric. But the Islamic Republic, especially its radical president and praetorian guard, are accomplished practitioners of hard power. They are unlikely to be overwhelmed by moderate tactics. Instead, they seem set to continue killing Americans in Iraq, waiting to see if and when the United States gives up and run for the exits. The writer, a former Middle East specialist at the CIA, is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (Newsweek)
Foreign aid is an important and effective tool for buttressing allies, alleviating poverty and suffering, supporting key foreign policy objectives. Considering that several agency-approved aid recipients have been linked to terrorist groups in recent years, USAID's proposed new partner-vetting system is a welcome and overdue development.
USAID's otherwise laudable record is tainted by a series of awards to entities with established ties to terrorist groups such as the Hamas-controlled zakat (charity) committees and the Islamic University of Gaza. Documents made public in the ongoing prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation and several of its leaders -- accused of funding Hamas -- reveal that as recently as December 2002, USAID "cleared" several charity committees to receive funding despite information publicly tying them to Hamas. These included the main committees in the West Bank towns of Jenin, Qalqilya, Hebron, Tulkarem, and Nablus. (Washington Institute)
The Lobby - David Remnick (The New Yorker)
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