Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 17, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Muslim Brotherhood's Papers Detail Plan to Seize U.S. - Jason Trahan (Dallas Morning News)
    Amid the mountain of evidence released in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial in Dallas is previously classified evidence detailing Islamist extremists' ambitious plans for a U.S. takeover.
    Terrorism researchers say the memos and audiotapes in Arabic contain detailed strategies by the Muslim Brotherhood to replace the Constitution with Islamic law.
    A strategy paper for the Brotherhood found in the Virginia home of an unindicted co-conspirator in the case says: "The Ikhwan [Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within."

Eight Israelis Feared Dead in Thailand Plane Crash (AP/Ha'aretz)
    Two Israelis were hospitalized and eight more are feared dead after a passenger plane filled with foreign tourists crashed Sunday in heavy rain on Thailand's tourist island of Phuket.
    See also Two Israeli Couples on Honeymoon Missing in Thailand Plane Crash (Ynet News)
    See also Israel to Assist Thailand in Identifying Plane Crash Victims - Efrat Weiss (Ynet News)
    Six Israeli forensic experts will leave for Thailand on Monday to assist Thai authorities with the identification of the fatalities from the plane crash on Phuket.

Israel Fears Terror Attack at Sea - Eitan Glickman (Ynet News)
    Israeli officials fear that terror groups are planning attacks against Israeli holidaymakers abroad, Yediot Ahronot reported on Monday.
    An Israeli official said security officials believe terror groups plan to use a boat laden with explosives to sink an Israeli cruise ship in the Mediterranean.
    "Over the last two years there were two attempts to target Israeli ships in Turkey," an official said.

Jordan, U.S. Sign Nuclear Agreement - Dale Gavlak (AP/Washington Post)
    The U.S. has signed an accord with Jordan aimed at supporting the peaceful development of the kingdom's nascent nuclear program, the U.S. Embassy in Amman said Sunday.

Fewer Foreigners Crossing into Iraq from Syria to Fight - Karen DeYoung (Washington Post)
    The number of foreign fighters entering Iraq from Syria has decreased noticeably in recent months, corresponding to a similar decrease in suicide bombings by al-Qaeda in Iraq.
    Border crossings from Syria that averaged 80 to 90 a month have fallen to "half or two-thirds of that over the last two or three months," said Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq.
    U.S. officials said they are not prepared to attribute the decrease to Syrian action, instead citing increased U.S. operations against al-Qaeda inside Iraq and stepped-up cooperation by terrorist "source" countries, such as Saudi Arabia, in prohibiting travel to Damascus.

A Dubai Leader Faces Charges of Enslavement - Nicholas Wapshott (New York Sun)
    The deputy leader of the Arab emirate of Dubai has become the subject of a class-action lawsuit in Kentucky that accuses him of encouraging the enslavement of thousands of boys for use as jockeys in camel races in the Middle East.
    Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the finance and industry minister of the United Arab Emirates, is accused of "obtaining boys through abduction, false inducement, or agreement" from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mauritania, and Sudan, according to a document filed on September 11 in U.S. District Court in Lexington, Ky.
    The suit is being brought by the parents of five former camel jockeys.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Says "All Options" on Table with Iran, But Prefers Diplomacy
    The U.S. will stick to diplomatic and economic pressure to force Iran to halt its nuclear drive, but "all options are on the table," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday. "I will tell you that I think the administration believes at this point that continuing to try and deal with the Iranian threat...through diplomatic and economic means is by far the preferable approach," he said. The U.S. has never ruled out taking military action against Iran but on Friday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei brushed off the notion that it could now threaten the Islamic republic. (AFP)
        See also America Preparing for War with Iran - Philip Sherwell and Tim Shipman
    Senior American intelligence and defense officials believe that President Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, amid growing fears that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran's nuclear weapons program are doomed to fail. Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to sanction military action. Rice's bottom line is that if the administration is to go to war again it must build the case over a period of months and win sufficient support on Capitol Hill. (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
        See also France Warning of War with Iran
    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says the world should prepare for war over Iran's nuclear program. "We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war," Kouchner said in an interview on French TV and radio. He said negotiations with Iran should continue "right to the end," but an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose "a real danger for the whole world." Kouchner also said a number of large French companies had been asked not to tender for business in Iran. (BBC News)
        See also France Calls for Iran Investment Boycott - Peggy Hollinger and Pan Kwan Yuk (Financial Times-UK)
        See also Germany Refuses to Support New Iran Sanctions, Sanction Route Seen Dead - James Rosen
    A recent decision by German officials to withhold support for any new sanctions against Iran has pushed a broad spectrum of officials in Washington to develop potential scenarios for a military attack on the Islamic regime, FOX News confirmed Tuesday. Germany - a pivotal player among three European nations to rein in Iran's nuclear program over the last two-and-a-half years through a mixture of diplomacy and sanctions supported by the U.S. - notified its allies last week that the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel refuses to support the imposition of any further sanctions against Iran that could be imposed by the UN Security Council. According to one source, the announcement at a meeting in Berlin left most Bush administration principals concluding that sanctions are dead. (FOX News)
        See also Germany Backs French Minister on Iranian Nuclear Weapons Warning (DPA/EUX.TV)
  • U.S. Official Says Syria May Have Nuclear Ties with North Korea - Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper
    A State Department official said Friday that the U.S. had concerns about Syria's involvement in illicit nuclear activities and suggested that North Korea might be aiding the Syrians in their efforts. Andrew Semmel, a top official on countering the spread of nuclear weapons, said that Syria may have a number of "secret suppliers" for a covert nuclear program, and that North Korean technicians were currently operating inside Syria. A Bush administration official said last week that over the past several weeks, Israel had conducted several aerial surveillance flights over Syria to take pictures of what Israeli officials were said to believe could be possible nuclear development installations. (New York Times)
        See also Syria Might Be Seeking Nuclear Weapons Technology through North Korea - James Rosen
    U.S. intelligence officials have developed evidence showing that North Korea is helping Syria to develop a nuclear program for weapons purposes. One source told FOX News in late August that the North Koreans had sold the Syrians a nuclear facility, most likely related to uranium enrichment. (FOX News)
        See also The Links between North Korea and Syria - Michael Sheridan
    Syria possesses the biggest missile arsenal and the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the Middle East, built up over the last two decades with arms bought from North Korea. North Korea, which exploded a nuclear device in October last year, has become critical to Syria's plans to enhance and upgrade its weapons. Earlier this year, foreign diplomats who follow North Korean affairs took note of an increase in diplomatic and military visits between the two.
        Diplomats believe North Korean engineers have worked on modifying the Scud-Cs to extend their 300 mile range. That means they can be based in the deserts of eastern Syria - the area of the September 6 Israeli strike. More worrying for Israel were reports from diplomats in Pyongyang that Syrian and Iranian observers were present at missile test firings by the North Korean military last summer and were given valuable telemetry data. The nuclear threat in Syria was long believed dormant, as Damascus appeared to rely on a chemical first-strike as an unconventional deterrent. But American intelligence officials believe Syria then recruited Iraqi scientists who fled after the fall of Saddam Hussein. (Sunday Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • No Agreement of Principles at Fall Peace Meeting - Barak Ravid
    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel and the PA will not present an agreement of principles on final status issues at a U.S.-hosted meeting this fall, but will rather issue a joint declaration. U.S. Secretary of State Rice will arrive on Tuesday for talks to prepare for the November meeting. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Military Intelligence: Israeli Deterrence Restored
    Israeli military deterrence against Syria and Iran has returned to the level it was at before the Second Lebanon War, and is now having a major impact on the region, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, head of Military Intelligence, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Sunday. Yadlin also said that Hamas is planning a major terror attack in Israel in an attempt to derail the Mideast meeting set to take place in Washington in November. He said Hamas is capable of taking control of the West Bank, but has so far failed to do so due to Israel's military presence in the area. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Shoot Two Israelis Driving in West Bank - Raanan Ben-Zur
    An Israeli man and woman driving in the West Bank were injured when Palestinians fired gunshots at their vehicle Friday between Karnei Shomron and Kedumim. "The couple were hit by shrapnel from the window, which was detached from the car, and by a bullet apparently fired from a hunting rifle. Another woman sitting in the back seat suffered from shock," said paramedic Danny Tiram. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Foils Terror Infiltration in West Bank - Efrat Weiss
    IDF troops stopped an armed Palestinian from infiltrating Shevei Shomron Sunday. The gunman was trying to cut through the fence surrounding the West Bank settlement, northwest of Nablus. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Avi Issacharoff, Amos Harel and Mijal Grinberg
    Palestinians in Gaza fired six Kassam rockets at Israel on Sunday. One rocket hit Kibbutz Nativ Ha'asara and damaged greenhouses there. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Ahmadinejad Escalates His Rhetoric - Y. Mansharof and A. Savyon
    In a speech about Iran's nuclear program, Ahmadinejad declared that Iran has become a global power, and that it would place its nuclear technology at the service of those determined to confront the U.S. and other Western countries. He announced that Iran was now successfully operating over 3,000 centrifuges, continued to downplay the impact of the UN Security Council sanctions on Iran, and reiterated Iran's official stance of refusal to freeze its nuclear activity. In addition, Ahmadinejad declared that the world was now at an historic turning point. The history of the West, he said, had reached its end, and the appearance of the Hidden Imam, heralding the era of Islamic Shi'ite rule, was nigh. Thus, he called on the nations of the world to rise up against the hegemony of the West, headed by the U.S., and predicted the imminent collapse of Israel, which he called "Satan's standard-bearer."  (MEMRI)
        See also Interview with Iranian President Ahmadinejad (Channel 4-UK)
  • Engaged to Hamas - Melanie Phillips
    In Britain, the volume of pressure to "engage" with Hamas is fast approaching critical mass. While the official position of Prime Minister Gordon Brown is that Britain will never talk to Hamas as long as it aims to eradicate Israel, the number of voices insistently urging that Hamas be "brought in from the cold" has made such a proposition respectable. The most prominent political proponent of "engagement" is the Conservative grandee and former Northern Ireland spokesman Michael Ancram, who has now met Hamas (and Hizbullah) in Beirut on three separate occasions in the past year. Ancram says he believes that a two-state solution to the Israel/Arab conflict is only possible if Hamas is part of that solution. In similar vein, last month the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee recommended that the British government should now "engage" with moderates in Hamas, along with Hizbullah parliamentarians, Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood.
        Ultimately, the "engagement" rationale appears to mean that we should talk to tyrants simply because they have won power, a doctrine which effectively holds that power confers legitimacy, however illegitimately it has been pursued. It is hard to imagine an argument that hands terror a greater victory. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Anti-Semitism Rises Again - Victor Davis Hanson (Washington Times)

    • Who claimed at a UN-sponsored conference that democratic Israel was "much worse" than the former apartheid South Africa, and that it "undermines the international community's reaction to global warming"? Clare Short, a member of the British parliament who was a secretary for international development under Prime Minister Tony Blair.
    • A new virulent strain of the old anti-Semitism is spreading worldwide. This hate - of a magnitude not seen in over 70 years - is not just espoused by Iran's loony president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or radical jihadists. The latest anti-Semitism is also now mouthed by world leaders and sophisticated politicians and academics. Their loathing often masquerades as "anti-Zionism" or "legitimate" criticism of Israel. But the venom exclusively reserved for the Jewish state betrays their existential hatred.
    • Israel is always lambasted for entering homes in the West Bank to look for Hamas terrorists and using too much force. But last week the world snoozed when the Lebanese army bombarded and then crushed the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, which harbored Islamic terrorists.
    • The world has long objected to Jewish settlers buying up land in the West Bank. Yet Hizbullah, flush with Iranian money, is now purchasing large tracts in southern Lebanon for military purposes and purging them of non-Shiites.
    • The world seems to care little about the principle of so-called occupied land - whether in Cyprus or Tibet - unless Israel is the accused. Mass murdering in Cambodia, the Congo, Rwanda, and Darfur has earned far fewer UN resolutions of condemnation than supposed atrocities committed by Israel.
    • For many abroad, attacking Jews and Israel is an indirect way of damning its main ally, the United States - by implying that Americans are not entirely evil, just hoodwinked by those sneaky and far more evil Jews.

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