Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Jane's: Dozens Dead in Syrian-Iranian Chemical Weapons Accident (Ynet News)
Syria Voted Co-chairman of IAEA - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
Israel, U.S. Flags Trampled at Koran Exhibition in Iran - Dudi Cohen (Ynet News)
Hamas Leaders Boost Security (Jerusalem Post)
Swedish Artist Displays Prophet Cartoon - Louise Nordstrom (AP/Washington Post)
Scottish Student Guilty in Terror Case - David Stringer (AP)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Egyptians, under pressure from the U.S. and Israel, recently changed all the security officers along the Gaza-Egypt border, replacing many of those who had been bought off by smugglers. Muhammad, 37, a smuggler whose father dug one of the first tunnels between Gaza and Egypt in 1984, said Egypt is clearing almost 1,000 feet of houses from the Egyptian side of Rafah, a city cut in two by the border. When Israel cleared Palestinian houses in Rafah to stop smuggling tunnels, there was an international uproar.
"Hamas wants to control any arms or explosives that come into Gaza now, it's very simple," he said. "Hamas is cracking down, because they're afraid we'll sell to Fatah." "But there's no business at all now," Muhammad said, except in nitrate, prized both for explosives and fertilizer. "Hamas doesn't ask for money, but for nitrate," he said, taking a third of a shipment. Hamas then sells small amounts to other militant groups, like Islamic Jihad, Muhammad said. (New York Times)
The Bush administration's proposed $20 billion dollar weapons sale to Saudi Arabia brought new allegations on Capitol Hill Tuesday that the monarchy has been lax in countering terrorism. At a hearing, Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, said the Bush administration has been unable to persuade Saudi rulers to stop the flow of fighters to Iraq and to attend a proposed regional meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Then why," he asked, "should we believe that they see the war on terror as we do, and why sell them those weapons?" "In the end," he said, "selling them arms won't guarantee their cooperation, much less their love."
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the U.S. had permitted the Saudis to "get off the hook" on failure to counter terrorism. "They have to prove they are not in a secret coalition with terrorists" to harm Americans, he said. (AP)
In the six months since the UN Security Council acted to freeze the assets and curb the overseas travel of Iranian officials, including members of the Revolutionary Guards, an embarrassing snag has occurred: the U.S. lacks passport numbers and other data to go after most of the people listed. Officials acknowledge that the U.S. has not carried out existing Security Council penalties on several companies linked to Iran's nuclear and missile programs because they lack identifying information that would ensure that the right companies are punished. (New York Times)
Officials from Israel and Iran put aside political animosity Tuesday to work together in using Israeli forensics expertise to identify their dead from the crash of a jetliner on the Thai resort island of Phuket. Six Israelis and 18 Iranians were among the 89 people killed. "It's human nature to help in solving this problem as soon as possible," Safdar Shafiee from the Iranian Embassy in Bangkok said after shaking hands with Yaki Oved, head representative of Israeli police in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. "The main thing is to help. You don't think about the politics," Oved said. (AP/Yahoo)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel's security cabinet declared Gaza an "enemy entity" on Wednesday, voting among other things to disrupt its power supply as a response to the ongoing Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli communities. The ministers decided, however, not to disrupt Gaza's water supply. (Ha'aretz)
Israeli authorities foiled a plot by a Hamas militant to attack Israeli tourists at a hotel in Jordan, Prime Minister Olmert's office announced Tuesday. Khader Shkeir, from the West Bank village of Ein Arik, admitted to planning the attack during a visit to Jordan in 2005 with an accomplice. The suspects chose the Radisson SAS hotel in Amman and a second hotel as their targets. The pair planned to board a bus carrying tourists to the hotels and carry out a mass shooting attack. They bought two AK-47 automatic weapons for the attack, but then Jordanian authorities arrested Shkeir and deported him to the West Bank. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
Israeli forces are hunting a Hamas cell based in the Nablus area which is believed to be planning a suicide bombing in Israel. IDF officers say terrorist groups in the city are intent on sending suicide bombers into Israel.
According to Palestinian sources, some Fatah militants are still refusing to lay down their arms, and most of them are in Ein Beit Ilma or in Nablus. Moreover, several of those who signed up for the amnesty deal continue to hold on to their arms, the sources said. (Ha'aretz)
600 Israeli holidaymakers were evacuated from the "Dream Princess" on Tuesday after the boat began sinking at the Greek island of Rhodes, Israel Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
It is a disgrace to the founding principles and mission of the UN that Iranian President Ahmadinejad will be allowed to speak before the body next week during the gathering of its General Assembly. Ahmadinejad, who is slated to speak next Tuesday, has openly called for the destruction of Israel, a UN member-state. Under the shadow of the Holocaust, the UN was founded in 1945 by a war-torn world weary of conflict and ready to embrace peace, social progress and human rights. Ahmadinejad has chosen to call for another genocide - and of the same original victims. This is in flagrant disregard of the UN's mission. (Washington Times)
"Who killed Watan?" cried the dozens of youngsters on the stage of the Shawah, the largest theater in Gaza, as they pointed accusing fingers at a group of older actors waving the flags of the Palestinian resistance movements: Fatah, Hamas, Iz a-Din al-Qassam, the Al-Quds Brigade and Islamic Jihad. This time there were none of the usual anti-Israel slogans. The play, "Watan," sends a new, revolutionary message. "Enough of always blaming the Israelis for our problems. The time has come for a reckoning, and to condemn those among us who are bringing catastrophe down upon our people," says poet-director Saed Swerky, 37, the author of the play.
Watan, which means "homeland" in Arabic, was a 12-year-old boy who was killed during the Fatah-Hamas clashes that engulfed Gaza in June. The play premiered on Aug. 13. Thousands of people sat mesmerized for more than two hours, applauding during the most dramatic scenes: prisoners thrown from the roofs of 15-story buildings; people shot in the knees; militants who used to be on the same side exchanging insults. This article first appeared in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. (Ha'aretz)
On May 8, I was arrested by agents of Iran's Intelligence Ministry on suspicion of working to destabilize the Islamic Republic. For the next 105 days, a cell in Ward 209 of Tehran's Evin Prison would be my "home." I had flown to Tehran last December to visit my 93-year-old mother. But in January the authorities prevented me from leaving. I underwent many weeks of intensive interrogation by intelligence ministry officials, centering on my activities as director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. The charge seemed ludicrous. I, a 67-year-old grandmother, was being accused of threatening the security of the most populous and powerful country in the Middle East because I had organized conferences in Washington on Iran and other states of the region.
The Intelligence Ministry believes that the Bush administration hopes to encourage a "velvet" revolution in Iran, like the peaceful ones that occurred in Georgia and Ukraine. To achieve this end, it uses think tanks, foundations and universities to organize workshops for Iranian women, to invite Iranian opinion-makers and scholars to conferences and to offer them fellowships. In time, Iranian officials believe, the administration hopes to create a network of like-minded people in Iran who are intent on regime change. Iranian officials see an alert and vigilant Islamic Republic as successfully foiling this plan. (Washington Post)
Syria's Role in Regional Destabilization: An American View - David Schenker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert