Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Thousands of Iranian Soldiers in Lebanon - W. Thomas Smith Jr. (National Review)
Israel Campus Beat
- September 30, 2007
Should Columbia Have Invited Iranian President Ahmadinejad to Speak?
Iran's New Fighter Plane: Technology of
Two Generations Ago - Reuben F. Johnson (Weekly Standard)
Pentagon Readies $1.2 Billion Package to Replenish Israel Air Force War Stocks - Barbara Opall-Rome (Defense News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israel began releasing 87 jailed Palestinians on Monday, members of Abbas' Fatah or smaller secular factions, in a move aimed at strengthening Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last week that only prisoners "without blood on their hands" - a reference to deadly attacks against the Jewish state - and willing to sign a document renouncing violence would be freed. The last such gesture by Israel was on July 20, when some 250 prisoners, most of them from Fatah, went free. Twenty-nine of the 87 prisoners on Monday's release roster come from Gaza and the others from the West Bank. (Reuters/Washington Post)
In a deal between Hamas and Egypt, around 85 militants crossed into Gaza on Sunday through Rafah, a terminal on the Egyptian border, after having been stranded in Egypt since Hamas seized Gaza in June. The militants, who included senior Hamas figures, had refused to avail themselves of an alternative return route to Gaza that runs through neighboring Israel for fear of being arrested by the Israelis. (Reuters/Washington Post)
See also Report: Hamas Exchanges Al-Qaeda Fugitive for Stranded Fighters
Hamas transferred a fugitive al-Qaeda member to Egypt on Sunday in return for Egypt's opening the Rafah crossing to dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad members, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported on Monday. The unexpected move contradicted agreements Israel had with Egypt regarding the Rafah crossing. Israeli defense sources estimated that many of the group had undergone training in Iran and Syria. (Jerusalem Post)
The prospect of an academic boycott of Israeli universities receded sharply Friday as leaders of the lecturers' union contemplating the move were told it would be illegal. The British University and College Union (UCU) immediately suspended further action on the measure. Legal advice to the union's strategy and finance committee said a boycott call ran the risk of infringing discrimination legislation and was also considered outside the aims and objects of the union. Sally Hunt, general secretary of the UCU, insisted the majority of the union's 120,000 members would neither support a boycott call nor regard it as a priority. (Guardian-UK)
Annapolis will host a Middle East peace meeting late in November at the U.S. Naval Academy. U.S. officials said the Bush administration selected the academy in part because it provides a secure facility convenient to Washington. Also, they said, unlike the presidential retreat at Camp David and the Wye Plantation on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the academy is not associated with unsuccessful peace efforts during the Clinton administration. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will host the meeting of Arab and Israeli leaders to discuss terms for a Palestinian state and peace with Israel. President Bush is widely expected to address the meeting. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Two Palestinian gunmen spotted advancing towards the border fence between Israel and Gaza just north of the Karni goods crossing were killed on Sunday evening after opening fire and throwing hand grenades at an IDF force. The troops fired back and the army said both gunmen were hit. (Ynet News)
The Ford Foundation said it would "review" questions raised about funds channeled to Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), following a critique by an Israeli NGO watchdog. NGO Monitor, based in Jerusalem, recently released a report on donations by the Ford Foundation to a number of Palestinian organizations, charging that the foundation had "violated its own funding guidelines."
"Following exposure of the Ford Foundation's support for radical participants in the infamous NGO Forum of the Durban 2001 conference, Ford officials pledged to stop 'supporting organizations whose conduct is antithetical to our objectives of promoting peace, justice, tolerance and understanding.' However, as planning begins for a follow-on UN conference in 2009...many Ford-funded NGOs continue to violate Ford's terms," NGO Monitor said. Based in New York, the foundation has an endowment valued at $11.6 billion. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
On March 17, 1992, a suicide bomber crashed an explosive-filled truck into a building filled with Israelis in Buenos Aires - 29 innocents were killed and hundreds more were injured. On July 18, 1994, the target was the Jewish community center in the center of the city - 85 were killed. One of the key officials assigned to the investigation was Miguel Angel Toma (later appointed by then President Eduardo Duhalde as secretary of intelligence from 2002-03). He concluded not only that Hizbullah carried out the attacks in Argentina, but that at least one of them was planned in Iran at the highest levels of the Iranian government, aided by a sophisticated sleeper-cell network in Latin America.
Toma says he's certain of the date, location and participants in the decision by the Iranian government to execute the second Buenos Aires attack. He pinpoints it to a meeting in the Iranian city of Mashhad on Aug. 14, 1993, presided over by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, then and now the Supreme Leader of Iran; and the Iranian president at the time, Ali-Akbar Rafsanjani. Argentina has issued warrants for nine Hizbullah operatives and Iranian leaders, including Rafsanjani. Nobody has been arrested. Indeed, Rafasanjani continues to be described in the Western media as a leading Iranian "moderate." The writer is a former foreign-policy adviser to the Bush administration. (Wall Street Journal)
Ahmadinejad thinks that his side is winning and the West is weak and in retreat. Will Iran use the nuclear weapons it is developing? The bombs and missiles would be held by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Ahmadinejad's close ally and the main liaison between Iran and terrorist groups, itself raising the prospect of their being used. But even if Iran never used nuclear weapons, the effect on the region would be devastating. Arab governments would rush to appease Iran; and large numbers of Arabs would rush to join radical Islamist groups, believing that this movement is the wave of the future.
Taking a tough stand against Ahmadinejad is necessary to convince his colleague-rivals that they must get rid of this guy and tone down their country's behavior in order to ensure their own survival and that of their regime. (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas wants you to believe it has created a benevolent sanctuary where once chaos reigned. At the beginning of the journey into Gaza it's easy to believe that things are better. Then you start talking to people - in private. Young men show you bruised limbs and welts on their feet; every girl wears a hijab head covering and, for the first time, women wear niqab - Saudi-style face coverings that reveal only the eyes. And people whisper. Welcome to Hamastan. Gazans are living in a climate of fear. The place is eerily serene, not only because of the presence of disciplined Hamas security forces on the streets but, as in all successful police states, because everyone has started policing themselves, afraid of the consequences of stepping over a line not defined in formal law.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya may say that women are free not to cover their heads, but before I go to his office an aide calls to tell me to be sure to wear a headscarf. Recognizing Palestinian rights is Hamas-speak for "We want all of the land of Mandate Palestine, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River," a maximalist position that ignores the fact that most Palestinians have moved on from 1948 to accept the existence of Israel, and would settle for a two-state solution. (Times-UK)
Denial and Hope in the Mideast - Mortimer Zuckerman (U.S. News)
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