Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Egypt Lets Islamic Jihad Operatives Return to Gaza (Maan News-PA)
UN Ships Disrupt Israeli Satellite TV (AFP)
Palestinian Authority Daily: Allah, Kill Americans - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
Hizbullah Rebuilding Bunkers in Beirut - W. Thomas Smith Jr. (Washington Times)
Israeli Doctor Elected President of World Medical Association - Yuval Azoulay (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
A sharp debate is under way in the Bush administration about the significance of the Israeli intelligence that led to last month's Israeli strike inside Syria. The debate has fractured along now-familiar fault lines, with Vice President Cheney and conservative hawks portraying the Israeli intelligence as credible and arguing that it should cause the U.S. to reconsider its diplomatic overtures to Syria and North Korea. By contrast, Secretary of State Rice and her allies have said they do not believe that the intelligence presented merits any change in the American diplomatic approach.
Current and former American officials said Israel presented the U.S. with intelligence over the summer about what it described as nuclear activity in Syria and told the White House shortly in advance of the September raid. One former top Bush administration official said Israeli officials were so concerned about the threat posed by a potential Syrian nuclear program that they told the White House they could not wait past the end of the summer to strike the facility. According to a Middle East security analyst in Washington, Syrian officials told visiting Turkish officials last week that what the Israelis hit was a storage depot for strategic missiles.
Bruce Riedel, a veteran of the CIA and the National Security Council and now a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, said Israel would not have launched the strike in Syria if it believed Damascus was merely developing more sophisticated ballistic missiles or chemical weapons. "Those red lines were crossed 20 years ago," he said. "You don't risk general war in the Middle East over an extra 100 kilometers' range on a missile system." Another former intelligence official said Syria was attempting to develop airburst capability for its ballistic missiles, where warheads detonate in the air to disperse the warhead's material more widely. (New York Times)
Israel confirmed Tuesday it is building a new 10-mile road to help connect Palestinian communities in the West Bank. "Due to the construction of the security fence in Maaleh Adumim, a need arose to build a road to directly connect the Bethlehem and Judea regions (southern West Bank) and the Jericho and Jordan Valley area (in the east), in order to improve quality of life for the Palestinians," an Israel Defense Ministry statement said. The road will be built on 400 acres, of which 56 acres were expropriated from Palestinian land owners, the ministry said. Benny Kashriel, the mayor of Maaleh Adumim, said Palestinian motorists would eventually be able to drive from the southern to the northern West Bank without encountering any Israeli checkpoints. (AP/Washington Post)
U.S. Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Christopher Carney (D-Pa.) are circulating a letter in Congress that would make the $20 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia dependent on the president's written certification that certain "smart" weapons would never be used against the U.S. or its allies in the Middle East. The arms sale may include Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which turn unguided bombs into precision instruments. "If JDAM technology falls into the wrong hands, it could significantly harm U.S. forces in the region and undercut Israel's qualitative military edge," the letter says. "Any sale of JDAM technology to Saudi Arabia must come with guarantees backed by strict conditions notified to Congress followed by regular reporting, tight Congressional oversight and intense consultations with our ally Israel." (JTA)
Hamas and Fatah committed "grave breaches" of international law in their civil war in Gaza in June, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said Tuesday in a new report detailing a series of extra-judicial killings. 161 Palestinians, of whom 41 were civilians, were killed during fighting. The PCHR "documented a number of cases in which militants executed wounded persons during their evacuation to hospitals," the 105-page report said. At least two people - a Fatah fighter and a Hamas member - were pushed to their deaths from tall buildings. In one incident, a wounded Fatah member was shot dead in a hospital by Hamas gunmen. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel will have a shield that will protect it from "about 90% of Shihab to Kassam rocket attacks within a few years," Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Knesset State Control Committee on Tuesday. However, none of the systems will be able to stop mortar shells as they are too small and their flight time too short to be intercepted.
Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told the committee that if a new threat should arise of the scale of the 2006 war, the government should declare an emergency situation (which it did not do in 2006) and mobilize all the home front forces. Ashkenazi also said that the missile threat to the home front was not going to disappear anytime soon. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Pressure in Israel for Missile Defense - Ilene R. Prusher (Christian Science Monitor)
Palestinian security sources said that Israel Defense Forces troops killed Amar Ein Abousi of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and wounded Sudian Kandeel, the group's leader, during a gunfight in the West Bank city of Nablus early Wednesday. Witnesses said that IDF commandos infiltrated the old city of Nablus disguised as Palestinian security forces, and spoke in Arabic to passers-by. (Ha'aretz)
Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket and several mortars at Israel on Tuesday. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinian gunmen on Tuesday shot towards an Israeli factory in an industrial zone west of the West Bank city of Tulkarem, near the Israeli city of Netanya. (Maan News-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel cannot reconcile with the notion that a regime, ideologically committed to its destruction, will hold nuclear weapons. One of the central lessons of the Holocaust is that we should not ignore the mix of hatred of Jews and enormous military power. Military action is not the preferred option. First the option of serious economic sanctions must be exhausted, the kind of sanctions that can undermine the Iranian regime, or force it to relinquish its efforts to develop nuclear arms. The most effective sanction may be preventing the sale of refined petroleum products to Iran, particularly gasoline for cars. Currently, half the gasoline consumed in Iran is imported, mostly from India, the UAE and the Netherlands. The problem is that states are in no rush to impose real sanctions. (Ha'aretz)
Israeli doctors screened 40 Iraqi children suffering from heart disease Tuesday at the Red Crescent hospital in Amman, Jordan. Dr. Zion Houri, director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel, said he thought "ties and friendship" were being built through his work in Jordan. "Our only previous exchanges with the Iraqis are the Scud missiles," he said, referring to the missiles Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, fired on Israel during the 1991 Gulf War.
One child screened Tuesday was 4-year-old Mustafa, who was diagnosed with crossed arteries and would need two surgeries in Israel soon. Mustafa's mother, Suzanne, said traveling to Israel made her "anxious. Not because I'm going to a country considered an enemy of Iraq, but because I'm afraid of retribution by Iraqi militants, by the terrorists back home...but I'm willing to take the risk to save my beloved son's life." "Israel is a good country. It's a country that has mercy on other people," she added. Abu Ahmed, 36, from Kirkuk, said his 12-year-old daughter, Basita, underwent a successful surgery in Israel last year. "They (Israelis) are not our enemies," he said. "They helped me a lot and didn't make me feel like they were enemies. Many Muslims have a wrong idea about Israelis."
In four years, 35 Iraqis have received surgery in Israel through the program, sponsored by Save a Child's Heart, a humanitarian organization that has treated more than 1,700 children from 28 countries. (AP)
Peace Is Not Going to Erupt in Annapolis - Yoel Marcus (Ha'aretz)
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