Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 10, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Egypt Lets Islamic Jihad Operatives Return to Gaza (Maan News-PA)
    Egyptian authorities on Tuesday permitted the entry of around thirty members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement into Gaza through the Rafah crossing.
    The combatants had been abroad for medical treatment.

UN Ships Disrupt Israeli Satellite TV (AFP)
    Signal disruptions that have plagued Israeli satellite television's nearly one million clients for over a month are believed to be caused by Dutch and German UN ships patrolling off the coast of Lebanon, officials said Wednesday.
    "Officials believe that part of the systems used by UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon) could be the cause for the Yes satellite signal disturbances," said Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev.

Palestinian Authority Daily: Allah, Kill Americans - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
    The PA (Fatah) daily Al-Hayyat al-Jedida ran a political cartoon Tuesday illustrating a prayer for the killing of Americans.
    A Muslim is shown kneeling in prayer facing a U.S. B-2 stealth bomber.
    The words of his prayer are encased in missiles aimed at Americans: "Allah, scatter them!...And turn their wives into widows!...And turn their children into orphans!...And give us victory over them!"

Hizbullah Rebuilding Bunkers in Beirut - W. Thomas Smith Jr. (Washington Times)
    In the al-Dahiyeh district in Beirut, Hizbullah militiamen are reconstructing buildings destroyed by the Israeli air force during the summer war last year in Lebanon in much the same way they had constructed their prewar villages in areas in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.
    "Hizbullah is rebuilding underground positions from which they can store weapons and defend and attack whomever they choose," said Toni Nissi, head of the International Lebanese Committee for UN Security Council Resolution 1559. "UNSCR 1559 specifically calls for the disarming of the militias."
    Al-Dahiyeh is one of four Hizbullah-controlled "security zones" not patrolled by the Lebanese police or the army.
    The Hizbullah-owned Wa'ad construction company is rebuilding homes and commercial buildings in al-Dahiyeh with hidden "battle corridors" linked point by point above and below the ground with other buildings and adjacent neighborhoods.
    The construction includes subterranean command posts, and hollow walls capable of concealing large stockpiles of weapons and ammunition.

Israeli Doctor Elected President of World Medical Association - Yuval Azoulay (Ha'aretz)
    Israel Medical Association Chairman Dr. Yoram Blachar was selected Saturday as president of the World Medical Association.

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  • Israeli Strike on Syria Kindles Debate in U.S. - Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper
    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 Building West Bank Road to Assure Palestinian Contiguity - Karin Laub
    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)
  • Congressmen Seek Guarantees on "Smart" Weapons for Saudis
    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)
  • Report: Hamas and Fatah Killed Innocents in Gaza War - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    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:

  • Barak: Rocket Interception Capabilities Rising - Dan Izenberg and Ehud Zion Waldoks
    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)
  • Report: IDF Kills Fatah Militant in Nablus
    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)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket and several mortars at Israel on Tuesday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Gunmen Fire at Israeli Industrial Zone from West Bank
    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):

  • Preparing for the Military Option - Ephraim Sneh
    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 Treat Iraqi Children - Jamal Halaby
    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)
  • Observations:

    Peace Is Not Going to Erupt in Annapolis - Yoel Marcus (Ha'aretz)

    • On November 29, it will be 60 years since the UN General Assembly approved the Partition Plan for creating two states in Mandatory Palestine. The Jews greeted the resolution with singing and dancing. The Arabs flatly rejected it, opening fire on two civilian buses the very next day.
    • If the Palestinians had accepted the UN Partition Plan in 1947, my guess is that their state would have been bigger, we would have been reasonably good neighbors, and they would be better off than they are today. But the world has changed.
    • The Cold War has turned into a struggle against a new enemy: crazed Islamic fundamentalists who have declared global war on the infidels, on the Great Satan, on the Little Satan. All are targets of deadly, indiscriminate terror - terror that is nurturing nuclear claws.
    • The emissaries and instructors of a Holocaust-denying Muslim leader are infiltrating Israel to help Palestinian extremist organizations complete the job that Hitler didn't finish.
    • Most Palestinians are prepared to divide the country today, but on condition that they don't pay a penny for their idiocy, their ineptitude and their crimes, not to mention the Jewish blood they have spilled. They demand that we turn the clock back, that we pay them restitution, that we agree to their right of return.

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