Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 23, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

SAS Raiders Enter Iran to Kill Gunrunners - Michael Smith (Sunday Times-UK)
    British special forces have crossed into Iran several times in recent months as part of a secret border war against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Al-Quds special forces, defense sources have disclosed.
    There have been at least half a dozen intense firefights between the SAS and arms smugglers, a mixture of Iranians and Shi'ite militiamen.
    "Last month, they were involved in six significant contacts, which killed 17 smugglers and recovered weapons, explosives and missiles," a source said.
    There have been persistent reports of American special-operations missions inside Iran preparing for a possible attack.
    In addition, Britain's forces have more than 70 Farsi experts monitoring Iranian communications, and the intelligence is shared with the U.S.

Iran Accuses U.S., Israel of Manufacturing "Genetic" Weapon to "Kill Specific Peoples" (MEMRI)
    Iranian Gen. Mir Feysal Bagherzadeh has accused the U.S. and Israel of "seeking to manufacture a [genetic] weapon which could kill specific peoples in a limited geographical area."

Indonesian Journalists Visit Israel - Calev Ben-David (Jerusalem Post)
    Eight Indonesian journalists from the world's most populous Muslim nation are visiting Israel through the joint efforts of the Australian Israel and Jewish Affairs Committee (AIJAC) and the American Jewish Committee.
    "There is new thinking in Indonesia, including in the government, about upgrading relations with Israel," said Endy Bayuni, editor-in-chief of the English-language Jakarta Post.
    "Israelis are quietly doing business with Indonesians, and in places like Bali you can see Israeli flags openly displayed in tourist stores or restaurants."
    Bambang Harymurti, editor-in-chief of Tempo Weekly magazine, said, "Frankly, before coming here I thought of Israel as something of a police state, but you probably see more police and soldiers on the streets of Jakarta."

Al-Qaeda Targets West from Horn of Africa - David Blair (Telegraph-UK)
    The Horn now ranks alongside the Middle East as the area of greatest concern to British counter-terrorism officials, coming second only to Pakistan, where al-Qaeda's core leaders are ensconced.
    Al-Qaeda operatives based in the Horn, probably in the failed state of Somalia, could choose to target Britain, which has a large Somali community.
    Of the four men convicted for the failed bomb attacks in London on 21 July 2005, all were from the Horn and two were of Somali origin.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • No Convictions in Trial Against Muslim Charity - Leslie Eaton
    A deadlocked federal jury in Dallas did not convict any leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development who were charged with supporting Middle Eastern terrorists, and the judge Monday declared a mistrial in what has been widely viewed as the government’s flagship terror-financing case. The jury acquitted one of the five defendants on all but one charge, on which it deadlocked. A majority of the jurors also appeared ready to acquit two other defendants of most charges, and could not reach a verdict on charges against the two principal organizers and the foundation itself, which had been the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. until the government froze its assets in 2001. (New York Times)
  • Olmert, Sarkozy See Eye-to-Eye on Iran - Ron Bousso
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that France and Israel share "identical" views on the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program following talks in Paris with President Nicolas Sarkozy. French presidential spokesman David Martinon said, "Israel and France share the view that the Iranian nuclear program must be implemented with the greatest transparency and for peaceful ends." "A nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable for France and for Israel," he said. (AFP/Yahoo)
        See also Olmert Hits Back at IAEA Chief Over Iran
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday took a swipe at UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei for saying there was no clear and present danger from Iran's nuclear program. ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told Le Monde that Iran would need "between three and eight years" to develop a nuclear bomb. "If ElBaradei thinks that an Iranian bomb in three years time does not bother him, it certainly worries me, even extremely," Olmert said. "It would be better if ElBaradei made an effort to prevent them from obtaining a bomb." (AFP/SpaceWar)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Foreign Minister: Palestinian Moderates Can't Implement Deals - Attila Somfalvi
    Speaking at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya on Monday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said: "There is no disputing the fact that there is a gap between the will of the pragmatic Palestinian leaders and their capability to execute. Even if we do, hopefully, resolve the principal issues relating to the Palestinian state, it is clear that we cannot just separate and throw the key to the other side and hope for the best."
        "The Gaza experience is a living example of what the world cannot afford. Israel fully withdrew from the Gaza Strip, thus terminating its so-called occupation of the Strip, and allowing the Palestinians to establish independent governance. In return, we received increased terror, daily Kassam rocket attacks against cities in Israel and the establishment of a Hamas stronghold on our southern border. We must ensure that there is an efficient and effective government which takes control over the area and prevents attacks against Israel." (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Creating Humanitarian Crisis to Pressure Israel - Yaakov Katz
    Hamas is unnecessarily endangering Palestinian civilians in Gaza by generating phony humanitarian crises, head of the Gaza Coordination Liaison Administration (CLA) Col. Nir Press said Monday. "They wait until the last moment and then tell us they are running out of supplies so they can create this image of a crisis." Press said that any order of medical supplies or food was immediately processed, and that Palestinians were allowed to cross from Gaza into Israel for medical treatment daily. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Islamic Jihad Militants Killed in Jenin - Amos Harel
    Two Islamic Jihad militants were killed in the West Bank city of Jenin early Tuesday in a gun battle that erupted when the two attempted to escape from a house that had been surrounded by Israel Defense Forces troops. One of those killed was Khaled Hussein, a senior Islamic Jihad leader, who had taken part in planning several terrorist attacks. (Ha'aretz)
  • Six Palestinian Rockets Hit Israel Monday - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired six Kassam rockets toward Israel on Monday. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attacks. Two rockets landed near the Erez crossing, another hit the Yad Mordechai junction area, while a fourth landed near a kibbutz. Two fires broke out as a result of the rocket fire. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Coming U.S.-Russian Train Wreck - Is Israel Caught in the Middle? - Ariel Cohen
    The current elites define Russia's strategic goals as being in opposition to the U.S. and its policies. The Moscow propaganda machine is only a step away from putting Israel on the "short list" of designated enemies. Jerusalem's relationship with Moscow may deteriorate if Russia continues to treat Israel as an American satellite state. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Iran's Desperation Makes It More Deadly - Reda Mansour
    Only a miracle could now save the failed Iranian Islamic Revolution. More than 20% of the nation is unemployed, the educated are leaving the country, and despite its massive oil reserves, Iran is heavily dependent on imported fuel. Ahmadinejad is selling the nuclear illusion to his citizens to distract them from his and Khomeini's monumental failure.
        We have no assurance that Ahmadinejad would not pass the bomb to one of his many proxy terrorist groups in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza to be detonated in London, Paris, New York or Tel Aviv. In fact, I believe he would, for dictators never know when to stop, and in their desperation they don't hesitate to take others down with them. The writer is Israel's consul general in Atlanta. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Is the Peace Process Really Over? - Gwynne Dyer
    The last nail was hammered into the coffin of the "peace process" with the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, which flatly rejects the idea of Palestinian and Israeli states living side-by-side. Hamas' seizure of power there last June has effectively split the Palestinian proto-state in two. How can Israel do a deal with Mahmoud Abbas when he only controls the West Bank and cannot deliver Hamas' consent to the deal? Israelis who genuinely want a deal are increasingly reluctant to hand over territory in return for peace, since they cannot be sure that the regimes they are dealing with will stay in power.
        What if Israel finally gave the Golan Heights back to Syria in return for a peace treaty, and then a few years later President Assad was overthrown by Islamists who repudiated the treaty and remilitarized the Golan? What if the Islamists were to come to power in Egypt? In the 2005 election, the Muslim Brotherhood increased its seats in parliament fivefold, from 17 to 88. One of its promises, if it was elected, was to hold an immediate referendum on the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979. Egyptians would probably vote to cancel the treaty. It really is over: there will be no comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace deal in this decade. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • Observations:

    Egypt's Warming - and Enabling - Cooperation with Hamas - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)

    • Is Egypt happy when Israel bleeds? The flood of smuggled arms into Gaza from Sinai raises the suspicion that the answer is yes. The impression is that Cairo has no great desire to stop the smuggling - and that 30 years after making peace with Israel, Egypt has no real objections to attacks continuing on southern Israel from Gaza.
    • Israel's security services have been continually upping their estimates of the quantity of arms smuggled into Gaza in recent months. Knowledgeable Palestinian sources say the floodgates have burst since Fatah's security personnel were expelled from the Gaza-Egypt border four months ago. Egypt is becoming one of Hamas' strategic partners. Hamas owes the Egyptian security services, for turning a blind eye to the arms smuggling and helping Hamas build up its forces.
    • Israeli sources say Egyptian Intelligence - headed by General Omar Suleiman - favors a conciliatory policy toward Hamas, and Suleiman appears to be setting the tone. A senior Fatah official commented that Egyptian Intelligence, "which knows about every husband who cheats on his wife in Cairo," has been demonstrating surprising helplessness in the face of the arms smuggling from Sinai.

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