Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 12, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

IDF Intelligence: U.S. Promised Syria to Discuss Golan Heights at Annapolis (Ha'aretz)
    The U.S. has promised Syria that the issue of the Golan Heights will be brought to the agenda of the upcoming regional meeting scheduled for later this month, the head of Israeli military intelligence said on Sunday.
    Briefing the weekly cabinet meeting, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said that the Americans had made the promise in effort to convince Damascus to participate in the summit, which it is hosting in Annapolis, Maryland.
    See also IDF Intelligence: Iran Able to Bypass U.S. Sanctions - Roni Sofer (Ynet News)
    Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, Director of Military Intelligence, warned Sunday that the effect of the financial sanctions placed on Iran by the U.S. is very limited.
    The Iranians are using several different currencies to bypass the sanctions, including the euro and the yen.
    Regarding the Annapolis meeting, he told the cabinet: "Hamas objects to the fact that Abbas is representing the Palestinian people at Annapolis. They don't believe in the conference and they might try to derail the meet by targeting IDF forces in and around Gaza."

Israel Campus Beat
- November 11, 2007

Point Counter-Point:
    A Parallel Conference to Annapolis in Damascus

U.S. to Purchase $700M in Arms from Israel - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
    The U.S. Congress on Friday approved the purchase of $700 million worth of weapons and technological systems from Israel's defense industries for use by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Weapons and components to be purchased include a navigation and attack sensor system for combat aircraft produced by Rafael, the Israel Aerospace Industries' Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle, Elbit's pilot helmet systems, and Rafael's stabilized marine gun system.

Gunmen Kill Palestinian Who Objected to Shooting at Israelis (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
    On Saturday, Ahmed Suleiman Abu Meghassib, 25, from Wadi al-Salqa village in Gaza, died from a gunshot in the back fired by Palestinian militants when he attempted to prevent them from getting close to his house to fire at Israeli military posts.

AOL Buys Israel's Yedda - Avi Shauli (Ynet News)
    American internet giant AOL announced Monday that it has acquired Israel's Yedda, which specializes in developing semantic search engines based on user input, in a deal estimated to be worth several million dollars.

Israel to Advise Chinese on Olympic Security (JTA)
    Israel will help Chinese security forces prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
    A group of senior Chinese police officers will visit Israel in March for specialized training in counter-terrorism and crowd control ahead of the summer games, security sources said Sunday.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hamas Leader Sees West Bank Takeover If Israel Leaves - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    Hamas Islamists, who seized control of Gaza in June, would take over the West Bank if Israel pulled out of the territory, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said on Friday. "We say to those in the West Bank, take a lesson from what happened in Gaza," Zahar said. Israel has warned that Hamas would be poised to take over the territory were it to withdraw its forces. (Reuters)
  • Iranians Named Over Buenos Aires Bombing - Philip Sherwell
    Iran's deputy defense minister Ahmad Vahidi, a brigadier-general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, is one of five top Teheran officials placed on Interpol's most wanted list for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina that killed 85 people. Ali Fallahian, the former intelligence minister who is now a senior security advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Mohsen Rezai, then commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards, were also added to the Interpol list last week. Interpol named two other senior Iranian officials and Lebanese operative Imad Moughnieh, one of the world's most notorious terrorists, as wanted for the attack in Buenos Aires. (Telegraph-UK)
  • U.S. to Aid Nablus "Facelift" to Win Hearts and Minds - Adam Entous and Atef Sa'ad
    The U.S. plans to rush $1 million in aid to the West Bank city of Nablus, home to 200,000 Palestinians, to try to support Mahmoud Abbas ahead of a U.S.-sponsored conference on statehood. Western diplomats cast the quick infusion of U.S. aid as part of a "hearts and minds" campaign to try to bolster Abbas. The U.S.-funded projects will rebuild schools, clinics and court buildings, senior U.S. officials said at a recent closed-door meeting of the Quartet. The projects are meant to give a facelift to the city, according to U.S., Western and Palestinian officials. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rocket Strikes Kibbutz Dairy, Kills Six Cows
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket Sunday morning that landed in Kibbutz Zikim. Six cows were killed in the attack and four others maimed. Three people working at the cowshed when the rocket landed were treated for shock. (Jerusalem Post/Ynet News)
        See also Two Palestinian Rockets Land South of Ashkelon Monday (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel: No Additional Egyptian Guards Along Border - Barak Ravid and Amos Harel
    Israel has turned down an American proposal to increase the number of Egyptian soldiers deployed along the Philadelphi Route to stem the flow of smuggled weapons from Sinai to Gaza. Foreign Ministry Director General Aharon Abramovitch and the head of the political-military bureau at the Defense Ministry, Amos Gilad, told senior American officials that until Egypt meets its agreements on countering smuggling along the Gaza border, "there is no room to discuss increasing the number of soldiers." The two Israeli officials charged that "Egypt's problem is not the number of soldiers but the lack of motivation."
        Egypt warns that Israeli accusations that the smugglers are being aided by elements in the Egyptian security establishment undermine the motivation of their security forces to fight against the smuggling. Senior Israeli sources said that statistics Cairo is presenting about tunnels uncovered and explosives confiscated are "inflated and baseless." (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas Pledges to Move Arafat's Grave to Jerusalem
    Mahmoud Abbas has pledged to continue to work for the transfer of the body of Yasser Arafat to Jerusalem. He made his promise during the inauguration of a mausoleum dedicated to Arafat in Ramallah on the third anniversary of his death. The shrine is designed to allow its future transfer to Arafat's desired final resting place in Jerusalem. (Maan News-PA)
  • Jumblatt Calls for End of Lebanon-Israel Conflict
    The time has come to take Lebanon out of the Israeli-Arab conflict, Druse leader Walid Jumblatt said in an interview with the Arab satellite television station Al Arabiya on Thursday. According to Israel Radio, Jumblatt said that Lebanon should rest after being in a state of war with Israel for thirty years. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Attorney General Should Drop the "Espionage" Prosecution Against Two Pro-Israel Lobbyists - Norman Pearlstine
    In the next few weeks, the new attorney general is expected to review the Justice Department's flawed, embarrassing prosecution of two former lobbyists for AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The indictments don't accuse the two of spying and the case appears to revolve around telephone and in-person conversations instead of leaked documents.
        The AIPAC lobbyists are the victims of selective prosecution for behavior that has become commonplace. They did what journalists and lobbyists have been doing since the founding of the republic. Before AIPAC, the government had never sought to make receipt of classified information and passing it on to others a crime under the Espionage Act. It is often impossible for a journalist or a lobbyist to know whether leaked information is classified. The writer is a former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and a former editor-in-chief of Time Inc. (Wall Street Journal)
  • LAPD Defends Muslim Mapping Effort - Richard Winton, Teresa Watanabe, and Greg Krikorian
    The Los Angeles Police Department's counter-terrorism bureau has proposed using U.S. census data and other demographic information to pinpoint various Muslim communities and then reach out to them through social service agencies. LAPD officials said that it is crucial for them to gain a better understanding of isolated parts of the Muslim community. Those groups can potentially breed violent extremism, the LAPD said. "This is not...targeting or profiling," Police Chief William J. Bratton said Friday in defending the program. "It is an effort to understand communities," he said.
        The effort faces enormous practical difficulties. The U.S. Census Bureau is barred by law from asking people for their religious affiliation. Census data on ancestry would not yield accurate Muslim estimates, because significant numbers of ethnic Iranians are Jewish and many ethnic Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians are Christians. A Pew Research Center study found striking differences between American Muslims and their European counterparts in often-distressed Muslim enclaves, with more in the U.S. rejecting extremism and supporting coexistence with Israel. Only 2% of American Muslims were low-income, compared with rates of 18% and higher in the UK, France, Germany and Spain. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Understanding the Iranian Threat - Barry Rubin
    Why should Iran having nuclear weapons bother you? Appeasement. Frightened by Iran's possession of nuclear weapons and uncertain of Western protection, Arabic-speaking states will rush to meet Iran's demands. They will be afraid to cooperate with U.S. policy or provide facilities for Western efforts to contain Iran. Given Iran's rejectionist stance, no Arab state, or the Palestinian Authority, would dare move toward peace with Israel. Intoxicated with a belief that Islamism is on the march to victory, tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands will join radical Islamist groups, either clients of Iran or independent ones.
        It is quite conceivable that even if the Iranian government makes no decision to give nuclear weapons to terrorists, super-extremist elements in the regime will do it on their own. Even if Iran never uses nuclear weapons to make mushroom clouds, it will quite effectively use them to gain strategic and economic leverage. The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center at IDC Herzliya. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Challenge of Intelligence Assessment Regarding International Terrorist Organizations - Shabtai Shavit
    Will a nuclear Iran be pragmatic or messianic? Any intelligence officer would recommend that the state should prepare for the worst-case scenario and not for any lesser eventuality. Should fighting terrorism be based on reaction or on pre-emption? Since there is an ongoing war, since the threat is permanent, since the intention of the enemy in this case is to annihilate you, the right doctrine is one of pre-emption and not of reaction. What is the point even morally to wait and only do something when he comes to attack? The writer was former head of the Mossad (1989-1996). (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Observations:

    U.S. and Israel Play Down Hopes for Peace Talks - Steven Erlanger (New York Times)

    • The American-sponsored Middle East peace conference expected by the end of the month looks to be thin on content, mostly serving as a stage to begin formal negotiations on a peace treaty between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli and American officials have been so busy dampening expectations that they are not even calling the event a conference anymore, instead referring to it merely as a "meeting," tentatively scheduled for Nov. 25-27 in Annapolis.
    • Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are having trouble agreeing on even a short declaration about the shape of a final peace. "Because we can't agree on the substance of a joint paper, we prefer to say we're just beginning to negotiate," said a senior Israeli official close to Prime Minister Olmert.
    • The long buildup to Annapolis, together with Ms. Rice's many trips to the region, have given birth to a new verb in Israeli government circles: "lecondel," meaning, to come and go for meetings that produce few results. The word is based on Ms. Rice's first name.
    • Even if a deal is reached, and many are skeptical, it will not be carried out for a number of years. Israel wants to be sure that if it withdraws from the West Bank, there is a reliable Palestinian security force to stop aggression and terrorism - to ensure that a Hamas-run Gaza that fires rockets at Israel is not replicated in the West Bank.
    • As Tony Blair said: "The true Israeli anxiety is focused not only on the territory of the Palestinian state, but on the nature of that state. The true Israeli position is not to agree to a state for the Palestinians unless they are sure of how that state will function, how it will be governed, how viable it will be, and not simply in its territorial contiguity, but in its stability as a long-term partner for peace."

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