Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Massive Explosion at Parchin Missile Production Site of the Iranian Guard Corps - (National Council of Resistance of Iran-UK)
Gambling with a Lie: Enderlin Pulls a Rosemary Woods on Al-Dura Video - Richard Landes (Augean Stables)
Britain Unveils New Anti-Terror Measures - Nigel Morris (Independent-UK)
Leaked E-mail Pitches Prince Charles into Row Over Royal Visit to Israel - Ruth Gledhill (Times-UK)
Poll: 69% of Israeli Jews Oppose Transfer of Parts of Jerusalem to PA (IMRA)
Roman Road, Bath Unearthed Near Jewish Temple Site - Rebecca Harrison (Reuters)
Ruling Jolts Even Saudis: 200 Lashes for Rape Victim - Rasheed Abou-Alsamh (New York Times)
A Distant Affinity: Australian-Israeli Relations - Colin Rubenstein and Tzvi Fleischer (Jewish Political Studies Review)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report on Thursday that Iran had made new but incomplete disclosures about its past nuclear activities, missing a critical deadline under an agreement with the agency and virtually assuring a new push by the U.S. to impose stricter international sanctions. In the report, the agency confirmed for the first time that Iran had reached the major milestone of 3,000 operating centrifuges, a tenfold increase from just a year ago. In theory, that means that it could produce enough uranium to make a nuclear weapon within a year to 18 months. But the agency said that the centrifuges were operating well below their capacity.
The report could also fuel debate about how much time is left for diplomacy to succeed. The confirmation that Iran has 3,000 operational centrifuges suggests that it is quickly moving to a position where it could, if it wanted to, produce a bomb. Last year President Ahmadinejad claimed Iran was developing a more advanced and reliable centrifuge that would quadruple Iran's powers of uranium enrichment. (New York Times)
See also Text of the IAEA Report (New York Times)
See also Nuclear Agency Says Iran Cooperating - But Iran Proceeding with Uranium and Plutonium Programs - Thomas Omestad
The report was unequivocal in verifying that despite Security Council demands to the contrary, Iran is proceeding with uranium enrichment and construction of a heavy-water production plant, which would supply a heavy-water reactor capable of producing plutonium. (U.S. News)
See also Iran Flunks IAEA Report - Christopher Dickey
Repeated IAEA inspections since 2003 have turned up traces of nuclear fuel and important isotopes in places the Iranians couldn't or wouldn't explain. There were indications some of the equipment used for enriching uranium might have gone to the Iranian military. (Newsweek)
The Bush administration plans to push for new sanctions against Iran after the UN nuclear watchdog agency reported Thursday that Tehran is providing "diminishing" information about its controversial nuclear program, U.S. officials said. The IAEA said Iran provided new information on a secret program that became public in 2002, but Iran is less cooperative on its current program.
The U.S. warned Thursday that Iran's failure to fully comply with UN mandates - to suspend enrichment and detail its nuclear program - is grounds for the UN to proceed on a long-delayed resolution imposing new sanctions. "The key thing from the director general's report is that Iran's cooperation remains selective and incomplete," said Gregory L. Schulte, the U.S. envoy to the IAEA in Austria. "So Iran has not met the world's expectation that it would disclose information on both its current and past programs." (Washington Post)
With a proposed Mideast peace conference in Annapolis only weeks away, the lofty goals outlined by President Bush seem to be fading beyond reach, with the meeting likely to be scaled back to a single day, according to senior U.S. officials and outside analysts. The conference, originally expected to be set for late November, might not be held until mid-December, a State Department official hinted Wednesday. Bush's spokeswoman called preparations for the conference "tenuous right now." State Department spokesman Sean McCormack would not confirm that the conference will take place in November. "Look for something before winter - which means Dec. 21," he told reporters. (Baltimore Sun)
Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat's successor, told Palestinians the time has come to overthrow Hamas in Gaza. Abbas says Palestinians are suffering under Hamas rule in Gaza, and the group should be removed - by force if necessary. (VOA News)
See also Palestinians Begin Rebuilding Symbols of Authority: New Security Headquarters - Adam Entous and Wael al-Ahmed
Work crews are laying foundations for a Palestinian state, clearing away the twisted ruins of government compounds destroyed by Israel to start a major rebuilding campaign. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's plan calls for rebuilding eight muqatas - Arabic for headquarters - and other administrative buildings flattened by Israel after the start of a Palestinian uprising in 2000. "It is the symbol of authority," said Fayyad, who estimated the price tag at $100 million, a huge sum for a government already expected to need $1.6 billion in foreign aid to close its annual budget gap. (Reuters)
See also Hamas to Curb Press, Gatherings in Gaza - Sarah El Deeb
Gaza's Interior Ministry said Wednesday that journalists who do not hold Hamas-issued press cards would not be allowed to work in Gaza. News organizations have resisted getting the cards because that entails submitting to restrictions which include a vague ban on stories that "cause harm to national unity" or do not uphold "national responsibilities." Interior Ministry spokesman Ihab Ghussen said the government also planned to impose restrictions on "any rally, march or public event" in Gaza. The Tel Aviv-based Foreign Press Association condemned what it called "harassment of Palestinian journalists in Gaza by Hamas security forces." (AP/Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The Justice Ministry on Thursday confirmed that Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz has approved in principle a plan to reduce the supply of electricity to Gaza in retaliation for Kassam rocket attacks, on condition that the flow is not completely cut off at any time and that residents are given ample warning to forestall any possible humanitarian crisis. Israel directly supplies 62.5% of Gaza's electricity and exports fuel which accounts for another 28% of Gaza's power supply. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Israel Continues Assistance to Gaza
Israel Channel 10 television reported Thursday that Israel recently helped repair Gaza power shortages. When technical problems left the towns of Jabalya and Beit Lahiya in darkness, Palestinians requested assistance from Israel. A team of Palestinian electricity workers was authorized to enter Israel, where its members received instructions on how to fix the problem by Israel Electric Company workers, who also gave them special equipment to do so. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinians in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at Sderot and the western Negev Thursday. One of the rockets landed near a potato packing house in a Negev industrial area, causing some damage. Shortly after the attack, IDF helicopters fired a missile at a Kassam launching cell in Beit Lahiya. According to Palestinian sources, two gunmen were killed and three others were injured. (Ynet News)
A Palestinian man stabbed his Israeli employer multiple times on Thursday in the West Bank settlement of Porat, moderately to seriously wounding him, Israel Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
The 19th anniversary of the declaration of a Palestinian independent state by the Palestinian National Council (PNC) on Thursday, November 15, was particularly subdued across the West Bank and Gaza. The usual rallies and parades were cancelled as people fear the Hamas and Fatah power struggle will once again erupt into violence, as happened on Monday in Gaza City when seven people were killed and dozens injured. The independent state of Palestine was proclaimed by the PNC in Algiers in 1988. (Maan News-PA)
See also Hamas' Violent Suppression of Fatah Rally in Gaza (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Gaza's southern border with Egypt, a no-man's land until Israel pulled out in 2005, is now dominated by colorful encampments which cover the entrances to smuggling tunnels, used to ferry goods and people from Egypt into Gaza. Once a secretive and dangerous industry, smuggling has become open, even respectable. Smugglers are working in clear view of Egyptian border posts and Israeli surveillance. Tunnel worker Abu Adnan, 21, complains that the increase in the number of tunnels is driving down profit margins. So is the heavy taxation imposed by the Hamas police. But there are always new opportunities. Israel has threatened to reduce fuel supplies to Gaza, so Adnan and his friends are already planning a pipe to import subsidized fuel from Egypt. (Economist-UK)
Hundreds of Palestinian business people and professionals, led by billionaire businessman Munib al-Masri, 73, launched the "Palestine Forum," a new political movement, with meetings in Ramallah and Gaza Thursday linked by video conference, reflecting growing disillusionment with Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party. Fatah dominated Palestinian politics for decades, but failed to reform or clean up its corrupt image, even after a loss to Hamas in parliament elections two years ago.
Al-Masri said he plans to emphasize the economy, education and welfare programs for the needy as well as reuniting the West Bank and Gaza. Supporters said al-Masri would convert the new group into a political party and field candidates in the next Palestinian election. The U.S.-educated al-Masri runs an investment company that controls the telecommunications sector and has holdings in industry, agriculture, tourism and in banks. (AP)
Many Gazans were shocked by the reaction of the Hamas policemen, which included the indiscriminate use of live fire to disperse the crowd at the Fatah rally on Monday. Um Ahmed Awouli, 43, a fully veiled mother of five, described herself as a political independent but said she voted for Hamas in the January 2006 parliamentary elections. "Hamas is wrong. Why did they shoot toward the crowd? My son could have been killed....We voted for Hamas, but now we are angry."
On Wednesday, Amnesty International released a statement condemning the "unwarranted use of lethal force" by the police under Hamas control, which resulted in the "unlawful killing" of demonstrators and bystanders, including a child, and the wounding of scores of others. "I saw them beating children, and beating an old woman," said Aliah Suliman, 30, who supports Fatah. "They were brutal. They didn't let an ambulance driver come for those who were bleeding." (International Herald Tribune)
The death of at least six people at a rally in Gaza organized by Fatah on Monday is a black mark against Hamas. There was no reason for Hamas security forces to open fire on the crowd - other than, of course, the fact they could not stomach the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had gathered in the center of Gaza, waving Fatah flags. A more potent sign of Hamas losing the support of Gazans could hardly be imagined. To accuse Hamas of being in the pay of Iran, as demonstrators did - which apparently triggered the shooting - indicates real hatred.
Fatah knows it now has mass support in Gaza. That support is going to grow the longer the blockade lasts and Israel is not going to lift it while Hamas remains in control. A showdown in Gaza is in the cards. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
The U.S. has resumed contacts with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood despite Secretary of State Rice's 2005 commitment not to "engage" with the banned group. U.S. Embassy officials in Cairo said they are acting in conformity with a worldwide policy of dealing with political parties that are represented in their national parliaments. "Any such contacts do not imply American endorsement of the views of the individual parliamentarians or their political affiliates," said Francis J. Ricciardone, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt. (Washington Times)
See also The Muslim Brotherhood: A Moderate Islamic Alternative to al-Qaeda or a Partner in Global Jihad? - Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi (ICA/JCPA)
The U.S. military has its own concerns about the situation in Pakistan. The most alarming is the prospect that Islamic militants could gain control of Pakistan's sizable nuclear arsenal. The U.S. has contingency plans in place under which American Special Forces operatives would deploy to Pakistan to secure nuclear-weapons sites in the event of an Islamic takeover. But some U.S. military and intelligence personnel fear that there may be additional weapons sites that the U.S. doesn't know about. (Wall Street Journal)
On Sep. 29, a homemade bomb exploded in a park in the Maldives capital, Male, wounding 12 tourists. The attack was followed by a bloody confrontation days later between police and masked Islamic extremists armed with harpoons. The government reacted swiftly to crush the fundamentalists. Authorities banned the veil, arrested scores of suspected extremists, sealed underground mosques, and promised a crackdown on radical preachers. "We are not taking chances," Information Minister Mohamed Nasheed said.
By far the most prosperous country in south Asia, with a per capita annual income of $2,700, the republic had seemed safe from the worldwide rise of Islamic militancy. While many high school graduates went to Europe or Australia for a liberal education, others studied religion at extremist institutions in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and spread their radical beliefs across the islands, said Rohan Gunaratna, a Singapore-based terrorism expert. (AP/Washington Post)
Never mind last year's war with Hizbullah in Lebanon, incessant rocket attacks from Gaza and growing concern about the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran. The Israeli stock market is on a roll. Over the past five years to October 15, the Tel Aviv 100-stock index gained a healthy 29% annualized.
Now comes word that Israel's market is being called up to the big leagues, which should result in yet a higher profile for Israeli stocks. The FTSE Group, keeper of more than 100,000 stock, bond and hedge-fund indexes, says it will promote Israel from emerging-market to developed-nation status next June. Because more investors buy into developed markets than emerging nations, the change will pump an additional $3 billion into Israeli stocks, estimates Merrill Lynch strategist Michael Hartnett. (Kiplinger's Personal Finance)
Led by its research and development center in Haifa, Intel Corp., the world's largest semiconductor manufacturer, on Monday unveiled its smallest and fastest processing chipset. Codenamed Penryn, the processors, including 16 eco-friendly and "cooler" chips, are the first to be produced on the company's 45 nanometer (nm) manufacturing process. "This feat, coupled with our industry-leading architectures, means faster and sleeker computers, longer battery life and better energy efficiency," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO.
The chips were built using an entirely new transistor formula that alleviates the wasteful electricity leaks that threaten future computer innovation. "This development marks the biggest transistor advancements in 40 years," said Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. (Jerusalem Post)
Army Capt. Shmuel Felzenberg serves as brigade chaplain with the Army's 82nd Airborne. He wears a black yarmulke, and on his uniform the insignia that mark him as a Jewish chaplain - two tablets topped by a star. In 1999, he walked into an Army recruiter's office in Morristown, NJ. Aware and grateful, he says, "of the persecution and hardship that I did not grow up with," he felt an obligation "as a Jew living in America, reaping the benefits afforded by the Constitution, to pay back." Felzenberg is now on his second wartime deployment - his first was in Iraq. (Christian Science Monitor)
Iran: The Anti-Democracy - Akbar Ganji (Los Angeles Times)
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