Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Israel Has Video of Egypt Helping Hamas Terrorists Cross Gaza Border - Yaakov Katz, Herb Keinon, and Hilary Leila Krieger (Jerusalem Post)
PA Terrorists Killed Israeli with Weapons Allowed in from Jordan - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
U.S. Helps Turkey Hit Rebel Kurds in Iraq - Ann Scott Tyson and Robin Wright (Washington Post)
South Korea Chooses Israeli Unmanned Surveillance Plane (AP/Ha'aretz)
Police in Iran Shut 24 Internet Cafes (Reuters/New York Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Russia announced Monday that it has delivered an initial shipment of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran, and said it had received written assurances from the government in Tehran that the 82 tons of fuel would be used only at the Bushehr plant. President Bush expressed support for the Russian delivery, saying it obviates the need for Iran to proceed with a program to enrich uranium. (Washington Post)
87 countries and international organizations pledged $7.4 billion in aid to the Palestinians on Monday at a one-day conference in Paris. However, many countries do not fulfill pledges that they make at such conferences. Egypt and other Arab countries are known for pledging funds to the PA that they do not deliver. (New York Times)
See also Hamas Denounces Paris Donors Conference
"The Paris conference is coating poison with honey and is a dangerous conspiracy," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said Monday. "(Abbas) is cosying up to the Zionist enemy and the American project (in the region) in exchange for millions of dollars to strengthen his security forces for his own personal interests," he added. Hamas had earlier slammed a French proposal for an international force to deploy in the Palestinian territories, calling it a "new plan to destroy the democratic choice of the Palestinian people." (AFP/Yahoo)
Four months into his new role as Middle East envoy, Tony Blair said in an interview that the creation of a Palestinian state does not simply amount to defining territory, but is also about how the Palestinians manage themselves, particularly on the security front. "The single most important thing I can do to help the Palestinians is tell them the truth. And the truth is that there will not be a [Palestinian] state unless the nature of that state is clear," he said. Blair did not believe in engaging Hamas. He stressed that the Islamist group could only be brought into negotiations once it recognized Israel and renounced violence. (Financial Times-UK)
Rarely was a host so happy to see the back of a guest as President Sarkozy was when Muammar Gaddafi and his caravan of 400 followers finally left Paris. For many Parisians, the five-day official visit by the Libyan leader seemed endless after he held court in a big Bedouin tent over the wall from the Elysee Palace. The colonel has reveled in provocation, insulting his hosts, snarling traffic and indulging his whims. He lectured his hosts for abusing the human rights of North African immigrants. Unlike France, Libya has an impeccable rights record, he added.
Gaddafi also wants to ease "the tragic conditions of the European woman, who is forced sometimes into a job that she does not want," he told a hall full of fans. At another session, he told the audience that "the [Christian] cross that you wear has no sense, just like your prayers have no sense." Gaddafi insisted on French television that "My close friend Sarkozy" was not telling the truth when he said that he had brought up Libya's record on human rights during their sessions. "Gaddafi is making fools of us," screamed the France Soir front page. (Times-UK)
See also Libya Doesn't Deserve the Red Carpet - David Schenker (Christian Science Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Olmert is dismayed that Mahmoud Abbas has not passed down to his negotiating team the same pliable positions he has discussed in private, a government official said Monday. Olmert and Abbas have met eight or nine times and told their respective teams to write a paper that would form the basis for negotiations. But when the teams sat down, the official said, the Palestinian side did not do what Abbas had told Olmert would be done.
Following the Paris donors meeting, the Quartet - the U.S., EU, Russia, and the UN - met and issued a statement that "expressed concern over the announcement of new housing tenders for Har Homa." The government official said that Israel had made clear to both the Palestinians and the Americans that building in the Har Homa neighborhood of Jerusalem will continue. (Jerusalem Post)
Early Tuesday, IDF aircraft killed three Islamic Jihad gunmen, including a senior commander, in northern Gaza. In a pair of airstrikes Monday night, IDF aircraft struck two cars in Gaza City, killing six Islamic Jihad militants, including Majed Harazin, the group's overall commander in Gaza and the West Bank and a master rocket maker. Also Tuesday, Islamic Jihad announced that its commander in the northern West Bank had been killed by an undercover IDF unit in the village of Kabatiyeh. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Since its establishment in 1994, the PA has received nearly $6.5 billion in international aid. The assumption was that economic prosperity would weaken radicals and boost the moderates among the Palestinians. But hundreds of millions of dollars went into secret bank accounts or to build villas for senior PA officials. The international community that was pouring money on the PA did not seem to care about the stories of financial corruption and embezzlement. Nor did the donors pay attention to the fact that Arafat was inciting his people not only against Israel, but also against the same "infidels" who were signing his checks.
While the billions of dollars promised at the Paris conference on Monday are likely to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians and strengthen their economy, there is no guarantee that the financial aid would have a moderating effect on many of them. This money is mainly designed to keep Fatah in power and prevent Hamas from taking over the West Bank. Unless the PA changes its rhetoric and starts promoting real peace and coexistence with Israel, the millions of dollars are not going to create a new generation of moderate Palestinians. The only way to undermine Hamas is not by channeling billions of dollars to the PA leadership, but by offering the Palestinians a better alternative to the Islamist movement. (Jerusalem Post)
America is about to enter a new age of talk. Seven years of President Bush's Don't-Talk-to-Evil policy are over. Now administration officials are openly making nice with Syria, holding round after round of talks with Iran over the fate of Iraq, and making preliminary plans for Secretary of State Rice to visit Libya. "Will we talk to the rogues or not?" says Robert J. Einhorn, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He says the answer is clear: We will. (New York Times)
The suicide bombings at UN headquarters and the Supreme Court building in Algiers this month were crimes against humanity. They also offered clues about the aims of al-Qaeda and true scope of the threat from fanaticized jihadists. The primary objective of al-Qaeda and likeminded groups is to overthrow Arab regimes they consider to be un-Islamic, such as the regime in Algeria. In the Algerian press, the bombings were seen as a sign that government efforts to co-opt violent Islamists by pardoning them have failed.
There remains a lingering threat from small bands of radicals intoxicated by a fanciful vision of restoring the glory of a vanished Islamic caliphate around the world. Yet when Muslim communities experience what it would be like to live under the al-Qaeda version of a restored caliphate - as in Iraq's Anbar province - they recoil in horror. (Boston Globe)
See also Al-Qaeda Leader: Restore the Islamic Caliphate from Chechnya to Spain
On December 14, 2007, the Islamist website Al-Hesbah posted an audio address by al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, titled "The Treason...of Annapolis." In it, al-Zawahiri calls on Hamas to reject any political negotiation over the future of Palestine, and to declare its commitment to waging jihad until all Islamic lands - from Chechnya to Andalusia (Spain) - are liberated and subjugated to Islamic rule and until the caliphate is restored. (MEMRI)
A Peaceful Palestinian State Is an Israeli Interest - Tzipi Livni (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Israeli Foreign Minister Livni told the Paris donors conference on Monday:
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