Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


January 14, 2008

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Bush Privately Lauds Israeli Attack on Syria - Barbara Opall-Rome and Vago Muradian (Defense News)
    On Jan. 9, in one of the most extensive, face-to-face security discussions since an Israel Air Force attack on a Syrian nuclear reactor on Sep. 6, U.S. President George W. Bush privately commended his Israeli host on what was described as an important preventive action, according to an Israeli official briefed on the exchange.
    The official said he understood the U.S. president's comments as endorsement of the pre-emptive necessity of the Syrian strike.
    "That problem appears to be solved for the time being," the official said of the Syrian nuclear threat.

Arabs Demand Clarifications from U.S. on Planned Trip to Mark Palestinian Nakba (Maan News-PA)
    Arab states are demanding that the U.S. clarify the purpose of a planned return trip by President Bush to Israel in May to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel, the UAE-based Al-Khalij newspaper reported Sunday.
    Arab states have communicated their disappointment to the Americans over the plan, which also marks the 60th anniversary of what Palestinians call the Nakba, the "catastrophe."
    See also Bush Pledges to Return to Israel in May (Ynet News)

Report: Egypt Arrests Terror Cell Planning Attacks on Israel - Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
    Al-Jazeera reported Sunday that Egyptian security forces arrested two military officers and 12 engineers two months ago who were planning on building an unmanned aerial vehicle to use against targets in Israel.
    Security sources in Cairo said the commander of the terrorist cell was an engineer who visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE where he is suspected to have met with al-Qaeda terrorists from Afghanistan.

Travel Permits to Gazans for Medical Care Up 50 Percent - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    More than 7,000 Palestinians were allowed to travel to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank in 2007 - an increase of 50% over 2006, the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration reported Sunday.
    Close to 8,000 more Palestinians were allowed to accompany them.

Useful Reference:

New Arabic Website Covers Western Media (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The Jerusalem Center has launched - a new Internet website in Arabic to provide Arab readers with highlights from articles published in the Western media dealing with Middle East and terrorism issues.
    The site editor is Zvi Mazel, former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt and Sweden.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
G-Alert (Hebrew)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Admits Mideast Peace Deal Hangs on Fate of Gaza
    A senior U.S. official acknowledged on Saturday that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would depend on the fate of Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas. The official said the fate of Bush's targeted peace deal by the end of this year depended on Abbas taking back control of Gaza. "I don't think in the long term that an agreement is going to work if Hamas continues to control Gaza," he said. The official also drew a distinction between any Israeli-Palestinian agreement and its actual implementation. "The parties will have to agree on how they want to structure the agreement, but I think that there have been general thoughts that there will be first a framework and later a comprehensive agreement....This will all play out in quite a period of time."  (AFP/Yahoo)
        See also Olmert: Bush Said No Peace Deal Will Be Implemented Until Violence from Gaza Ends
    Prime Minister Olmert reported to the Cabinet Sunday on the visit to Israel of President Bush: "The President...reiterated the U.S.'s absolute commitment that no agreement between us and the Palestinians can be carried out on the ground before the Roadmap is implemented in full, including all of its commitments regarding the security of the State of Israel both in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria. There is no separation between Gaza and Judea and Samaria regarding the Palestinians' commitments. The U.S. President said that we are discussing the establishment of two states for two peoples and not three states for two peoples. The emphasis on this is very important."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • U.S.: Iranian Bombs Rise in Iraq
    Attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq with bombs believed linked to Iran - known as explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) - have risen sharply in January after several months of decline, according to Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq. "EFPs have gone up, actually, over the last 10 days by a factor of two or three, he said. The Bush administration and the military have long maintained that Iranian agents, particularly the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, have been arming and training Iraqi insurgents. (CNN)
  • Al-Qaeda Militants Ransack Gaza School
    Militants from the "Army of Believers, Al-Qaeda in Palestine" ransacked the American International School in northern Gaza, three days after armed men fired anti-tank rockets at the building, causing serious damage. The private school's director, Rabhi Salem, said Saturday that five buses and a car were set ablaze. The school, which was also the target of a bomb attack in April 2007, has an enrollment of 150 students. (AFP)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S.: American Roadmap Monitors Will Report, Not Judge - Mazal Mualem and Barak Ravid
    Three U.S. generals will monitor Israeli and Palestinian compliance with the Roadmap for peace, but won't act as judges, a senior U.S. official said Saturday. The same source said that U.S. Secretary of State Rice plans frequent Mideast trips to reach a peace deal by the end of 2008. A three-way committee headed by Lt. Gen. William M. Fraser III, a U.S. air force general, will now deal with grievances, mainly over noncompliance with the Roadmap. However, the general's mandate falls short of a judge, said the U.S. official. Fraser will send his findings back to Washington, the official said. "The judging...would be done at a higher level," he said. The general will be based in Washington, but will make frequent trips to the region. (Ha'aretz)
  • Gazans Returning from Haj Smuggled In $100 Million for Hamas - Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff and Barak Ravid
    Hamas smuggled $100 million into Gaza in recent weeks, Israel Security Agency head Yuval Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Sunday. Hundreds of Gazans returning from the haj in Mecca were allowed direct entry via Egypt, contrary to an earlier agreement with Israel, which insisted that they must cross through Israeli-controlled checkpoints. "The money that was smuggled is not being distributed to the residents, but is being used by Hamas people only," he said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Groups in Gaza Compete in Announcing Attacks on Israel
    Fatah's armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, launched a rocket at the Israeli city of Ashkelon, north of Gaza on Sunday.
        The military wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility on Sunday for firing 13 mortar shells.
        The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for launching 10 rockets at Sderot on Saturday.
        The military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, claimed responsibility on Friday for launching a rocket at Sderot.
        The An-Nasser Brigades and the Fatah-affiliated Ahmad Abu Ar-Rish Brigades said their fighters launched two rockets at Ashkelon on Friday.
        The military wing affiliated to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility for firing a rocket at the Sufa crossing on Friday. (Maan News-PA)
        See also Palestinian Mortar Barrage Damages Two Homes in Israeli Community - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired eight mortar shells at the Israeli community of Netiv Ha'asara. One of the mortars fell between two houses, causing damage. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Bush, in Private, Disowns the NIE - Michael Hirsh
    The National Intelligence Estimate, made public Dec. 3, embarrassed the administration by concluding that Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. But in private conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week, the president all but disowned the document, said a senior administration official who accompanied Bush on his trip to the Mideast. "He told the Israelis that he can't control what the intelligence community says, but that [the NIE's] conclusions don't reflect his own views." Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, said in Jerusalem that Bush had only said to Olmert privately what he's already said publicly, which is that he believes Iran remains "a threat" no matter what the NIE says. (Newsweek)
  • Islamists See Capture of Jerusalem as Precursor to the Fall of the West - Melanie Phillips
    As Dore Gold authoritatively documents in The Fight for Jerusalem, the Jews have a unique and overwhelming claim to Jerusalem which is central to the unique nature of the Jewish state. Israel should remind the world of the world's own conclusion back in 1920 that the Jews had a unique claim to the entire land of Israel, including Jerusalem. Jordan illegally occupied eastern Jerusalem until 1967, it desecrated Jewish holy sites, ripping up Jewish gravestones on the Mount of Olives to use them for latrines.
        The Islamic claim to Jerusalem is not so much religious as political. As Gold states in his book, since the capture of Jerusalem is seen as the precursor to the fall of the entire West, the division of the city would recruit untold additional numbers to the global jihad. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • First, Enemies Must Agree - Uri Dromi
    The Camp David summit in 1978 could not have happened if Moshe Dayan, Israel's foreign minister, had not flown secretly to Morocco in 1976 to meet with Egyptian Foreign Minister Hassan al-Tohami. Following the understanding reached between the two, Egyptian President Sadat made his historic visit to Jerusalem a year later. President Carter's impact later, at Camp David, was only possible once the Egyptians and the Israelis had decided to make peace. The Americans didn't have any role at the start of the Oslo peace process, which only happened after Israelis and Palestinians had secretly met.
        Later, at Camp David in 2000, Clinton strove to broker a final settlement of the conflict, but failed because the Palestinians, led by Yasser Arafat, weren't ready for the deal. So, in the wake of Bush's visit, both Palestinians and Israelis should go back to the arduous task of making peace between our peoples. When we're ready, we should call the Americans to join the ceremony. (Miami Herald)
  • Observations:

    Israel's True Friends - Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) (Los Angeles Times)

    • John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt are at it again, attempting to poison the well of American politics with their misleading depiction of an Israeli stranglehold on presidential candidates and elected officials like us.
    • Mearsheimer and Walt accuse all of us who support Israel in its struggle to live in peace and security of being Israel's "false friends." The accusation is remarkably disingenuous since it implies that Walt and Mearsheimer are Israel's true friends.
    • What kind of true friends write volumes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and gloss over the thousands of rockets Palestinian terror groups in Gaza launch into Israel? What kind of friend refuses to acknowledge the vicious propaganda machine in the West Bank and Gaza that stokes anti-Semitism and glorifies suicide bombers?
    • The pro-Israel lobby is not responsible for congressional support for a strong alliance with Israel. Like the vast majority of Americans, we support Israel for a very basic and obvious reason: America is at its best when we align ourselves with allies that share our values of tolerance, freedom and democracy.
    • The inescapable truth is that Hamas-led Gaza and heavy pockets of the PA-run West Bank reject a two-state solution. If the PA is powerless to rein in terrorism, and Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel, with whom are the Israelis to broker a peace?

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert