Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Bush Privately Lauds Israeli Attack on Syria - Barbara Opall-Rome and Vago Muradian (Defense News)
Arabs Demand Clarifications from U.S. on Planned Trip to Mark Palestinian Nakba (Maan News-PA)
Report: Egypt Arrests Terror Cell Planning Attacks on Israel - Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
Travel Permits to Gazans for Medical Care Up 50 Percent - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
New Arabic Website Covers Western Media (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
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)
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)
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:
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)
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)
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):
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)
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)
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)
Israel's True Friends - Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) (Los Angeles Times)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert