Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Diplomat: Israel and U.S. Differ on Interpretation of Bush's 2004 Letter to Sharon - Barak Ravid and Nadav Shragai (Ha'aretz)
Israel Asks UN to Condemn Terror Attack on Kibbutz Volunteer - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
Thai Satellite Firm Terminates Deal with Hizbullah TV (AP/The Hindu-India)
France Announces Base in Persian Gulf - Molly Moore (Washington Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Secretary of State Rice said Tuesday that the U.S. wants Arab nations to do more to reach out to Israel, as a way to do their part to nudge a Mideast peace accord into being. Rice spoke from Saudi Arabia, at the side of its foreign minister, Prince Saud. "We have believed that it will be important for the regional states, the Arab states, to do everything possible to encourage the process and that, yes, there should be efforts to reach out to the Israelis as this process goes forward," she said. (AP)
President Bush ends a Middle East trip on Wednesday in which he told regional allies that Iran is a threat, Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts need support, and high oil prices are in no one's interest. (Reuters)
See also Egyptian Opposition Finds Common Ground Against Bush - Jonathan Wright
Egyptian opposition groups - Islamists, liberals and leftists - found common ground on Tuesday in criticism of U.S. President Bush's imminent visit to the country. Bush will spend less than four hours in Sharm el-Sheikh on Wednesday where he will see Egyptian President Mubarak on his way back to Washington. (Reuters)
A bomb exploded Tuesday as a U.S. Embassy sport-utility vehicle passed a parked car in Beirut, killing at least three Lebanese motorists but only lightly injuring two embassy workers. One American, a private citizen teaching at a nearby school, was among 20 people reported wounded. Secretary of State Rice, who is traveling in the Middle East with President Bush, called the bombing a "terrorist attack." (Washington Post)
Against the backdrop of President Bush's Middle East visit and of the recent visit to Syria by Ali Larijani, representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Iran's Supreme National Security Council, high-ranking Syrian government officials called on Arab countries to deepen relations and cooperation with Iran. Such calls have been voiced by Syrian Information Minister Muhsin Bilal and Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Faisal al-Miqdad. In addition, a column published in the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra advised Arab states that Iran's becoming a regional power was in their interests. (MEMRI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
At least 10 people were hurt Tuesday when Palestinians in Gaza launched a barrage of Kassam rockets and mortar shells at Israel. Lior Ben-Shimol, 5, was at a neighbor's house playing. Her father, Yaron Ben-Shimol, said: "I heard an explosion and saw a rocket had hit the neighbor's house. I ran to the neighbor's house and saw my daughter come to me drenched in blood." The Israel Defense Forces Tuesday counted 50 Kassam rockets and 30 mortar shells fired from Gaza. In addition, a Grad Katyusha rocket was found near a residential area in Ashkelon.
In Sderot, the Red Alert siren was sounded 14 times. Time and again, local residents scrambled for cover. Toward nightfall, a rocket hit a power line and the city's residents remained in the dark until it was fixed. "The center treating people for shock remained open thanks to a generator," said Dr. Adrianna Katz. "We treated 20 people Tuesday." (Ha'aretz)
See also Palestinian Rockets Rain Down on Ashkelon and Sderot
Palestinians in Gaza fired at least 28 rockets at Israel Wednesday morning, including 11 at Ashkelon and 12 at Sderot. Hamas claimed responsibility for the killing of an Ecuadorian volunteer on a kibbutz near Gaza by a Palestinian sniper on Tuesday. (Jerusalem Post)
In fighting Tuesday in Gaza, 19 Palestinians were reported killed, 15 of whom were confirmed to be armed militants. One was Hussam Zahar, son of the former Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud Zahar, considered to be a firebrand and one of the leaders of the more extremist wing of Hamas, with close ties to its military wing. Israeli security sources emphasized Tuesday that Hussam's killing had not been planned. He was among a group of Hamas gunmen and was killed in an exchange of fire with IDF forces. The Hamas militants killed Tuesday lost their lives in fighting with IDF forces or because they had been targeted while they tried to launch rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli towns.
The IDF's current modus operandi in Gaza is characterized by ground forces raids, limited in both time and scope, and in targeted interceptions of militants in the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, as well as Hamas rocket crews. Senior sources in the defense establishment said Tuesday that this could change if the escalation in rocket attacks continues. The firing of the Katyusha rocket at Ashkelon, the second instance in recent weeks, is evidence the city is permanently within the scope of Hamas. (Ha'aretz)
The IDF entered Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood Tuesday to hunt for cells that fire mortars at Israel, and succeeded in hitting two such cells. When Hamas sent in forces to fight the soldiers, it lost 13 men in the ensuing battle.
Faced with mounting public criticism, Mahmoud Abbas was forced to denounce the "massacre" in Gaza, even though the vast majority of those killed were armed fighters. Abbas is worried about being seen as an Israeli collaborator, while Hamas paints itself as a patriotic organization that fights Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Walid Abid, the commander of the al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing in the West Bank, was killed Wednesday in Kabatiya, Palestinian sources reported. Abid was responsible for all the organization's activities in the West Bank, including shooting attacks and attempted terror attacks inside Israel. (Ynet News)
See also Head of Islamic Jihad in Samaria Killed
Walid Abid, 46, has been involved in intensive terrorist activity since the 1980s. He was directly responsible for several murderous suicide bombings, among them the planning of the April 2006 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv in which eleven civilians were killed and dozens wounded. (IDF Spokesman)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
President Bush said on Jan. 10 that the agreement between Israel and the Palestinians "must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people." The last ten words are the key to resolving the conflict, a missing element whose absence has caused the peace process to oscillate between stalemate and war rather than move steadily toward lasting peace.
According to the Arab demand for a "right of return," Palestinians have a right to move to Israel, while Jews not only have no right to move to a future Palestinian state, but those who live now within the future borders of that state must leave. This cannot be solved by drawing different lines on a map. It has nothing to do with borders, but whether the Jewish people have the national right to sovereignty anywhere in the Land of Israel. If Palestinians have a right to move to Israel, and Jews or Israelis can't move to Palestine, then the Palestinians are saying: What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine. (Jerusalem Post)
The dangerous antics of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, his alliance with Iran, his open hostility toward the U.S. and a number of anti-Semitic incidents have generated widespread concern about the fate of the small Jewish community in this oil-rich South American nation. Venezuela Jewry's heightened sense of vulnerability has resulted above all from two outrageous police assaults, in 2004 and 2007, on Hebraica, the Caracas complex housing the Jewish community center and school, as well as incendiary anti-Semitic reports in major media. Venezuelan Jews are well aware that they enjoy strong support not only from mainstream American Jewish organizations, but also from the U.S. government and important neighbors in South America, notably Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. (Miami Herald)
Bush in Arabia - Editorial (New York Sun)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert