Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


February 19, 2008

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Guards Predict Israel Demise (BBC News)
    Iran's Revolutionary Guards leader Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Jafari wrote to Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, following the killing of senior Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh, to extend "congratulations and condolences for the martyrdom."
    "We will soon witness the destruction of the cancerous scum of Israel at the strong, capable hands of Hizbullah," he wrote.
    In response, Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said: "We are not harboring any illusions about the Tehran regime's true intentions, nor its extremist agenda."
    See also Israel Complains to UN over Iranian General's Remarks - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)

Palestinians Call on Muslims to "Slaughter" Danes (Jerusalem Post)
    Muslims worldwide should bomb Denmark's embassies and kill its diplomats following last week's republication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, a Palestinian spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza said on Monday.
    Speaking to demonstrators burning Danish flags, the spokesman said anyone involved in the drawing, printing, or publication of the caricatures should be "slaughtered," Israel Radio reported.
    See also Hamas TV Bunny Rouses Gaza Kids Against Danes - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters)
    A man-sized talking rabbit named Assud appeared on television in Gaza on Friday to denounce Danish newspapers over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that offended Muslims.

Gazans Feeling Recoil of Attacks on Israel - Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post)
    Across Gaza, public weariness has grown alongside the mounting hardships caused by Hamas' conflict with Israel.
    The 11-day border break seemed in some ways to have made life harder in Gaza, whose residents collectively depleted millions of dollars in savings buying goods in Egypt.
    After the cross-border shopping frenzy, no one in Gaza had any money left to buy, vendors said.

Israel's Tennis Player Peer Makes History in Gulf - Richard Eaton (AFP/Yahoo)
    Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer, 20, made diplomatic history when she stepped on court at the Qatar Open on Monday.
    Peer has suddenly acquired a global focus, received round-the-clock security, and apparently been given a promise that she would be treated "like the Emir's wife."
    "I'm here to play tennis," she said. "But if this opens up a window for the younger generation, with Arabs and Israelis working together for peace, I'd be happy."
    The emirate is bidding for the 2016 Olympics, about which a decision will be made next year, so this is a way to suggest that politics won't tarnish any games there.
    See also Peer Wins History-Making Match at Qatar Tourney - Douglas Robson (USA Today)

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Say Jerusalem Still High on Agenda - Mohammed Assadi
    Mahmoud Abbas has not agreed to postpone talks on the future of Jerusalem, senior Abbas advisor Nimer Hammad said Monday. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Abbas had consented to hold off discussing Jerusalem until the end of the negotiating process. "The issue of Jerusalem is a fundamental issue and cannot be postponed," Hammad said. Abbas "did not agree to postpone it."  (Reuters)
  • Hamas Airs "Confessions of Pro-Abbas Plotters" - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    Hamas screened purported confessions on Saturday that it said proved Fatah rivals had plotted to kill Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza. "I was told that if I blew myself up against...Haniyeh, they would take care of my family," said Ahmed al-Dbaki in a film clip shown at a televised Hamas news conference in Gaza. Among nine others whose edited video statements were screened, Hassan al-Zant, described as a senior Fatah security officer, said, "I was ordered to form an armed cell to strike the Hamas movement....I was instructed to find a martyr to carry out the task." (Reuters)
        See also Hamas Accuses Arab Intelligence of Selling Hamas Leaders' Info to Israel, U.S.
    Ahmed Yousef, an adviser for Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, accused Arab intelligence services of delivering information about Hamas leaders exiled in Syria to Israel and the U.S., the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Alawsat reported Sunday. He said the leaked information includes "the movement, the places of residence, and the sorts of cars used by Damascus-based Hamas leaders." As a result, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal has recently been targeted by "several assassination attempts," Yousef said. (Xinhua-China)
  • Sarkozy Stirs Anger with Holocaust Curriculum - Elaine Sciolino
    President Nicolas Sarkozy dropped an intellectual bombshell with his revision of the school curriculum: beginning next fall, he said, every fifth grader will have to learn the life story of one of the 11,000 French children killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust. "Nothing is more moving, for a child, than the story of a child his own age, who has the same games, the same joys and the same hopes as he, but who, in the dawn of the 1940s, had the bad fortune to be defined as a Jew," Sarkozy said on Wednesday. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • PA Official: PLO Reopens Orient House in Jerusalem
    The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has reemployed thirty to forty people at Orient House in eastern Jerusalem, Hatim Abdul-Qadir, a Fatah leader and presidential aide for Jerusalem affairs, said Monday. He said that he and other Palestinian officials have been holding meetings with foreign dignitaries at the building, which used to be a central Palestinian institution in Jerusalem before being closed by Israeli authorities. Palestinian security and intelligence officers are also using Orient House, he said. (Maan News-PA)
  • Israel Concerned Over Impending UNIFIL Breakdown in Lebanon - Yaakov Katz
    A high-ranking Israeli defense official said Monday the outcome of next month's Spanish national elections could determine whether that country continues to participate in UNIFIL. Six Spanish peacekeepers were killed in an attack in southern Lebanon in July. The official said that if war broke out with Hizbullah, UNIFIL would be expected to immediately withdraw its forces from southern Lebanon. While Israel does not count on UNIFIL to prevent Hizbullah attacks, the force has succeeded in preventing Hizbullah from reestablishing its positions along the border and in southern Lebanon generally; Hizbullah has moved most of its positions north of the Litani River, to an area beyond the mandate of the UN force.
        On Monday, the IDF deployed a Patriot Missile battery on the outskirts of Haifa as part of precautions against a possible attack by Hizbullah. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rockets Land Near Kibbutz Infirmary - Mijal Grinberg
    Palestinians in Gaza on Monday fired nine Kassam rockets at Israel. Two of the rockets struck near an infirmary in a kibbutz, causing some damage. Another struck the yard of a house in Sderot. (Ha'aretz)
  • 1,000 Africans Infiltrate Israel in Two Weeks - Tani Goldstein
    Some 1,000 African refugees have infiltrated Israel over the past two weeks through the Egyptian border, official sources said Monday. Officially, the infiltrators should be deported by security forces back to Egypt, but in practice this is impossible as they will return through the breached border. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Don't Forget Iran - Christopher Hitchens
    The absurdly politicized finding of the National Intelligence Estimate - to the effect that Iran has actually halted rather than merely paused its weapons-acquisition program - has put the U.S. in a position where it is difficult even to continue pressing for sanctions, let alone to consider disabling the centrifuge and heavy-water sites at Natanz, Arak and elsewhere.
        Iran is running on two timetables. The first one is the gradual but definite emergence of a democratization trend among the young and the middle class. The second one - the process by which a messianic regime lays hold of the means to manufacture apocalyptic weaponry - could move rather faster, and is partly designed in any case to insulate the mullahs from regime change. Can the U.S. regain the initiative that has been lost to it by the actions of its own intelligence bureaucracy?
        Consider our advantages. To begin with, all visitors to Tehran report an extraordinary level of sympathy with the U.S. among the general population. Our ability to demolish the Taliban and the Saddam Hussein tyrannies, Iran's two most hated enemies, has greatly impressed many Iranians. Iran may be floating on a lake of oil, but still conducts much the same backward, rug-and-pistachio economy that it was operating when the mullahs seized power almost 30 years ago. (Wall Street Journal)
  • A Balance of Terror in the War on Terror - Yoram Schweitzer
    Historical experience suggests the elimination of one man, no matter how important, is not enough to inflict a mortal blow on the organization to which he belongs. However, the bloody record of Imad Mughniyeh, who continued to have a central and active role in command of Hizbullah's operational echelon, turned him into a ticking bomb that had to be neutralized. His liquidation after such a lengthy pursuit clearly signals to other wanted figures the determination of states involved in the war on terror to hunt them down, no matter how long it takes. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • HRW's Cluster Munitions Report
    On Sunday, Human Rights Watch issued a 131-page report condemning Israel's use of cluster munitions in response to Hizbullah attacks during the 2006 war. HRW claims that "Israel violated international humanitarian law in its indiscriminate and disproportionate cluster munition attacks on Lebanon." The term "indiscriminate" is clearly misleading - these and other weapons used by Israel were designed to end or degrade Hizbullah's ability to launch missile barrages. And the term "disproportionate" is subjective.
        HRW also distorts and misquotes the Winograd Commission's section on the use of cluster bombs by asserting that this "mirrored many of Human Rights Watch's findings." While recommending re-examination of the guidelines for use of cluster munitions, this Israeli commission also explicitly rejected claims that the use of these weapons in response to Hizbullah's aggression violated international law. (NGO Monitor)
  • Observations:

    Rocketing Toward War - Richard Cohen (Washington Post)

    • Rockets launched from nearby Gaza fall in the Israel town of Sderot almost daily. They hit with unpredictable regularity, taking a roof here, a piece of a wall there, and demolishing the peace of mind of every resident. To many Israelis, the daily rain of Kassam rockets is reason enough to go back into Gaza and eradicate the rocket-makers, the rocket launchers, and the entire Hamas leadership that now runs Gaza.
    • In Europe and elsewhere, where activists are just plain dizzy from their own moral virtue, Israel is denounced for inflicting suffering on Gaza. But the protesters say nothing about the Kassams raining from the sky - sometimes as many as 40 a day. Three landed within two hours of my hitting town. One forced me into a shelter. I was safe, protected by a cement ceiling and the law of averages. Still, my heart got a three-latte jolt. I would not want to live here.
    • Actually, almost no one wants to live here anymore. Many have psychological ailments or the physical ailments brought on by the psychological ones - heart trouble or hysteria. Sderot represents the metastasized insanity of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle - rockets sent to kill anyone, it doesn't matter whom.
    • Israelis don't trust Hamas, and why should they? It wishes Israel nothing but death. Israel could do nothing, but nothing is demeaning, dangerous - and, anyway, nothing is not what Israel does. Sooner or later, if nothing is done, a rocket will hit kids on the playground or mothers strolling the street, and Israel will have to respond.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert