Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Al-Qaeda Spies Believed to Have Infiltrated British Police (Evening Standard-UK)
Bush Sending Cheney to Mideast - Paula Wolfson (VOA News)
Iran Students Put Bounties on Heads of Israeli Leaders (AFP)
Al-Qaeda Online Supporters Lash Out at Taliban for Not Remaining Loyal to the Global Jihad (AP/FOX News)
Israeli Scientists Reveal Electronic Structure of DNA (Science Daily)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
An uneasy calm has settled over southern Israel and Gaza in recent days as the U.S. and Egypt work to broker a cooling-off period following nearly a week of frantic fighting. While no direct negotiations are taking place, Israel and Hamas appear to have informally agreed not to fire on each other for the time being. Since Friday, Israel's military has recorded 14 rockets or mortar shells fired from Gaza toward Israel, down dramatically from last week's average rate of several rockets every hour. Since the beginning of the year, 1,059 rockets or mortar shells have been fired at Israel from Gaza. (Washington Post)
Iranian nuclear engineer Mohsen Fakhrizadeh lectures weekly on physics at Tehran's Imam Hossein University. Yet for more than a decade, according to documents attracting interest among Western governments, he also ran secret programs aimed at acquiring sensitive nuclear technology for his government. IAEA officials say these documents, which were provided to the UN nuclear agency in recent months by two countries other than the U.S., identify Fakhrizadeh and other civilian scientists as central figures in a secret nuclear research program that operated as recently as 2003. The documents purport to show advanced research into a variety of nuclear-related technologies, including uranium ore processing, warhead modification, and the precision-firing of high explosives of the type used to detonate a nuclear device. (Washington Post)
Al-Qaeda said on Monday it had kidnapped two Austrian tourists in Tunisia on February 22, linking its action to an Israeli offensive in Gaza, and suggested it had since moved the captives to neighboring Algeria. Al Jazeera television aired an audio recording of the claim by Salah Abou-Mohammad, a spokesman for the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb. Austrian media have identified the tourists as Andrea Kloiber, 43, and Wolfgang Ebner, 51, a couple from near Salzburg. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Olmert on Sunday approved a 750-unit project for a new neighborhood in Givat Ze'ev just north of Jerusalem, a project that had been frozen due to violence at the start of the second intifada in 2000. Olmert's spokesman, Mark Regev, said, "No one should be surprised, because we have been up-front, consistent and very public that we did not commit to any settlement freeze in the large settlement blocs." Givat Ze'ev, with a current population of around 10,000, is five km. from Jerusalem.
Regev said reversing a decision made in 1999 to build the project, which has been in the hands of the private sector for almost a decade, could have cost the state NIS 1.5 billion. The state had already invested millions in infrastructure, including roads to the site. Construction and Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim said the project would help ease the housing crunch in the Jerusalem area. (Jerusalem Post)
On Thursday evening, Capt. David Shapira had just put one of his two young children to sleep when he heard explosions coming from the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva across the street. When he realized that the explosions were gunshots, he grabbed his service weapon and ran out of the house toward the yeshiva where he himself had studied. Shapira entered the building, tracked the terrorist to the library, got within two to three meters of his target, and neutralized him. Then he searched the area to make sure that other terrorists had not taken cover in the building.
On Friday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi called Shapira to hear firsthand an account of the events. Ashkenazi expressed admiration for the "fast and correct" way in which the captain responded to the attack, adding that this is how he expects "any officer to behave, whether in his unit, on the roads or on leave." "In your actions," Ashkenazi told Shapira, "you brought expression to the values of the spirit of the IDF. You demonstrated personal leadership, determination, calmness, bravery and pursuit of your enemy until he was neutralized." (Jerusalem Post)
Writing in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan, author and journalist Abdallah al-Hadlak harshly criticized the terror attack on the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Al-Hadlak called the attack an act of barbaric murder that expresses the extreme and inhumane ways of Hamas and Hizbullah. (Israel Radio-Hebrew)
See also Lebanon's Ayatollah Fadlallah and the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva Attack in Jerusalem - Shimon Shapira
In recent years, an intense effort has been made by American-based academics to portray Ayatollah Mohamad Hussein Fadlallah, the most important religious authority among the Shiites of Lebanon and the Gulf states, as a moderate religious leader. Yet Fadlallah praised the massacre of eight Israeli students at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The UN is planning a repeat performance of Durban I, the 2001 global mega-conference dedicated to fueling hatred of Jews, Israel and the U.S. Now the UN is planning Durban II to "review" the results of Durban I. The 20-member executive planning committee, chaired by Libya, has Cuba as its rapporteur, and includes such bastions of official intolerance as Russia, Pakistan and Iran. Canada recently did the right thing and took the lead in announcing that, rather than lend any legitimacy to this outrage by taking part, the Canadian government would boycott Durban II. The Bush administration ought to be racing to back up Canada by announcing a U.S. boycott.
Last month, at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) asked Secretary of State Rice if the Bush administration would follow Canada's lead and announce a boycott. Her reply was that while "we have no intention of participating in something like Durban I...we have not tried to make any decision on this." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
On March 2, at the height of Israel's military effort to prevent the rocketing of its civilians within range of Gaza, I watched journalist Al Scardino review the early editions of British newspapers live in the studio at Sky News, a 24-hour news network widely viewed across Europe and beyond. Scardino firmly and confidently informed viewers that the Israeli targets coming under rocket attack [Ashkelon, Sderot] were situated beyond Israel's sovereign borders. These were areas that the international community did not consider part of Israel, he said, but that Israel claimed nonetheless. Scardino also confidently asserted that at least 100 Palestinians civilians had been killed in the Israeli fire, creating the misconception among his viewers that the primary victims of Israel's response, indeed quite possibly the only victims, were civilians.
The territory being attacked by the Gaza rocket crews is not, of course, disputed by the international community. It is not beyond Israel's borders, but is sovereign Israeli territory. Furthermore, the overall death toll was about 100 in total. Nobody credible was claiming that 100 Palestinian civilians had been killed. Scardino was not offering a debatable perspective. He was spouting basic factual untruth. (Jerusalem Post)
The streets of Gaza were packed with thousands of joyous revelers on Thursday following the terrorist attack at a Jerusalem rabbinical seminary that killed eight people. Gazans also flooded the streets in early February to celebrate the suicide bombing in the Israeli town of Dimona. During the 1991 Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein lobbed 39 Scud missiles at Israel, Palestinians cheered from their rooftops.
There has never been a recorded celebration in the Israeli streets over a counterterrorism incursion into Gaza. Indeed, Israelis are typically saddened by the necessity of such operations. The international community takes great pains to cast the Palestinians and Israelis as having equal responsibility in the ongoing bloodshed, but the culture of violence among the Palestinians goes largely unnoticed. More broadly, the culture of violence among Palestinians calls into question whether the Palestinians are truly ready to create their own state. The writer, a former U.S. Treasury intelligence analyst, is director of policy for the Jewish Policy Center. (Weekly Standard)
What Can I Do About the Crisis Facing Israel and the Jewish People? - Rachel Neuwirth (American Thinker)
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