Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 23, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Indian Export Firm Caught Trying to Send Nuclear Material to Iran - Pranati Mehra (Daijiworld-India)
    An alert customs officer in Mumbai became suspicious of an export consignment by Nickunj Eximp Enterprises of 1,150 kg. of graphite to Ward Commercial Company in Tehran.
    Bhabha Atomic Research Center experts, who were asked to take samples, confirmed that it was nuclear-grade graphite.
    One more consignment of graphite of Nickunj Eximp headed for Dubai was stopped.
    The graphite was imported by local dealers at Rs 50 per kg. from China and was being exported to Iran at Rs 2,000 a kg.
    See also Nuclear Iran - Editorial (Times of India)
    The seizure of 1,150 kg. of nuclear-grade graphite in Mumbai on the eve of its export by air to Iran has demonstrated beyond all doubt where India stands in respect of Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapon capability.
    Iran cannot sustain its uranium enrichment program without continuing support from European industry.
    The most effective way of halting Iranian nuclear weapon proliferation is tightening up the controls over European nuclear industries, while enlisting the cooperation of Russia and China in this effort.

Azerbaijan Blocks Russian Shipment for Iranian Nuclear Plant - Aida Sultanova (AP)
    Azerbaijan halted a Russian shipment of equipment intended for Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, demanding more information for fear of violating UN sanctions, officials said Monday.
    The Russian state-run company Atomstroiexport said trucks carrying the equipment were stopped two weeks ago in Astara, on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border.

U.S. Official to Run Blair's Middle East Peace Office (AFP)
    U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Danin "will be head of mission" for the Jerusalem-based office of Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.
    Blair represents the Quartet of major players in the Middle East peace process, who will next meet on May 2 in London.

Hamas TV: Minister of Culture Presents Excerpts from Protocols of the Elders of Zion (MEMRI)
    Hamas Culture Minister Atallah Abu al-Subh told Al-Aqsa TV on April 9: "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the faith that every Jew harbors in his heart."
    The Protocols is a fabricated book about an alleged Jewish plot to take over the world.

Hunger Pains for Mubarak - Jackson Diehl (Washington Post)
    As prices for bread and rice soar in the latest swing in global commodities, dictators are tottering.
    For more than half a century, Egypt has been run by a military-backed dictatorship that has supplied its millions of poor with subsidized bread.
    Consequently, Egypt consumes more bread per capita than France.
    As global prices have soared 48% in the past year, cheap bread has been disappearing from Egyptian shops.
    The predictable result came on April 6. Angry crowds took to the streets for two days. Schools and shops were burned, a huge billboard of President Hosni Mubarak was torn down and at least two people were killed when police opened fire.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • The Feds Accuse an Octogenarian of Informing for Israel - Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
    In a bizarre postscript to a two-decade-old spy scandal, the FBI on Tuesday arrested an 84-year-old former U.S. Army civilian engineer and charged him with providing classified defense documents to Israel. The alleged crimes that led to the arrest of Ben-Ami Kadish took place between 1979 and 1985, when Kadish, a U.S. citizen, worked at the Army's Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. According to court documents unsealed Tuesday, Kadish's alleged handler turns out to be the same Israeli consular official in New York who allegedly served as a "control" agent for Jonathan Pollard, the former Navy intelligence analyst arrested in 1985 and convicted the next year whose case cast a cloud over U.S.-Israeli relations for years. Kadish told the FBI that he did not operate after 1985.
        A senior U.S. intelligence official said Kadish's alleged activities were first discovered within the last few years, more than 20 years after they occurred, as a result of supersecret intelligence monitoring related to ongoing inquiries about the Pollard case. (Newsweek)
        On March 20, 2008, Kadish and the Israeli "control" agent held a telephone conversation which was monitored and recorded. (U.S. Department of Justice)
        See also "Kadish Affair" Unlikely to Harm U.S.-Israel Relationship - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The new espionage affair, the "Kadish Affair," will apparently not cause grave damage to the U.S.-Israel relationship over time - not only because it took place and ended over a generation ago, but mostly because it is in fact an extension of the Pollard Affair, over which Israel had already apologized officially and openly, and which had been beaten to death by the U.S. media. In its wake, the Israeli government terminated the operations of its "Bureau of Scientific Relations" and dismantled the organization. More significantly, the government issued a sweeping and unequivocal order to all government ministries and intelligence bodies, banning any intelligence activity in the U.S. Even if Ben-Ami Kadish himself confesses to the charges, Israel would be able to argue that it already did everything in its power to fix what needed fixing in order to prevent similar cases in the future. (Ynet News)
  • U.S. Administration Disavows Carter's Trip - Steven R. Weisman and Robert F. Worth
    Secretary of State Rice said Tuesday that former President Carter's recent talks with the Palestinian group Hamas had not been helpful. "We counseled President Carter against going to the region and particularly against having contacts with Hamas," Rice said in Kuwait, adding that the administration had "wanted to make sure there would be no confusion and there would be no sense that Hamas was somehow a party to peace negotiations." (New York Times)
  • Middle East Talks in Moscow Get Scant Support - Nicholas Kralev
    A planned follow-up to November's Middle East peace conference in Annapolis will likely be postponed or even canceled because of Mahmoud Abbas' reluctance to take part, Western and Palestinian diplomats said Tuesday. Abbas, who meets with President Bush at the White House on Thursday, is doubtful that anything of value would be accomplished at the conference, set to take place in Moscow in June.
        An Israeli official noted that his country always prefers to "sit down with the other party," rather than get distracted by more international events. Israel also is opposed to Russia's plan to put Israeli-Syrian issues, such as the Golan Heights, on the conference agenda. (Washington Times)
  • Ahmadinejad in Rows with Leading Iranian Officials
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad fired off a letter to parliament speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel on Tuesday, furiously denouncing him for bypassing the presidency by giving the order to implement legislation. Meanwhile, the heads of two powerful judiciary bodies lambasted Ahmadinejad for accusing his opponents in a speech last week of forming an economic and political mafia. Ahmadinejad has also been under fire from leading clerics for his economic policies. The public arguments come ahead of the second round of parliamentary elections on Friday. (AFP/Nasdaq)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rocket Slams into Sderot Home - Avi Issacharoff, Yuval Azoulay and Mijal Grinberg
    Palestinians in Gaza on Tuesday fired three rockets at Israel, one of which slammed directly into a home in Sderot, causing a number of residents to suffer shock. Another rocket struck an open area and caused a fire, according to Army Radio. A further rocket hit Ashkelon's industrial district. (Ha'aretz)
  • Gaza Fuel Terminal Reopens - Hanan Greenberg
    The Nahal Oz fuel terminal reopened Wednesday, two weeks after a Palestinian terror attack left two Israelis dead. For the time being, only diesel fuel for Gaza's power station will be transferred. The terminal was partially opened last week for the transfer of diesel and heating gas, but Palestinian gunmen fired at the tankers. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Spy from New Jersey - Editorial
    Israel's friends in America have long counseled her to look for spies elsewhere than in the American Jewish community, which can be of most use to Israel if its loyalty is not put in doubt. But it is easy to understand the exigencies involved when the spying allegedly happened, in the early 1980s. Israel, as it does to this day, faced an existential security threat. Security cooperation between America and Israel was not as well developed as it is today, and there was even personal hostility to Israel among certain sectors of the Reagan administration, even if the administration overall was supportive. These are not excuses - there can be none for breaking America's espionage laws - just context. (New York Sun)
  • Jimmy Carter Must Stop Meddling - Editorial
    You have to marvel at the naivety of former American president Jimmy Carter - the man who gave us the Iranian revolution. It was his campaign for human rights in Iran under the Shah that ultimately resulted in the Islamic revolution that continues to haunt the West to this day. With a record like that, Mr. Carter would be better advised to reflect on the error of his ways than meddle in an issue where he no longer has the power or authority to influence the outcome. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Carter's Tragic Misjudgment - Eric Cantor
    When Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal boasts of continuing the resistance until "every last inch of Palestinian territory" is liberated, as he is wont to do, he refers not merely to Gaza and the West Bank, but to the entirety of Israel. Hamas' absolute bottom line - indeed, its reason for being - is the elimination of the State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian entity. To satisfy this goal, Hamas has used radical Islam and a cradle-to-grave anti-Jewish indoctrination to create legions of terrorists eager to attack civilians and embrace death. The organization has killed hundreds of Israeli innocents, as well as 26 American citizens, in attacks over the last several years. Congressman Eric Cantor (Va.) is Republican chief deputy whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    Ex-Mossad Head Defends Meshaal Plot - Laila El-Haddad (Al Jazeera-Qatar)

    • Danny Yatom, today a Knesset member (Labor), was director of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, at the time of the botched assassination attempt on Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal. Yatom says the plot to kill Meshaal - by injecting poison into his ear - was "a failure" but not "a mistake." In an interview with Al Jazeera, Yatom staunchly defends the assassination of Palestinians deemed "terrorists" by Israel.
    • Q: In retrospect, was the attempt to assassinate Meshaal a mistake?
      Yatom: I don't think so because he was and still is the head of Hamas, and he was situated in Amman. Now he is situated in Damascus, but all the links between Gaza and the West Bank regarding Hamas and the terror attacks during those days...were to Khaled Meshaal.
    • Yatom: The late Yitzhak Rabin [Israel's former prime minister] requested that King Hussein shut down Hamas headquarters in Amman. King Hussein refused. He said that his people can monitor Khaled Meshaal and his people better in Amman than if they were somewhere else. But the Mukhabarat [Jordan's security agency] did nothing. We had all the information. And Khaled Meshaal was the mastermind behind many attacks that claimed many lives.
    • Yatom: After terror attacks in Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister at the time, asked security chiefs to offer suggestions on how to fight Hamas - in addition to what Israel was then doing in the territories. Netanyahu asked me to go after one of the four heads of Hamas.
    • Q: Would Israel assassinate Meshaal today?
      Yatom: The Israeli policy is that as long as there is terror, the terrorist must understand that anyone who executes terror will not enjoy immunity.
      Q: Without regard to international law?
      Yatom: With regard to what [former president] Bill Clinton said: there should be zero tolerance for terror.
    • Q: Why did Israel allow Hamas to participate in the elections?
      Yatom: We were forced by the Americans to allow Hamas to participate in elections, and it was a dramatic mistake because it was against what was written in Oslo - that only parties, not organizations, that accept our right to exist will participate in elections. But it was under the pressure of President George Bush and Condoleezza Rice.

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