Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 9, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

At Least Six Killed in Shootout at U.S. Consulate in Istanbul (AP/Ha'aretz)
    Armed men attacked a police guardpost outside the U.S. consulate in Istanbul on Wednesday.
    Istanbul Province Governor Muammer Guler said three attackers and three policemen were killed in the assault.

Iran Seeks Seat on Security Council - Betsy Pisik (Washington Times)
    Tehran will seek a seat on the powerful UN Security Council next year. "It is our right, we have not been on the council in 50 years," an official from the Iranian Mission said Tuesday.
    The official said Iran's bid for a seat on the 2009-10 council already has the "confirmation" of the Asian Group, whose members Tehran would represent.
    Asian diplomats confirmed Tuesday that Iran has sought the group's approval to run for the council seat, which currently is filled by Indonesia.
    "One should follow Security Council resolutions before they launch a bid to be on the Security Council," said Richard Grenell, spokesman for U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

U.S. Analyst: Israel Has No "Green Light" to Strike Iran - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Prof. Anthony Cordesman of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies says the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, sent Israel an unequivocal message stating that Israel does not have a "green light" from the U.S. to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.
    During a visit to Israel, Cordesman said the U.S. has a plan for a military attack on Iran, but is continuing with diplomatic efforts for now.

Israeli Expertise in Ritual Helps Africa Combat AIDS - Joel Greenberg (Chicago Tribune)
    Inon Schenker, an AIDS prevention specialist, is director of Operation Abraham, a project launched last year that dispatched Israeli surgeons to teach circumcision in Africa.
    Studies conducted between 2004 and 2006 in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya found that the risk of contracting AIDS in heterosexual sex is 50-60% less among men who are circumcised.
    Because it is obligatory under Jewish law, male circumcision is nearly universal in Israel.
    With the support of the Hadassah Medical Organization, the Jerusalem AIDS Project sent three delegations of surgeons to teach adult circumcision in Swaziland, the southern African nation with the highest prevalence of AIDS in the world.
    The Israeli teams included an Israeli Arab doctor with experience in Muslim ritual circumcision.

Rights Group Condemns Saudi "Slave" Treatment of Migrant Women - Stephen Coates (AFP)
    U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said in a new report released in Indonesia Tuesday that many Saudis believed they "owned" their foreign domestic workers and treated them like slaves.
    The 133-page report entitled "'As If I Am Not Human': Abuses Against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia" was compiled after two years of research.
    More than eight million migrants work in Saudi Arabia, including 1.5 million domestic workers.

Key Links 
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Test-Fires Missile that Could Reach Israel - Fredrik Dahl
    Iran has test-fired nine long- and medium-range missiles, including a Shahab 3, which it previously said could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the region, state media reported on Wednesday. (Reuters)
  • Ahmadinejad Calls for U.S. Bases to be "Eradicated"
    Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Tuesday for U.S. military bases across the world to be "eradicated." "The military bases in the whole world should be eradicated and removed," he told a press conference after a summit of the "D8" group of developing nations in Malaysia. (AFP)
  • Riot at Syrian Prison Threatens to Escalate - Raed Rafei
    A deadly days-long standoff between inmates and security forces threatened to escalate at a Syrian military prison known for holding Islamist and political dissidents, human rights observers said Tuesday. Rights groups say Syrian security forces have already killed at least 25 inmates and wounded as many as 100 at Saydnaya prison outside Damascus. When inmates rioted on Saturday, the police responded by firing on the prisoners. Human rights activists said the standoff continued despite the government claim that calm had been restored. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Israel, Hamas Trade Cows for Calm as Part of Truce - Karin Laub and Ibrahim Barzak
    An Israel-Hamas truce has boiled down to a simple trade-off: For a day of calm, Israel adds five truckloads of cows and 200 tons of cement to the basics it ships to Gaza, but rocket fire from the territory reseals the border for a day. Under the Egyptian-brokered deal, Gaza's Hamas rulers are to halt rocket and mortar fire on Israeli border communities and Israel is to increase the flow of goods into Gaza. Hamas has not reined in all militants, particularly those from rival groups, and the Israeli army says 15 rockets and mortars have been fired since the truce took effect June 19, including three mortars Tuesday. Lt. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said Hamas' failure is slowing a broader opening of the crossings. (AP)
  • Shebaa Farms on Israel-Lebanon Border Gets New Attention - Nicholas Blanford
    A tiny sliver of rugged mountainside wedged between Lebanon and the Golan Heights is being reassessed by the U.S. and Israel. Israeli troops took the area during the 1967 war. In 2000, the UN ruled that the Shebaa Farms was Syrian territory, and its fate was tied to future peace talks between Israel and Syria. Lebanon, backed by Syria, disputed the ruling and Hizbullah launched a campaign of raids against Israeli troops in the Shebaa Farms.
        After the 2006 war, the UN, at the behest of the Lebanese government, agreed to reexamine Lebanon's case for the Shebaa Farms, and proposed that Israel pull out of the Farms and hand jurisdiction to UNIFIL. Until recently, Israel was reluctant to yield the Shebaa Farms. But now, as it is engaged in indirect peace talks with Syria, Israel shifted position last month, saying it was willing to pull out its troops and turn the Farms over to UN jurisdiction. The move was given further impetus when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in mid-June that "the time has come to deal with the Shebaa Farms issue." (Christian Science Monitor)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel to Italy: Hizbullah Rearming Unhindered - Barak Ravid and Yoav Stern
    Israeli officials are expected to tell visiting Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini about misgivings over the performance of UN peacekeepers in Lebanon. UNIFIL's command is currently under Italy's jurisdiction. Israel maintains Hizbullah is working unhindered to regain the military capacity it lost during the Second Lebanon War. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel to France: UNIFIL Should Act to Block Hizbullah Rearmament - Roni Sofer
    Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Tuesday and stressed that "Israel cannot accept the ongoing and intensifying gnawing at Resolution 1701 that has not been fulfilled, and the continuing transfer of weaponry, which is damaging the delicate balance at the northern border." Barak said that Israel expects the French minister to act towards halting the transfer of weapons from Syria to Hizbullah, and that UNIFIL forces in southern Lebanon should boost activities countering the armament and fortification of Hizbullah. (Ynet News)
  • Egyptian Forces Crossed into Israel in Pursuit of Smugglers - Yuval Azoulay
    An Egyptian officer was killed after he and his comrades crossed into Israeli territory in pursuit of Bedouin smugglers. A joint IDF and Egyptian inquiry into the incident in the Har Harif area near the Israel-Egypt border found that Egyptian soldiers who noticed the Bedouin drug smugglers set out in pursuit. An exchange of gunfire ensued, and one of the smugglers shot an Egyptian officer in the stomach, who later died of his wounds. IDF soldiers in the area mistakenly believed the gunfire was aimed at them, and subsequently returned fire. Military sources said no Egyptian soldier was hit by IDF fire. (Ha'aretz)
  • Bomb Belt Found in Tel Aviv, Hamas Bomb-Makers Arrested in West Bank - Yaakov Katz
    A Hamas cell that was plotting suicide attacks inside Israel with chemical explosives was arrested in May by the Israel Security Agency and the IDF, security officials announced Tuesday. The cell was involved in manufacturing a bomb belt that was discovered in a Tel Aviv apartment on Yom Kippur, last September, and was designated for use in a suicide attack in the city. The IDF arrested four members of the cell, all residents of Nablus. One cell member, Ayman Awad, served a prison sentence in Israel for involvement in dispatching a suicide bomber several years ago. During their interrogation, the four confessed to building a laboratory where they experimented building bombs with different chemical materials, using an instructional video prepared by a senior Hamas bomb-maker. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Attorney General Survives Car Bomb
    Palestinian Authority Attorney General Ahmad Al-Mghanni survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday. A bomb detonated in his car in the Al-Maysoun neighborhood of Ramallah in the West Bank as he started the engine. He escaped unhurt. (Maan News-PA)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • An Israeli-NATO Pact - Bennett Ramberg
    Israel's integration into NATO, possibly with a separate American security guarantee, would provide Israel with the defense in depth it has yearned for. By placing Iran in the alliance's crosshairs, the deterrent impact would reduce the risk of an Israeli-Iranian war along with serious collateral damage to global oil markets and, arguably, force Tehran to think twice about the benefits of crossing the nuclear-weapons threshold. A codicil to membership would assure NATO did not embroil itself in ongoing Israeli-Palestinian reciprocal attacks. The writer served in the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs during the George H.W. Bush administration. (Washington Times)
  • Stop Funding Demonizing NGOs - Gerald M. Steinberg
    For many years, Israel has been attacked by non-government organizations (NGOs) that invent (or distort) the terms of international law, falsify facts, and violate the universality of human rights. Some of the NGOs promoting the demonization campaigns get more than half their annual budgets from European governments. Additional funds come from the Ford Foundation. Israeli officials should make the case for a halt in this funding of demonization in every discussion with European ambassadors, heads of state and foreign ministers. The writer is executive director of NGO Monitor and chairs the Political Science Department at Bar-Ilan University. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    What Conflict with Iran Might Look Like - Edmund Blair (Reuters)

    • The U.S. military could unleash superior military force against Iran, but analysts say Washington may struggle to prevent Tehran from hitting back in Iraq and elsewhere. Here are some tactics Iran could employ, including unconventional or "asymmetric" methods, that have either already been used by Iranian forces or blamed on Iran in the past:
    • Hit-and-Run Raids in the Gulf: During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Iran mounted hit-and-run raids on oil tankers and other shipping in the Gulf, often involving small speedboats mounted with a missile.
    • Striking U.S. Interests: Iran's military has said it has missiles that can sink "big warships" and others with a range to hit targets across the Gulf, which could include U.S. bases in Qatar and Bahrain. Iran's longest range missile, the Shahab 3, can reach Israel.
    • Violence in Iraq: Western diplomats say Iran could allow weapons to flow across the border to Iraq and add to problems for U.S. troops.
    • Using Regional Allies: Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Revolutionary Guards' commander-in-chief, said in a newspaper interview in June that Iran's regional Islamic friends, which include Lebanon's Shi'ite militia Hizbullah, could strike Israel if Iran came under attack. The U.S. blamed Hizbullah for the 1983 bombing of its marines barracks in Beirut that killed 241 soldiers.
    • Hostage-Taking: Iran was blamed by the West for helping mastermind some of the kidnappings of U.S. and other foreigners during the 1975-1990 civil war in Lebanon.

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