Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
IDF Warns of Increased Alerts of Plans to Abduct Soldiers (Jerusalem Post)
Israel, the Georgia War, and Iran - Tony Karon (TIME)
Syria Trains Its Missile Crews (Strategy Page)
U.S. Man Arrested for Hamas Fundraising (AFP)
Jewish Weddings Up in Israel (JTA)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
If Russia's invasion of Georgia ushers in a sustained period of renewed animosity with the West, Washington fears that a newly emboldened but estranged Moscow could use its influence, money, energy resources, UN Security Council veto, and its arms industry to undermine American interests around the world. Israeli and Western governments have already been alarmed about reports that the first elements of the Russian-built S-300 antiaircraft missile system are now being delivered to Iran, while the president of Syria spent two days this week in Russia with a shopping list of sophisticated weapons he wanted to buy.
"It's Iran, it's the UN, it's all the counterterrorism and counternarcotics programs, Syria, Venezuela, Hamas - there are any number of issues over which they can be less cooperative than they've been," said Angela E. Stent, who served as the top Russia officer at the U.S. government's National Intelligence Council until 2006. "Ironically, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there's always been the concern about Russia becoming a spoiler," said Stent, "and now we could see the realization of that." (New York Times)
More than 100 victims of terrorism in Israel filed a lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Bank of China Ltd. for transferring millions of dollars to Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and ignoring demands by Israeli counterterrorism officials to halt the practice. The bank "knowingly assisted Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to carry out terrorist attacks" and did so through the bank's U.S. branches, even though such transfers are against American law, said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit claims that beginning in July 2003, the Bank of China executed dozens of wire transfers for the terrorist groups totaling several million dollars. Many of the transfers were initiated in the Middle East, sent to branches in the U.S., then to an account at a bank branch in Guanzhou, China, the suit said. The money was then wired to terrorist leadership in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza "for the purpose of planning, preparing for and executing terrorist attacks," the suit said.
In April 2005, Israeli officials met with officials from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and China's Central Bank seeking action to prevent the Bank of China from making more transfers, but the practice continued, the suit claims. (AP)
Israel removed a checkpoint at Bir Nabala near Ramallah in the West Bank on Thursday ahead of a planned visit by Secretary of State Rice next week, the third such checkpoint Israel has removed this month. (Reuters)
Australian authorities are trying to stop an anti-Semitic satellite TV station broadcasting into the country from Indonesia - which has already rejected U.S. efforts to take the channel off the air. Al-Manar, a channel owned by Hizbullah, the militant Shiite Muslim Lebanese political party, is listed by the U.S. as a banned terrorist organization. Australia lists only its armed wing. Al-Manar promotes and raises money for terrorism, particularly against Israel. It has just started broadcasting again into Asia and the Pacific from Indonesia, using a company part-owned by the Indonesian government. The station is viciously anti-Semitic, as well as anti-Israel and anti-U.S. Australian Arabic Council chairman Roland Jabbour said the channel was very popular and widely watched by Arabic speakers in Australia. (The Age-Australia)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Russian media on Thursday quoted Syrian President Assad as saying ahead of a visit to Moscow that Syria was ready to negotiate hosting Russian surface-to-surface Iskander missiles on its soil, which Moscow says are capable of penetrating any missile defense. Assad offered to host the Russian missiles as a response to a deal signed by Washington and Warsaw this week to deploy elements of a U.S. missile defense system in Poland.
Syria is interested in purchasing Russia's Pantsyr-S1 air defense missile system, the BUK-M1 surface-to-air medium-range missile system, military aircraft and other hardware, the Russian news agency Interfax quoted a diplomatic source as saying. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "We are ready to consider requests from the Syrian side on buying more arms." Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said: "It is a mutual interest of Russia, of Israel and of the pragmatic leaders and states in the region not to send long-range missiles to Syria." (Ha'aretz)
See also Russia Says It Won't Place Advanced Missiles in Syria - Tovah Lazaroff
Russia has no intention of placing the advanced Iskander missile system in Syria, acting Russian Ambassador Anatoly Yurkov told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday. "Why would we do that?" Yurkov asked of such a deployment, adding that Russia had no interest in upsetting the strategic balance in the region. (Jerusalem Post)
"I am well aware of the expectations the international community has of these [Israel-PA] negotiations, but we have to create a responsible agreement," Israeli Foreign Minister Livni told the Israel Foreign Press Association Thursday. When asked about U.S. Secretary of State Rice's upcoming visit, Livni said that while the talks' timetable was important, "the content is more important. If we try to bridge this gap in any way other than through a detailed agreement, we could end up with violent clashes."
Livni reiterated her call to the international community to unite in the fight against the Iranian nuclear program: "Stopping Iran must be perceived as an international interest...the current sanctions are just not enough." She also commented on Syrian President Assad's visit to Russia, saying that "Syria keeps violating the weapons embargo, but is able to get (the international community's) validation by holding indirect peace talks with Israel. It's trying to regain its legitimacy despite its support of terror organizations." (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Palestinian Authority, usually referred to as Israel's "peace partner," is engaged in the promotion of hate and incitement against Israel and Jews in general, says MP Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian justice minister. "I'm not talking about Hamas - their charter with its genocidal objective, anti-Semitic ideology and terrorist instrumentality, is known. I'm talking about the Palestinian Authority. I regret to say, as a result of my own work this summer, there are many items that constitute a culture of incitement, not a culture of peace." "If you have a culture of incitement and hate, you're going to create a culture of hate that is pervasive in Palestinian society itself." He said those guilty of this include academics and the government-controlled broadcasting system.
"When I was there, I was shocked to see on their own television references to Israel's conducting of Nazi-like experiments on Palestinian prisoners." Cotler said the most disturbing and ignored incitement comes from the Palestinian leadership itself, including Mahmoud Abbas. "People don't realize that Abbas signed a law, on the very day there was a suicide terrorist attack in December 2005 against Israel, providing monthly stipends for the families of suicide bombers. In January 2007, Abbas addressed a large crowd that was estimated as being over 100,000, in which he said 'the sons of Israel are mentioned in the Koran as those who are corrupting humanity on Earth.' Abbas has never recognized Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state." (The Suburban-Canada)
The Mubarak regime's resolute failure to live up to its human rights obligations will give ammunition to members of the next Congress eager to send a strong message to Cairo. As a result, future U.S. administrations will find it difficult to justify economic assistance to Egypt, let alone to increase it. The White House, instead, will have to fight off multiple efforts to condition Egypt's military assistance. Egypt could change all this. If a new leadership were to present a clear vision for the country's future - one that Americans could understand and support - Egypt would find willing supporters in both branches of the U.S. government. Unfortunately for Egyptians and bilateral relations, such leadership is not on the horizon. Conditioning military aid may, therefore, be the only avenue open to vent U.S. displeasure. The writer is Keston Family fellow at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
According to a 2002 report released by the Library of Congress, radical Islam has become prominent throughout the Latin American region, and Venezuela, specifically Margarita Island, has become a focal point for the Arab population. However, under the government of President Hugo Chavez, Hizbullah has begun to pose an even larger threat to the Western world. Hizbullah is prominent in the small village of Maicao on the Columbia-Venezuela border in the Guajira peninsula. There, Islamics control 70 percent of commerce. Venezuela's Margarita Island is another popular tourist spot for orthodox Islamics. Eighty percent of businesses on Margarita Island are owned by the Arab population and the island is reported to be the center of a "terrorist financial network." In 2003, an analyst visiting the island described it as a "'fortress' with armed guards outside." (International Institute for Counter-Terrorism-IDC Herzliya)
The real strength of Tarek Fatah's Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State resides in its stout opposition to the wholesale takeover of Islam by feuding warlords, the devastation it has wreaked among its own peoples, the intrinsic conviction of the supremacy of Arab over non-Arab Muslims, and the duplicity of current Muslim leaders. Fatah takes the measure of the Muslim Brotherhood and its covert operation to infiltrate the Western public space. All this, in his estimation, is a betrayal of the true spirit of Islam - as is the "Islamist dream" that repudiates "this world for either a fictitious past or the promissory notes of paradise in the hereafter." (FrontPageMagazine)
JP International is a large Chinese company named after its owner, Dr. Jiang Ping ("JP") Huang, the businessman primarily responsible for opening China's door to Israeli companies in the 1990s. In an interview last week in Beijing, JP said his connection with Israel came about quite coincidentally. He was just starting out in business and living in New York in January 1992 when an Israeli friend asked him if he was interested in doing business with Israel. The friend suggested he travel to Israel to meet businessmen, and JP agreed.
Since then he has served as distributor and consultant for a growing number of Israeli companies including Tadiran, Netafim irrigation systems, and Israel Aerospace Industries. He recently joined up with an Israeli firm to lease more than 100 square kilometers of land in western China to grow trees to produce ethanol and wood chips. According to JP, "The entire world is competing for the Chinese market. Nevertheless, Israel has a huge advantage. The Chinese greatly admire the Jewish people. The average Chinese person does not distinguish between a Jew and an Israeli, and thinks that a Jew is a smart person." (Ha'aretz)
Israel Paying the Price for U.S.-Russia Rivalry - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)
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