Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Israel Assesses Damage from Lehman Collapse - Sharon Shpurer (Ha'aretz)
Report: Aide to Hamas Chief Shot Dead in Syria (Ha'aretz)
Eleven Dead as Hamas Battles Clan in Gaza
Freed Lebanese Terrorist Kuntar in Demo for Jailed "Cuban Five"
U.S.: Al-Qaeda "Imploding" - Pamela Hess (AP)
Oil Falls Below $100 a Barrel - Jad Mouawad
(International Herald Tribune)
"Damascus Spring" Fades from Memory - Andrew England (Financial Times-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran has substantially improved the efficiency of its centrifuges that produce enriched uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday. Iran is now running about 3,800 centrifuges, the machines that make enriched uranium, an increase of several hundred in the past four months. More significantly, it has increased the efficiency of its centrifuges to about 80% from 50%. That means the machines are processing more material, crashing less and running closer to their stated capacity.
In its report, the agency charged the Iranians with continuing to stonewall about past research on designing a nuclear weapon. Last summer the agency gave Iran fixed deadlines to resolve questions about nuclear activities in the past two decades. "We seem to be at a dead end," said a senior official with links to the agency. "We would describe it as a gridlock." (New York Times)
Dubai has always been the place where Iranians go to escape U.S. sanctions. When the U.S. Treasury banned key Iranian banks a year ago, Iranian businessmen flocked there to open new bank accounts. But in recent months U.S. pressure has prompted a crackdown in the United Arab Emirates, Iran's largest trading partner and home to some 450,000 Iranian citizens.
Recently, UAE officials have dramatically reduced the number of business licenses to Iranian citizens and have begun to refuse to register Iranian work visas. In addition, most international banks in the UAE have stopped opening new accounts for Iranians. "The UAE is taking steps to be vigilant," said Treasury undersecretary Stuart Levey, a key architect of the banking sanctions. (Boston Globe)
See also Defector Accuses Iran of Running Sleeper Cells in Gulf
Iran runs a network of agents in the six Arab monarchies of the Gulf that could be used to destabilize the region, a senior defector charged in an interview published in Dubai on Monday. Adel al-Assadi, who was consul general in Dubai before defecting in 2001, said Shiite Iran's Revolutionary Guards started to set up the sleeper cells right after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Tehran. "Tehran has enough manpower to destabilize the GCC countries, which is bad news," said Assadi, who now lives in Sweden. (AFP)
Some 130 Holocaust scholars appealed Monday to International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to pursue his indictment of Sudan's president on charges of genocide in Darfur, saying said the prosecution of Omar al-Bashir would "deter future atrocities." Moreno-Ocampo requested an arrest warrant for al-Bashir in July. The Arab League and the African Union have sought a UN resolution to suspend the indictment against the Sudanese leader.
"The governments that are trying to protect al-Bashir should be ashamed of themselves," said Rafael Medoff, director of the Washington-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies which organized the appeal. (AP/Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
"Syria is moving forward along the path of peace and openness toward the West while simultaneously strengthening its ties to the radical axis," the head of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday. (Ynet News)
A Palestinian stabbed an IDF soldier and stole his weapon on Monday at the Almog Junction on the Jerusalem-Dead Sea road. Israeli police located the terrorist's hiding place, detained him, and retrieved the weapon. (Ynet News)
The chaos that once reigned in the West Bank's cities and villages has vanished, replaced by Palestinian security forces. Armed militias are no longer part of the landscape. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades have been all but disbanded, and most of their members have joined the PA security apparatus. PA security has shut down or taken control of 45 Hamas and Islamic Jihad-run charities. Their schools and hospitals are now being run under the PA's watchful eye. Hamas' military apparatus in the West Bank still exists, but it no longer presents an immediate threat to PA institutions. The Hamas-run shopping center in Nablus, closed two months ago by the IDF, was recently reopened after the PA ousted its management in favor of its own people. (Ha'aretz)
See also Israel, U.S., PA Discuss PA Security Control in West Bank - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
The U.S., Israel and the PA are discussing expanding the authority of Palestinian forces in the West Bank. Since May, the PA has been enforcing law and order in and around Jenin, and the pilot program may be expanded to Tulkarm. (Ha'aretz)
Zohir Hamdan, 60, a Palestinian serving as the mukhtar (head) of the eastern Jerusalem village of Tzur Baher, is running for the capital's city council on an independent list, the first time a Palestinian is taking part in the city's municipal elections. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Paul McCartney reassured his fans in Israel last week that he'll go ahead with a planned concert in Tel Aviv. A standard smear against Israel is that it is supposedly an apartheid state. In truth, Mr. McCartney will be performing in the only country in the Middle East where Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as both men and women, can come together in freedom and listen to his songs. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
Mickey Mouse is a corrupting influence and must die, Saudi Muslim cleric Sheikh Muhammad Munajid, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington, has declared. "Mickey Mouse has become an awesome character, even though according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed in all cases," he said. (Telegraph-UK)
See also Saudi Clerics Slam Ramadan TV - Andrew Hammond
Across the Arab world, the month of Ramadan has become an orgy of food and TV consumption, Saudi clerics say. Television this year has seemingly pushed some clerics to apoplexy with romantic soaps showcasing liberal lifestyles, dramas that fan the flames of ancient tribal hatreds, and slapstick comedies that have captured the public's heart. The attacks on the Arab entertainment channels have raised eyebrows because the owners of MBC, ART, Orbit, Rotana and LBC are members of the Saudi royal family or business allies. (Reuters)
The New York Times reported that seven years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the "conventional wisdom" in the Middle East is that "the United States and Israel had to have been involved" in the planning, if not execution, of the mass murder. The report fails to raise the possibility that the persistence of such beliefs may reveal a pathology in the culture of the contemporary Arab Middle East. Instead, it suggests that it is due to the inadequacies of U.S. public diplomacy that the fabled Arab Street thinks Americans incinerated fellow Americans as part of a "crusade" against them.
Yet Americans in recent years have repeatedly sacrificed blood and treasure to rescue Muslim communities. Americans intervened in the Balkans to protect Bosnia and Kosovo from hostile Christian neighbors. Americans saved Kuwait from the savagery of Saddam Hussein. America liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban, an al-Qaeda proxy. Then there are the billions in aid that American taxpayers have given to the Palestinians. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Washington Times)
See also They Still Blame Us: World Believes U.S., or Israelis, Did 9/11 - Michele Malkin
Who was responsible for 9/11? "Israel was behind the attacks, said 43% of people in Egypt, 31% in Jordan and 19% in the Palestinian territories," according to a survey released this week of 16,000 people in 17 nations. "The U.S. government was blamed by 36% of Turks, 30% of Mexicans, and 27% of Palestinians." (New York Post)
Freedom Under Fire: Israel and the Lessons of 9/11 - Charles C. Haynes (Janesville [WI] Gazette)
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