Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Livni Wins Kadima Primaries - Attila Somfalvi
Scenes from "The World's Largest Concentration Camp" (Honest Reporting-BBC News)
Cairo Cool to Tehran's Clinch - Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani (Asia Times-Hong Kong)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Attackers armed with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and at least one suicide car bomb assaulted the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital on Wednesday. Sixteen people were killed, including six assailants, officials said. No Americans were hurt in the deadly attempt to breach the compound walls, which the U.S. said bore "all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda attack."
Ted Gistaro, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, said recently that "Yemen is rapidly re-emerging as a jihadist battleground and potential base of operations." Yemenis make up the largest population of detainees - at least 108 - held at Guantanamo Bay. (AP)
Russia is stepping up its rhetoric about redeploying its Black Sea Fleet to the Mediterranean if Ukraine pushes ahead with plans to evict it from its home port base of Sevastopol in the Crimea. "New bases in the Mediterranean Sea could make up for the departure," Rear Adm. Andrei Baranov stated Monday. The most likely Mediterranean base for the Black Sea Fleet would be Tartus in Syria, which served as a maintenance port for the old Soviet navy during the Cold War.
The RIA Novosti news agency said that "about 10 Russian warships and three floating piers" were already based at Tartus and Russian engineers and construction crews are at work enlarging the naval base. A new pier for the use of Russian warships was also being constructed at nearby Latakia. If Russia were to base significant naval forces in Syria, that could have the effect of deterring or limiting Israel's ability to strike at targets in Syria because it might then run the risk of Russian retaliation. (UPI/Washington Times)
The armed wing of Hamas called Wednesday for militants in the West Bank to use force if security men loyal to Mahmoud Abbas try to arrest them, after Fatah security forces detained two of its gunmen in Hebron. "We call upon our people and the (fighters) to defend themselves by all available means against any attempt to arrest them by (Fatah security) services, which are now working as a unit of the Zionist army," the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam brigades said in a statement. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Syria said Wednesday that a fifth round of indirect peace talks with Israel scheduled for Thursday had been postponed at Israel's request. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said, "Israel remains committed to the Turkish initiative and to the indirect talks with the Syrians. We are hopeful that the next round of talks will be able to begin shortly." (Ynet News)
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) called on Wednesday for an investigation into the conduct of Hamas' security forces in clashes with a pro-al-Qaeda group that killed 12 Palestinians, and urged Hamas to ensure that "excessive force" is not used during security crackdowns. A video clip posted on the Internet showed what it said were the bloody bodies of several Dughmush family members. One man in the group could be seen moving his head. "Let him die. He was the one who fired against our men," an unidentified person said. (Reuters/Ynet News)
See also Gaza Mother Witnesses Hamas Security Forces Execute Sons
A Gaza mother said Wednesday that her four sons were "executed" in front of her by Hamas security forces on Tuesday. Makram Dughmush said that when she and Kafa Dughmush, a relative, attempted to rescue the men, security forces fired at their feet, leaving Kafa with a gunshot wound to her left thigh and Makram with two bullets in her leg.
Kafa said forces entered a room where family members had gathered. There they found Ibrahim Dughmush, who was injured, hiding under a women's veil. Kafa claims that police opened fire directly at the young man as family members looked on. Kafa says she then watched security forces shoot each person in the room, killing Jamil Dughmush, Mohammad Farouq Dughmush, Yousef Dughmush, Faraj Dughmush, Jamil Dughmush, Mohammad Akram Dughmush, and Sa'eb Akram Dughmush. (Maan News-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The fate of the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process will be determined more by whom the Palestinians select as their leader than on the Kadima primary. The Israeli leader might want a deal, but if the leadership of the other side doesn't want it, or can't impose a deal on the Palestinian population, then all of his or her best intentions won't matter that much.
Israelis like to think we're in control, that we dictate the pace and outcome of events. But we don't. There is another side, and what is happening over there domestically is equally important, if not more important. The question of whether Hamas manages to wrangle control of the PA from Fatah or whether Fatah succeeds in wresting back control in Gaza is more important in the long run for the peace process than whether Tzipi Livni becomes Kadima's leader and - possibly - the prime minister for a few months. (Jerusalem Post)
Transatlantic Trends 2008, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. and the Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy), asked respondents in various countries in June to rate their feelings toward countries, with 100 meaning very warm and favorable and 0 unfavorable.
U.S. respondents: US-83, Russia-48, Israel-62, PA-36, Iran-25
French respondents: US-47, Russia-41, Israel-41, PA-40, Iran-24
German respondents: US-51, Russia-49, Israel-47, PA-39, Iran-29
UK respondents: US-56, Russia-47, Israel-45, PA-45, Iran-33
Turkish respondents: US-14, Russia-18, Israel-8, PA-44, Iran-32 (Transatlantic Trends)
See also Unfavorable Views of Jews and Muslims on the Increase in Europe
Growing numbers of people in several major European countries say they have an unfavorable opinion of Jews and Muslims. A spring 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center's Pew Global Attitudes Project finds 46% of the Spanish rating Jews unfavorably, with 34% of Russians and 36% of Poles echoing this view. Significant numbers of Germans (25%) and French (20%) also express negative opinions of Jews. Other figures reported include Great Britain (9%), Australia (11%), and the U.S. (7%).
Fully half of Spanish (52%) and German respondents (50%) rate Muslims unfavorably. Negative opinions about Muslims are found in Poland (46%), France (38%), Britain (23%) and the U.S. (23%). (Pew Global Attitudes Project)
Ranged against hundreds of websites supporting bin Laden's teachings are new, powerful sites whose writers do not hesitate to denounce his zealous preachings. Millions of participants in Internet forums, freed from the bonds of political or religious censorship, criticize daily not only the preachers or their teachings but also the way they were educated by their regimes. They do not support President Bush, but they distinguish between his policies and the domestic failings of their own regimes that are responsible for their problems.
In Algeria, the state with the largest number of victims in the war with extremist organizations, a national reconciliation was achieved and most Islamic movements laid down their weapons. In Egypt, the Islamic group that produced the murderer of Anwar Sadat expressed remorse and its members wrote a "new book of principles" that eschews violence. In Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of bin Laden and most of the 9/11 perpetrators, a new dialogue is taking place on religious education, and preachers who once taught bin Laden's creed changed their positions. (Ha'aretz)
Place Onus for Peace Where It Belongs - on Palestinians - David A. Harris (Philadelphia Jewish Exponent)
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