Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Russia Shields Syria - Ariel Cohen
Internet Phone Calls Are Crippling the Fight Against Terrorism - Sean O'Neill and Richard Ford
UK Bomber Brainwashed Online by Pakistani Extremists - Adam Fresco
Academic Anti-Zionism in Australia - Ted Lapkin (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
A report released Thursday by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says Hizbullah is a threat to security in the Middle East, and criticized Syria for allowing the Islamic militant group to smuggle weapons into its terrorist network in Lebanon. "Hizbullah's maintenance of a major armed component and a para-military infrastructure separate from the state, including a secure network of communication, which the group itself deems an integral part of its arsenal, is a direct challenge to the authority of the government of Lebanon and its security forces and prevents their exclusive control over the entire territory of Lebanon," said the report, drafted by UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen. (NASDAQ/RTT News)
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said on Al-Aqsa TV on October 10, 2008: "Oh Americans, Allah will punish you because you have attacked Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia, and because you have fought anyone who raised the banner of Islam. The time has come for Allah to declare war on you, oh usurers! How could He not? After all, in the Koran, Allah declared war in only one case - that of usury." (MEMRI)
Spanish police said they had arrested 12 suspected Islamist extremists in a series of raids in Barcelona, Madrid and Cadiz on Thursday. The raids targeted networks suspected of hiding and aiding the escape of al-Qaeda members, including some linked to the 2004 Madrid train bombings which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800. Earlier this month, the High Court charged 11 Islamist suspects with plotting attacks on public transport in Barcelona. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Four members of an Islamic Jihad terror cell were arrested Thursday in a joint IDF-Israel Security Agency operation in Kabatiya, south of Jenin. During the operation, troops found two 20-kilogram bombs. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
A colonel in a PA security organization was arrested recently by the PA on suspicion of collaborating with Hamas, a Palestinian source said. A security source said the man's arrest was based on intelligence information passed to the PA by Israel and the U.S. Senior PA officials worry that the man's arrest is merely the tip of the iceberg of unknown collaborators with Hamas.
A PA committee appointed to examine Hamas' Gaza takeover in 2007 revealed that almost a third of the Gazan security forces, allegedly belonging to the PA, were actually agents of Hamas. A Palestinian source told Ynet that, in reality, the number of covert Hamas agents was at least double. (Ynet News)
Egyptian authorities on Thursday opened the Rafah border crossing to allow 32 Palestinian patients and their attendants, coming from Egyptian hospitals, to cross the border into Gaza. Except for humanitarian cases, Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing closed since the Islamist movement Hamas violently seized control in June 2007. According to a U.S.-brokered protocol, the crossing cannot be used without the presence of EU monitors and PA security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas. (DPA/Ha'aretz)
Following a report in the Jerusalem Post, the jihadist website AqsaTube has been taken off-line by its French Internet service provider OVH. Most of the AqsaTube videos inciting against Israel, glorifying terrorism, and preaching the doctrines of radical Islam were supplied by Hamas. (Jerusalem Post)
Al-Azhar University in Gaza City was shut down by police on Thursday after Hamas-affiliated students stormed the campus of the Fatah-affiliated university. (Maan News-PA)
Thousands of Jews participated in the priestly blessing, or Birkat Ha'Cohanim, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Thursday. Jews who are Cohanim are believed to be descendants of priests in the First and Second Jewish Temple periods and perform a blessing ceremony of the Jewish people. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
It's been a while since German military officers attended rallies that feature threats to Jews. Last month Berlin's defense attache in Tehran resumed that tradition at Iran's annual military parade. This episode illustrates the fundamental problem with Germany's attitude toward Iran: the disconnect between what Berlin says is its official policy goal - stopping the mullahs' quest for nuclear arms - and what Berlin actually does.
Germany remains Iran's key Western trading partner. In the first seven months of this year, Germany's Federal Office of Economics and Export Control approved 1,926 business deals with Iran - an increase of 63% over last year. During that same period, German exports to Iran rose 14%. For the record, French exports went up 21% during the first six months of the year, while Britain's exports to Tehran fell 20%. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
Damascus has long epitomized a "nuanced" understanding of Islamist terrorism. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah have earned Syria's endorsement and significant material backing. Similarly, authorities in Damascus have fueled the insurgency in Iraq, championed as praiseworthy "resistance to U.S. occupation." Under the watch of Syria's intelligence services, the most virulent radical jihadist networks have relied on Syria as a thoroughfare through which to channel streams of suicide bombers and other jihadists into Iraq.
Syria's choice should be simple: an end to support for all terrorism and respect for Lebanon's independence, or America will sit on the sidelines. The writer, a native of Beirut, is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (Weekly Standard)
U.S. Secretary of State Rice wants to conclude her term of office with an Israeli-Palestinian agreement of principles, based on the "two-state solution." However, neither Israel nor the Palestinians want an agreement of principles at this time. In addition, any Israeli leader will have to understand the needs and constraints of a weakened America, which is reeling under a financial crisis and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not burden the next president with a tiresome list of the threats facing Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Mohammed Atrianfar, 55, editor-in-chief of the weekly Iranian political magazine Sharwand-e Emrus (Citizens of Today), is confident that the reformers can regain their former popularity in the 2009 presidential elections. According to Atrianfar's calculations, there is significant vote potential for former President Mohammad Khatami. In the last presidential election, reformist candidates captured 16 million votes, while the traditionalists and radical conservatives under Ahmadinejad received only 12 million votes. Surveys, even those conducted by the right, indicate that Khatami is still a popular hero. In those polls, the religious scholar is a full 27 points ahead of the revolutionary fanatic Ahmadinejad. "Very few people have our president's talent," Atrianfar says derisively, "to alienate so many friends and supporters." (Der Spiegel-Germany)
See also Iran's Reformist Ex-President Back in Spotlight - Parisa Hafezi (Reuters)
The "separation barrier" that now divides a good deal of Israel from much of the West Bank is almost invariably presented in newspapers or on TV as an ugly, forbidding series of tall concrete slabs. There is just one problem with this picture. It isn't accurate, or not very. True, the portion of the barrier that snakes through Jerusalem does take the form of a concrete wall, as do several other sections of the structure, but those portions represent only about 3% of the still unfinished barricade. The rest consists of an electronically monitored chain-link fence.
Welcome to the Middle East, where few features of the geopolitical landscape ever turn out to be exactly the way they tend to be perceived from abroad. Take the whole notion of physical separation between Israelis and Palestinians. It is surprising just how much commingling of the two sides does go on. Some West Bank roads are reserved for Israeli vehicles, but many are not, and Israelis regularly speed along the same roads as Palestinian vehicles. (Toronto Star)
Common Interests Unite U.S., Israel - Frida Ghitis (Miami Herald)
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