Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hizbullah: Large Swaths of Northern Israel Belong to Lebanon - Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
Nobel Laureate: No Financial Crisis in Israel - Adrian Filut (Globes)
Israel Marks Anniversary of Rabin Assassination (AFP)
The Scientist Magazine: Israel's Weizmann Institute, Hebrew University Named Best Places to Work in Academia (Market Watch)
A Solar Revolution Dawns in the Desert - Ehud Zion Waldoks
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The U.S. thwarted a suspect shipment from North Korea to Iran by persuading the Indian government to deny clearance for the North Korean flight to travel through Indian airspace, U.S. officials said Monday. U.S. officials suspect the North Korean plane, an Ilyushin-62 jet owned by the North Korean state airline, was carrying sophisticated technology - such as ballistic missile parts - that could be used in a program for weapons of mass destruction. (Washington Post)
See also India Seeks "Velvet Divorce" from Iran - M.K. Bhadrakumar (Asia Times-Hong Kong)
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and denounced last week's U.S. raid on a Syrian village as he made a solidarity visit to Damascus on Monday. (AFP)
See also American School in Syria Ordered Closed - Albert Aji
The Damascus Community School, an American school in the Syrian capital, closed its doors and told students to go home Monday after the Syrian government ordered it shut down in response to a U.S. cross-border raid near the Iraqi border. (AP/Washington Post)
On Nov. 1, 2008, the Iranian website Tabnak, which is identified with Expediency Council Secretary and former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezai, reported that flyers have recently been circulated in Iran calling on the public, especially young people, to sign up for suicide operations to be carried out by the Lebanese Hizbullah. The flyer promises registrants that they will become "fighters in the worldwide front against the Global Arrogance [i.e. the U.S.]." (MEMRI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Olmert's intention to push forward indirect talks with Syria is motivated by a desire to keep the heat on Iran, Western diplomatic sources said Sunday. According to the sources, the Turkish-mediated talks between Syria and Israel have caused a degree of concern in Tehran, with the Iranian leaders not completely sure about which direction Damascus was headed. Israel has made clear that any peace agreement with Syria would necessitate a dramatic downgrading of Syria's close ties with Iran. "The indirect talks help isolate Iran," the sources said.
According to Western diplomatic sources, the U.S. cross-border raid into Syria last week has only heightened Syria's interest in getting Washington to engage with them within the framework of negotiations. The Syrians believe there would be less likelihood of additional attacks if they were involved in negotiations. (Jerusalem Post)
As Hamas and Fatah discuss reconciliation and the formation of a unity government, Fatah certainly does not intend to integrate Hamas into the Palestinian Authority security services - which are currently busy arresting Hamas members throughout the West Bank. Hamas, for its part, seems unenthusiastic about giving up its exclusive rule in Gaza, and it will certainly not agree to dismantle its military wing. Both may sign an Egyptian document which calls for a new unity government ruling both Gaza and the West Bank, early parliamentary and presidential elections, and comprehensive reform of the PA security services. Nevertheless, this program seems unlikely to be implemented anytime soon. (Ha'aretz)
See also Fatah Clamps Down on Hamas in Hebron - Khaled Abu Toameh
Hamas officials over the weekend accused the PA security forces in the West Bank of stepping up their arrests of Hamas supporters in the Hebron area, which has long been a Hamas stronghold. Sources in Hebron said PA policemen raided several Hamas-run mosques and confiscated "inflammatory" material and megaphones. Among those taken into custody are imams, university students, teachers and political activists. Abu Obaidah, spokesman for Hamas' armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, said, "Abbas' policemen are traitors. They have become Zionists because they are openly targeting the Palestinian resistance groups." (Jerusalem Post)
Egypt's military is gradually replacing dated Soviet equipment with superior American F-16 fighter jets, Apache combat helicopters and Abrams tanks, according to arms control expert Prof. Yiftah Shapir of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Securities Studies. Egypt has an estimated 470,000 men in its ground forces, 150,000 of them reserves, as well as 3,100 tanks, including more than 1,000 modern M1A1 Abram tanks that were assembled in Egypt. The country's air force includes 211 advanced F-16D jets, and 35 Apaches. Egypt has advanced air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, and has been supplied by the U.S. with 16 HAWK missile batteries. Egypt has 27 guided-missile frigates, 12 mine warfare vessels, and 19 gunboats. It is thought to possess 190 Scud-type missiles.
Nevertheless, "Egypt believes Israel is fully interested in safeguarding the status quo, and Israel believes the same of Egypt," Shapir said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Inside Washington's policy circles these days - in studies, commentaries, meetings, Congressional hearings and conferences - reasonable people from both parties are seriously examining the so-called military option to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program, along with new diplomatic initiatives.
A report by the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center, founded by four former senators - Republicans Robert Dole and Howard Baker and Democrats Tom Daschle and George Mitchell, explores such strategies as blockading Iran's gasoline imports, but it also says that "a military strike is a feasible option and must remain a last resort." Ashton Carter, a senior Pentagon official in the Clinton administration, wrote a paper for the Center for a New American Security that asserts military action "is an element of any true option." (New York Times)
Nearly 17 armed factions and 70,000 people are packed into the teeming Palestinian slum of Ein el-Hilweh in Lebanon. The groups - secular, leftist, Islamist, nationalist, jihadist - are mindful of last year's conflict in Nahr al-Bared when the Lebanese Army took on the al-Qaeda-inspired militants of Fatah al-Islam. The Palestinian neighborhood was flattened, more than 200 militants were killed, and 30,000 residents were left homeless. Sheikh Ali al-Yussef, an influential Palestinian cleric who helped mediate between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam, now says, "It is the decision of all Islamic forces in Ein el-Hilweh to avoid another Nahr al-Bared." (Christian Science Monitor)
The upcoming Jerusalem elections and the widespread expectation of a continued Palestinian boycott is yet another indication of the lazy thinking that continues to dominate the Palestinian political scene. It is time to consider whether the boycott is hurting more than it is helping.
Israel has afforded Palestinians a degree of political representation and there is no reason why these democratic structures should not be pushed to their limits. With Palestinians constituting over 30% of the city's population, the Palestinian vote would hold significant sway in how the city is run. The boycott of the elections is indicative of a widespread problem with Palestinian politics, namely, the continued obsession with symbolism. Real political gains are sacrificed in order to maintain a symbolic stance which is only of significance to Palestinians themselves. (Guardian-UK)
Nazi Holocaust Began with Leaders' Dangerous Words - Ambassador Gabriela Shalev (Israel Mission to the UN)
Speaking before the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Israel's ambassador to the UN told the General Assembly on Monday:
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