Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


December 2, 2008

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Mumbai Attacks: Jews Tortured Before Being Executed - Damien McElroy (Telegraph-UK)
    Doctors expressed horror at the condition of the bodies recovered from the Habad house in Mumbai.
    "I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was traumatized," a mortician said. "It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood."
    The group that stormed Mumbai displayed unrestrained brutality. Police said 17 victims were pushed against a wall in the Oberoi hotel and executed in a line.

Did Five Mumbai Terrorists Escape? - Rhys Blakely (Times-UK)
    At least five terrorist gunmen involved in the carnage in Mumbai might have escaped and could strike again.
    Security forces claimed that only ten militants - nine of whom were killed and one caught alive- were behind the coordinated attacks that claimed nearly 200 lives.
    However, a hijacked Indian fishing boat used by the gunmen had equipment for 15 men: "Fifteen winter jackets were found, fifteen toothbrushes," a police source said.
    Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only gunman to be caught alive, said during police questioning that 24 men were trained in camps in Pakistan for the mission.

Report: Hizbullah to Help Overthrow Assad If Syria Reaches Peace with Israel (Media Line)
    Lebanon's Hizbullah has planted clandestine cells across Syria since it began indirect peace talks with Israel ten months ago, the Kuwaiti daily A-Siyasa reported, citing Lebanese security sources.
    The cells have been ordered to help in an "imminent coup against the Syrian regime" in case it signed a peace agreement with Israel, the report says.

Saudi Columnist: Why Do We Object to Occupation Only in Palestine? (MEMRI)
    Mash'al al-Sudairi, a columnist for the London daily Asharq Alawsat, wrote on Sep. 15:
    "With all the turmoil over the Palestinian issue, we have completely forgotten that other Arab countries have been robbed of parts of their territories, in broad daylight - and we never uttered a word of protest."
    "Have we forgotten Alexandretta [a Syrian district taken over by Turkey after World War I]?... Since most of the Arabs of Alexandretta are Sunni, like the Turks, they were classified as Turks....In this way, Alexandretta, 95% of whose population was Arab, was taken away."
    "The same thing happened to the Al-Muhammara Emirate, the former Arabistan, which Britain gave to Iran on a 'tray of oil.' And now Iran has occupied the islands belonging to the UAE (Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Moussa), exactly as it did in the Shah's era."

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • PA Prime Minister Fayyad Asks EU Not to Upgrade Ties with Israel
    Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told EU diplomats on Monday that the EU should not upgrade ties with Israel as long as construction continues in West Bank settlements. EU officials are expected to hold meetings in Brussels about the upgrade this month. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • Business Booming in West Bank Cities - Patrick Martin
    In Ramallah, home of the Palestinian Authority, business booms and street life is vibrant. Housing construction appears back in business. Cafe life, especially in the more Christian districts, has regained some of the European-style for which the city was famous. Several boutique hotels do a fine trade and a Movenpick hotel is due to open in the new year. Many shops in Ramallah are superior to anything found in Arab eastern Jerusalem, so a large number of Jerusalemites are actually going to Ramallah to shop.
        Hebron has wasted little time in donning its old prosperity. Shops flourish, people are working, and the roads are remarkably efficient, with traffic lights carefully obeyed in neighborhoods where chaos reigned just a few years ago. Some of the best restaurants have now moved to luxurious new premises. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
        See also Economic Surge for Palestinians in West Bank - Yaakov Katz
    There has been an economic surge in the West Bank in the past year, according to an internal Israel Defense Ministry Civil Administration report obtained on Monday. Palestinian unemployment has dropped 3% since the beginning of the year, while average daily wages are up 24%. In addition, since the beginning of the year, the IDF has removed 113 roadblocks and dirt mounds throughout the West Bank, enabling easier travel between Palestinian cities.
        The value of the olive harvest jumped from NIS 200 million in 2007 to NIS 517.5 million in 2008. There was also a 10% increase in the number of workers employed in settlements, as well as a 10% increase in permits issued for Palestinians working in Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Positive Trend in Economic Indicators for the West Bank (Israel Ministry of Defense)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Buries Victims of Mumbai Habad House Attack - Anshel Pfeffer
    Thousands of people attended the funerals on Tuesday in Israel of the six Jews killed in the attack on Mumbai's Habad house last Wednesday. (Ha'aretz)
        See also below Observations: A Guide for the Bereaved - Sherri Mandell (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah Terrorist Killed in West Bank - Efrat Weiss
    Muhammad Abu Driyah of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades was shot and killed Monday by Israel Defense Forces soldiers who were trying to arrest him in the West Bank city of Nablus. Palestinian sources said Abu Driyah currently served with the PA security forces, and was in a vehicle belonging to the PA at the time of the arrest attempt. He had been granted clemency by Israel, but was believed to have renewed his involvement in terrorism. The IDF arrested six wanted Palestinians in Nablus on Sunday night. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Lands near Ashkelon - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket that exploded Monday afternoon near a kibbutz south of Ashkelon. (Ynet News)
        See also Palestinians Throw Firebomb at Bus in West Bank
    Palestinians on Monday threw a firebomb at an Israeli bus driving on the Jerusalem-Hebron road near Beit Omar, south of Bethlehem. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • If This Isn't Terrorism, What Is? - Tom Gross
    In Mumbai the terrorists used BlackBerrys to stay in touch with each other during their three-and-half-day rampage, outwitting the authorities by monitoring international reaction to the attacks on British, Urdu and Arabic Web sites. This was no hostage standoff. The terrorists didn't want to negotiate. They wanted to murder as many Hindus, Christians, Jews, atheists and other "infidels" as they could, and in as spectacular a manner as possible. In the Jewish center, some of the female victims even appear to have been tortured before being killed.
        So why are so many prominent Western media reluctant to call the perpetrators terrorists? The terrorists in Mumbai didn't need to make any public announcements. They knew that many deluded Western journalists and academics will do that job for them, explaining that the West is to blame, especially the Zionists. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
        See also Media Narratives Feed Terrorist Fantasies - Bret Stephens
    It's worth wondering why a media that treats nearly every word uttered by the U.S., British or Israeli governments as inherently suspect has proved so consistently credulous when it comes to every dubious or defamatory claim made against those governments. Terrorists, of all people, might actually believe what they read in the papers. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Talk Tough with Tehran - Dennis Ross
    Everywhere you look in the Middle East today, Iran is threatening U.S. interests and the political order. If the Iranians are throwing their weight around now, imagine what will happen if they go nuclear. Tehran clearly wants nukes for both defensive and offensive purposes.
        History shows that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's government responds to outside pressure, restricting its actions when it feels threatened and taking advantage when it judges it can. In 2003, for example, after the U.S. military made short work of the Iraqi Army - something Iran hadn't managed in eight years of war - Tehran quickly reached out to Washington, sending a proposal through the Swiss ambassador in Tehran that sought to allay U.S. concerns about Iran's weapons program and its support for Hizbullah and Hamas. By contrast, when the U.S. government released a National Intelligence Estimate a year ago concluding that Iran had suspended its weaponization program, President Ahmadinejad quickly crowed that confrontation had worked and the Americans had backed down. (Newsweek)
        See also Time May Not be Ripe for a Dialogue with Iran - David Ignatius
    Iran is stronger than it was eight years ago, and the U.S. is weaker. Iran spurns America's carrots and dismisses its sticks. President-elect Obama wants to open a serious dialogue with Tehran, but there's little reason now to believe that it will succeed. Iranian officials are bellicose in public, and privately even the advocates of negotiation warn that the time may not be ripe for a broad strategic discussion. And as the clock ticks, Iran moves inexorably toward becoming a nuclear-weapons state. Anyone who thinks it will be easy for Obama to make a breakthrough hasn't been paying attention. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    A Guide for the Bereaved - Sherri Mandell (Jerusalem Post)

    • To the families of those killed in the Mumbai terrorist attacks, make no mistake, this tragedy will affect you for the rest of your life.
    • People will ask you: Do you hate the killers? And when you answer no, they will think that something is wrong with you. But hate is not something you have the energy for; you are too sad to hate. Besides you are a person who loves. To turn to hate would make you like the killers.
    • Don't let others tell you that your loved ones died for nothing. They died because they were innocent victims of radical Islamic hatred. They died because radical Islam is vicious and evil and worships destruction and stands against everything you hold dear.
    • It is paramount that you seek justice - but do not seek revenge. Revenge embitters you while justice elevates you. Justice is motivated by love; revenge is motivated by hatred. Revenge is the modus operandi of the terrorists, and their hatred for others will in the end be defeated.
    • Keep speaking about the evil that was perpetrated against your loved one. Don't allow the media or others to call the murderers militants or freedom fighters. Insist that your loved one's murder be remembered.

      The writer's 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists in 2001. She and her husband Seth created the Koby Mandell Foundation which offers healing programs for families struck by terror (

    Daily Alert Needs Your Support
    Daily Alert is the work of a team of veteran analysts who search out the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy. No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and people who want to stay on top of the news. To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert