Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


February 18, 2009

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Explosives Haul Missing in Gaza - Tim Franks (BBC News)
    A large stockpile of unexploded weapons fired by the Israeli military during its recent offensive in Gaza has disappeared before UN experts were able to dispose of it safely.
    UN officials said they were urgently trying to establish where the arms had gone and have called for their return.
    Israel has accused Hamas of taking the stockpile, which was under Hamas guard.

Egyptian Army, Air Force Conduct Sinai War Games (AP/International Herald Tribune)
    Egypt's state news agency MENA says large numbers of Egyptian infantry, armored and artillery units as well as air force warplanes have taken part in a ten-day exercise in the Sinai Peninsula designed to improve the army's combat capability.
    Egypt has staged several war games in Sinai over the last few years. The 1979 Camp David peace agreement with Israel imposes limits on the number of troops Egypt can have in the peninsula.

Sponsors Dump Dubai Open Over Treatment of Israeli Player (AFP/Fox Sports)
    The Wall Street Journal Europe has revoked its sponsorship of the WTA Dubai Open women's tennis tournament because the United Arab Emirates has denied a visa to Israeli player Shahar Peer. This follows a decision by the Tennis Channel not to televise the Dubai tournament.
    See also Dubai Double Fault - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
    Dubai may wish to reconsider not only Ms. Peer's visa, but its attitude generally toward Israel.
    A city-state that fancies itself a global mecca for commerce, sport and recreation ought to be able to handle a few Jews in its cosmopolitan midst.

Dalai Lama: Non-Violence Cannot Tackle Terrorism (Press Trust of India)
    The Dalai Lama, a lifelong champion of non-violence, on Saturday stated that terrorism cannot be tackled by applying the principle of ahimsa (the avoidance of violence) because the minds of terrorists are closed.
    "It is difficult to deal with terrorism through non-violence," the Tibetan spiritual leader said in Delhi.
    He termed terrorism as the worst kind of violence which is not carried out by a few mad people but by those who are educated. He said the only way to tackle terrorism is through prevention.
    The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile left the audience stunned when he said "I love President George W. Bush." "I told him 'I love you but some of your policies I oppose'," said the spiritual leader.

Layoffs in Israel Hit Record High in January - Vered Lee (Ha'aretz)
    January marked the highest number of layoffs in Israel's history as 20,000 Israelis lost jobs, the Employment Service reported Tuesday.

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

  • Muslim Clerics Meet in Turkey, Urge New Jihad Against Israel over Gaza - Bill Law
    At a weekend meeting in Istanbul, 200 religious scholars and clerics met with senior Hamas officials to plot a new jihad against Israel centered on Gaza. The choice of Turkey was significant. As one organizer put it: "During the past 100 years relations have been strained but Palestine has brought us together." Many delegates spoke appreciatively of the protest by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At the conference, dubbed the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign, Saudi religious scholar Mohsen al-Awajy and other delegates repeatedly referred to the Gaza war as "a victory." "Gaza gives us power, it solves our differences. We are all now in a unified front against Zionism," he said. (BBC News)
  • Clinton Says U.S. Seeks Unity with Muslim World - Glenn Kessler
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday in Tokyo that the Obama administration will make "a concerted effort" to restore the image of the U.S. in the Islamic world and will seek to "enlist the help of Muslims around the world against the extremists." Clinton's remarks came in response to a question about terrorism causing people in the U.S. to have anti-Muslim "prejudice," a term she rejected forcefully. Clinton on Wednesday will travel to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Syria Building Chemical Weapons Plant - Yaakov Katz
    Syria is building a chemical weapons production facility in the country's northwest, satellite images obtained by the defense analyst group Jane's reveal. The Al-Safir facility is located at a missile base that holds a significant part of Syria's long-range Scud D ballistic missiles. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Reaches Out to Jewish Leaders on "Durban II" - Hilary Leila Krieger
    Senior White House and State Department officials held a conference call with American Jewish leaders Monday to reassure them over the administration's decision to participate in preliminary discussions about the UN's World Conference Against Racism conference in Geneva this April. Jewish leaders were told that Washington's decision to participate in the conference was being coordinated with the Israeli government, and that the U.S. presence was an effort to change the direction of the conference. The U.S. officials said that they were "under no illusions" about the nature of the gathering, which featured anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic material in its first incarnation held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jordan Postpones International Lawsuit Against Israel - Roee Nahmias
    Jordan has decided to postpone its mission to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi reported Wednesday. Earlier this week, the chairman of the Jordanian Parliament's Legal Committee, Mubarak Abu Yameen al-Abadi, announced his country would pursue legal action against Israeli officials for alleged war crimes committed during Israel's military operation in Gaza. Israeli Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said Tuesday: "There is no greater hypocrisy than a country that just 39 years ago, during 1970s Black September, murdered 10,000 of its Palestinian residents, dealing with international crimes today....Jordan will not be the one to teach Israel about the ethics of warfare." (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Let's See the "Criticism" of Israel for the Anti-Semitism It Really Is - Howard Jacobson
    The hatred of Israel expressed in our streets, campuses, newspapers, radios and televisions is a discriminatory, over-and-above hatred, inexplicable in its hysteria and virulence whatever justification is adduced for it; an unreasoning, deranged revulsion that is poisoning everything we are supposed to believe in - the free exchange of opinions, the clear-headedness of thinkers and teachers, modernity of outlook, tolerance, and truth. You can taste the toxins on your tongue. But I am not allowed to ascribe any of this to anti-Semitism. In the matter of Israel and the Palestinians, England has been heading towards a dictatorship of the one-minded for a long time; we seem now to have attained it.
        What do we think we are doing when we call the Israelis Nazis and liken Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto? In the early 1940s some 100,000 Jews and Romanis died of engineered starvation and disease in the Warsaw Ghetto, another quarter of a million were transported to the death camps. Don't mistake me: every Palestinian killed in Gaza is a Palestinian too many, but there is not the remotest similarity, either in intention or in deed, between Gaza and Warsaw. Berating Jews with their own history is the latest species of Holocaust denial.
        Anyone with scant knowledge of the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations would assume that Jews descended on the country as from a clear blue sky; that they had no prior association with the land other than in religious fantasy and through some scarce remembered genealogical affiliation. They make little or nothing of the Jews' unbroken connection with the country going back to the Arab conquest more than a thousand years before, the piety felt for the land, or the waves of idealistic immigration which long predated the post-Holocaust influx. (Independent-UK)
        See also UK Pledges to Combat Anti-Semitism - Jonny Paul
    With the opening of a London conference on combating anti-Semitism organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism (ICCA), the British government has reaffirmed its determination to confront anti-Semitism and commitment toward stamping it out as a global threat. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Anti-Semitism at Highest Level Since WWII, Conference Hears (Reuters)
  • Mumbai's Muslims Refuse to Bury Muslim Terrorists - Thomas L. Friedman
    The nine Pakistani Muslim terrorists who went on an utterly senseless killing rampage in Mumbai on 26/11 - India's 9/11 - gunning down more than 170 people, including 33 Muslims, scores of Hindus, as well as Christians and Jews - are still in the morgue because the leadership of India's Muslim community is refusing to allow them to be buried in the main Muslim cemetery of Mumbai. "People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim," said Hanif Nalkhande, a spokesman for the Muslim Jama Masjid Trust which runs the cemetery. M.J. Akbar, the Indian-Muslim editor of Covert, an Indian investigative journal, explained: "Terrorism has no place in Islamic doctrine. The Koranic term for the killing of innocents is 'fasad.' Terrorists are fasadis, not jihadis."
        The in-your-face defiance of Islamist terrorists by Mumbai's Muslims stands out against a dismal landscape of predominantly Sunni Muslim suicide murderers who have attacked civilians in mosques and markets from Iraq to Pakistan to Afghanistan, but who have been treated by mainstream Arab media, like Al Jazeera, or by extremist Islamist spiritual leaders and Web sites, as "martyrs" whose actions deserve praise. The only effective way to stop this trend is for "the village" - the Muslim community itself - to say "no more"; for the culture and faith community to delegitimize this kind of behavior, openly, loudly and consistently. India's Muslims, the second-largest Muslim community in the world after Indonesia, do a great service to Islam by delegitimizing suicide-murderers. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    The Future of the Two-State Solution - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • While the outlines of a two-state solution are generally known, the maximum that any government of Israel will be ready to offer the Palestinians and still survive politically is much less than the minimum that any Palestinian leader can accept. The real gap between both sides is much greater than what is perceived, and that gap is growing.
    • The level of trust between both sides has changed. There are fewer Israelis who believe that the real intention of the Palestinians is to have only a small Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Furthermore, there is less trust in the Palestinians' abilities to keep their commitments, even if they undertake the right commitments.
    • In Gaza today there is, for all practical purposes, an independent state led by Hamas. It is not part of the Palestinian Authority because that is what the Palestinians decided. If there is an accountable state in Gaza, although it is an enemy state, Israel has a degree of deterrence because there is another party that has something to lose. Current Israeli policy claims that Israel's goal is to bring about the collapse of the Hamas government in Gaza, but that is not going to happen.
    • If we make Gaza double or triple its current size by adding an additional 600 sq. km. of territory from Egyptian Sinai, this could give Gaza the space it needs. Suddenly Gaza would have the space to build a new city of a million people, along with a real seaport and airport, and to create the conditions that would make economic expansion possible.
    • At the same time, Israel needs 600 sq. km. in the West Bank because the 1967 line is unacceptable from a security point of view. In return, Israel could give to Egypt 600 sq. km. in the Negev in southern Israel. At the end of the day no one loses land, while multilateral swaps enable us to solve the currently intractable problem of Gaza and solve Israeli needs in the West Bank.
    • Egypt can gain significant benefits from this arrangement. The new seaport and airport next to Egypt can become major economic connections between the Gulf and Europe. Furthermore, Egypt could get a land corridor to enable movement from Egypt to the rest of the Middle East without the need to cross Israel.

      The writer chaired Israel's National Security Council from 2004 to 2006, and served as head of the IDF's Operations Branch and its Planning Directorate.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert