Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Via Smartphone


August 11, 2009

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Terrorists Who Fought U.S. in Iraq Make Way to Gaza - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Dozens of Islamic terrorists have entered Gaza over the past year and are operating there in the framework of organizations identified with the "global jihad."
    Many of the terrorists have taken part in the fighting against American forces in Iraq. The flow of foreign terrorists to Gaza will gradually increase, Israeli defense officials forecast, as the friction with U.S. forces in Iraq diminishes.
    Hamas is finding it difficult to rein in the newer groups identified with al-Qaeda. The quiet since the IDF's Gaza operation has increased the number of those deserting Hamas in favor of global jihad.
    Hamas is interested in a long time-out, say defense officials, in order to rebuild its military capabilities and strengthen its control of Gaza.
    Hamas continues to send out dozens of fighters via Egypt for military training in foreign countries, particularly in Iran and Lebanon.

A Fifth of European Union Will Be Muslim by 2050 - Adrian Michaels (Telegraph-UK)
    Last year, 5% of the total population of the 27 EU countries was Muslim. But rising levels of immigration from Muslim countries and low birth rates among Europe's indigenous population mean that, by 2050, the figure will be 20%, according to forecasts.
    Data indicate that Britain, Spain and Holland will have an even higher proportion of Muslims in a shorter amount of time.

Hebron Massacre of Jews Remembered - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
    One can still see the scar from the knife wound Shlomo Slonim sustained 80 years ago, when an Arab stabbed him as he huddled in his mother's arms in their Hebron home.
    He stood in the Hebron cemetery, at the end of a ceremony marking the Hebrew anniversary of the 1929 massacre of 67 Jewish residents of that city by an Arab mob.
    His father, Eliezer Dan Slonim, had been the director of the Anglo-Palestine Bank and a representative of the Jewish community in the Hebron Municipality.
    After bursting into the family home, the Arabs killed 24 people with knives and machetes. Among them were Slonim's father, his mother Hannah, her parents who were visiting, and his four-year-old brother.
    The massacre destroyed the Hebron Jewish community, whose roots go back to biblical times. Some Jews tried to return to Hebron after the massacre, but the British removed them in 1936.
    See also Survivor of Hebron Massacre Recounts Her Ordeal - Eli Ashkenazi (Ha'aretz)
    On August 24, 1929, as Yonah Molchadsky gave birth to her second daughter in the basement of a neighboring Arab family's house, the masses outside began looking for Jews.
    When the mob came to the home of the Arab family looking for the Molchadskys, their hosts and saviors told the mob, "We have already killed our Jews," and they believed them and departed.

Bar Mitzvah Boy Gives Sderot $40,000 Playground - Yanir Yagna (Ha'aretz)
    Benjamin Davis, 13, from New York has decided to give $40,000 he received from his parents for his bar mitzvah to the children of Sderot.
    The municipality says the money will go to build a park with recreational facilities.

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

  • 71 Senators Ask Obama to Lean on Arab States - J. Taylor Rushing
    71 senators including senior leaders from both parties sent a letter to President Obama on Monday to press Arab states to recommit to peace with Israel. We "agree with you and Secretary Clinton that Arab states must do more to end their isolation of Israel," the senators wrote. The letter asks Obama to encourage the Arab League to end its boycott of Israel, establish normal relations, and cease propaganda campaigns that "demonize" Israel. "Such gestures would send a powerful signal that Arab nations are committed to the peace process and could help usher in a new era of peace and security in the Middle East."
        The effort, led by Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), was supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. A similar, bipartisan letter was sent by 226 House members last week to Saudi Arabia, calling on that country's leaders to deepen their commitment to peace with Israel. (The Hill)
        See also Text of Senate Letter (IMRA)
  • Netanyahu: Lebanon Will Pay If Hizbullah Attacks - Dan Williams
    Israel will hold Lebanon responsible for any future Hizbullah attack if Hizbullah is brought into Beirut's incoming government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday. "If Hizbullah joins the Lebanese government as an official entity, let it be clear that the Lebanese government, as far as we are concerned, is responsible for any attack - any attack - from its area on the State of Israel," Netanyahu said. "It cannot hide and say: 'It's Hizbullah, we don't control them.'" Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor said, "Hizbullah is a terror organization that has become a semi-army. Basically, it is a branch of Iran on our northern border, with Syria's consent and with Lebanon's consent."  (Reuters)
  • Israeli Seeks Damages from EU over Hamas Rocket Attacks - Bruno Waterfield
    Lawyers for Eyal Katorza, an Israeli who is also a French citizen, are preparing a legal case demanding that the EU does more to protect the 300,000 Europeans living in Israel. Legal documents have accused the EU of indirectly funding Palestinian terrorism because of a failure to "prevent the misuse of European funds by non-profit organizations which use these funds to finance terrorism." Katorza, from Sderot, who lost his job and family business because of Kassam rocket attacks, has demanded EU "reparations for lost job income, reparations for physical and psychological damages, reparations for property damages, [and] monies for reinforced buildings against missiles."
        His lawyers have cited clauses in EU treaties that offer protection to Europeans even while they are living abroad. "The EU grants hundreds of millions of euros a year in aid to Gaza, and it is inconceivable that European citizens should be harmed by money supplied by the EU," said Mordechai Tzivin, Katorza's lawyer. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S. House Majority Leader: East Jerusalem Is Different than West Bank Settlements - Herb Keinon
    Visiting U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called on Monday for the PA to drop any preconditions to negotiations and said that Congress differentiated between building in east Jerusalem and in the West Bank. Hoyer, leading a delegation of 29 Democratic legislators, also said the rhetoric coming out of the Fatah General Assembly in Bethlehem was "unfortunate." Hoyer, an important ally of President Obama, said he felt Obama "is also very committed to Israel making its own decision regarding what actions it will take vis-a-vis a [peace] agreement."
        He also said it was a mistake to make settlement construction the key issue, when it was not. Hoyer said that given the changes on the ground since 1967, he believed that most people in the U.S. - including the Obama administration - understood that a return to the 1967 boundaries was not realistic. According to Hoyer, "There is a significant difference between what we are talking about in the West Bank and Jerusalem itself, which is an integrated city; which is a whole....My view is that it will remain whole, and therefore...I don't think the partitioning of Jerusalem is a reasonable outcome. I don't think it will happen." (Jerusalem Post)
  • "Old Guard" Upset in Fatah Leadership Election
    Fatah's old guard appears to have suffered major upsets in the election for the movement's Central Committee. According to Palestine TV, only 4 of 10 incumbents have a good chance of keeping their seats. The head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Ahmad Quriea, appears to have been toppled, while jailed leader Marwan Barghouthi won a seat. Other winners include Jibril Rajoub, Saeb Erekat, Hussein As-Sheikh, Muhammad Dahlan, and Tawfiq Tirawi. Incumbents likely to be ousted include Intisar Al-Wazir (Umm Jihad) and Farouq Qaddumi. (Maan News-PA)
  • Knesset Speaker, Minister Call for Construction in E-1 Corridor - Nir Hasson and Chaim Levinson
    Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Interior Minister Eli Yishai toured the E-1 corridor on Monday and called for continued construction between Ma'ale Adumim and Jerusalem. Rivlin said: "If we don't build here, the Palestinians will....If the Palestinians build here, they will cut Jerusalem off from Ma'ale Adumim." Yishai said: "Israel must do what it believes and the Americans must understand that there is no escape from our crucial security need to continue with this construction."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Protecting the Contiguity of Israel: The E-1 Area and the Link Between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim - Nadav Shragai (ICA-Jerusalem Center)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Fatah Congress Spectacle - Editorial
    Fatah today resembles nothing so much as a bloated gerontocracy, a loose aggregate of colliding, ego-driven agendas. More interested in the trappings of statehood-without-a-state than the difficult practice of statecraft, its leaders, mostly over 70 and in their gleaming cars and suits, bear no relation to a young population struggling in poverty. What should have been a historic congress - to rescue Fatah from its further slide into corruption and irrelevance after being trashed by the Islamist Hamas in the 2006 general elections - was largely taken up with arguments about how to elect a new leadership, amid widespread accusations of vote-buying. Fatah, which kept Palestinian hopes alive and put Palestine on the world's agenda, is heading for the dustbin of history unless it quickly re-articulates a national platform and comes up with a credible leadership - respected by Israelis as well as Palestinians. (Financial Times-UK)
  • U.S. Weighs Efficacy of New Iran Sanctions - Ian Talley
    While the U.S. Congress appears on course to approve legislation embargoing gasoline and diesel fuel to Iran, the Obama administration isn't convinced the punitive measures will work. "This is exactly the time to use financial tools to build leverage for diplomacy," Matthew Levitt, a former Treasury official responsible for international sanctions, told a Senate panel earlier this month.
        Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, noted that while many firms around the world ship petroleum products, there's a limited number of companies that underwrite both the ships carrying the petroleum and the cargo itself. By targeting shipping underwriting, not only would the risk premium paid by Iran to ship their fuel become prohibitive, Dubowitz said it could be possible to persuade the insurance companies to exit the market. (Dow Jones)
  • Nuclear Iran Looms after Hardliners Prevail in Vote - Mark Heinrich
    With Iran's hardline leadership prevailing over post-election unrest, its atomic program looks on course to reach bomb-making potential under the noses of UN inspectors and beyond the reach of U.S. overtures for talks. Its output rate of low-enriched uranium has leapt as the number of centrifuge machines has risen eight-fold over the past year. The IAEA said in June that the Natanz plant was swiftly outgrowing inspectors' ability to monitor it effectively. Some 5,000 centrifuges were enriching uranium at that time, with 2,400 more being set up. UN inspectors have no right to roam beyond Iran's declared civilian nuclear sites. That leaves them unable to verify Iran has no parallel military nuclear enterprise somewhere in the vast, security-gripped country. Western estimates as to when Iran could "go nuclear" stretch from six months to five years. (Reuters)
  • Observations:

    More U.S. PR Is Not the Answer - Jonathan Tobin (Jerusalem Post)

    • After running into a dead end in its efforts to jump-start Middle East peace talks, the White House will begin a public relations program in Israel and Arab countries to better explain the president's intention to broker a comprehensive peace agreement. Officials say they hope to convince the majority of Israelis to support President Obama's stand on freezing building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as in Jerusalem, rather than the policies of their own prime minister.
    • However, the administration misunderstands the nature of its problem. Contrary to its belief, the Israeli people already understand Obama very well. His problem is that they don't buy what he's selling. The administration needs to win the trust of Israelis through more realistic policies, not a bigger megaphone. The ginned-up settlements squabble was a calculated decision on the part of Washington to pick a fight with its smaller ally.
    • U.S. policy seems to be based on the notion that Israel's refusal to make new concessions on security and land is the primary obstacle to a peace breakthrough. But most Israelis know that neither the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority in the West Bank nor the Hamas mini-state in Gaza are interested in a peace that would recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where the borders were drawn.
    • The failure of the Oslo Accords, the July 2000 Camp David summit, the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and last year's effort by former prime minister Ehud Olmert to hand the PA a state on a silver platter all illustrate the Palestinians' lack of interest in signing such a deal. In the clear absence of a credible peace partner, what point is there in bullying Israel to make concessions?
    • The idea that Israelis need to be convinced to "reflect" on their policies and change their tune is not only astoundingly arrogant, it's frankly wrong. Israelis already want peace, and have shown time and again they are ready to make sacrifices to achieve it. What is lacking is a similar commitment from the Palestinians.

      The writer is executive editor of Commentary magazine.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert