Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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


October 20, 2009

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: 78% of Americans Back Sanctions to Block Iran Nukes - Jon Cohen (Washington Post)
    According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 78% of Americans, representing broad majorities on both ends of the ideological spectrum, support international economic sanctions against Iran to try to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.
    However, with regard to possible military engagement, 42% support and 54% oppose bombing Iran's nuclear development sites, while 33% support and 62% oppose invading the country with U.S. ground forces.
    52% of Americans now approve of how President Obama is handling the situation with Iran, while 39% disapprove.

Cooperation with Israel Underlies PA Security Forces' Success - Marty Peretz (New Republic)
    The PA Security Forces (PASF), trained under the command of U.S. Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, is the only proper military force the Palestinians have.
    Previously, and especially under Arafat, there were 13 independent Fatah security branches made up of undisciplined, corrupt, and brutal men.
    How could the PASF not be an incredible improvement? They brought public order and their day-to-day cooperation with the Israelis has improved dramatically.
    Much of their operational intelligence comes from Israel. Without it, the PASF would be lost.

The Case for Demographic Optimism - Yoram Ettinger (New York Jewish Week)
    Anyone claiming that Jews are doomed to become a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean may be unaware of the substantial rise in Israel's Jewish fertility. Delivery rooms are functioning at 100% capacity. At the same time, Arab fertility and population growth rates during the last 15 years have experienced a sharp dive.
    Unlike all other developed societies, the number of annual Jewish births has grown by 45% from 1995 (80,400) to 2008 (117,000). The Arab fertility rate in the West Bank has declined rapidly (now at 3.5 births per woman), as is the case in most Muslim countries. In Jordan it is 3 births; Syria, 3.5; Egypt, 2.5; Saudi Arabia, 4; Algeria, 1.8; and Iran, 1.7.
    An audit of births, deaths, school and voter registration and migration documentation from Israel and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics shows a 67% Jewish majority in the land west of the Jordan River (without Gaza).
    According to the audit, there are 1.55 million Arabs in the West Bank - and not 2.5 million, as claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

Germany Arrests Iranian for Exporting Missile Equipment (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
    German police have arrested a man they say was exporting equipment to Iran that could be used for missile-building.
    German federal prosecutors identified the man on Saturday as Mohsen A., 52. They were also investigating two others. All are accused of selling a sintering furnace, used to weld metal parts at extremely high temperatures, to Iran in 2007.
    Such equipment can be used to build long-range missile launching components, and German law forbids their export to Iran, which is under a UN embargo.
    Prosecutors said that in July 2008, the group was in the process of exporting a second furnace to a front company in Asia that would have sent it on to Iran.

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

  • Iran Threatens to Back Out of Fuel Deal - David E. Sanger
    Iran opened two days of nuclear talks with the U.S., Russia and France on Monday with veiled public threats that it could back away from an agreement to ship more than three-quarters of its stockpile of nuclear fuel out of the country, unless the West acceded to Iranian demands to provide it with new fuel. Although Iran's representatives did not reject outright the idea of sending the country's fuel to Russia and France for further enrichment, its negotiators stopped well short of reaffirming the statements the country made in talks on Oct. 1. In recent days the Iranians have repeatedly suggested that they might not ship the fuel out of the country at all, and would demand that the West sell them new fuel for their medical reactor. (New York Times)
        See also Iran Says Nuclear Technology Program to Go Ahead
    Iran will never abandon its "legal and obvious" right to nuclear technology, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Tuesday, adding that Tehran had no plan to halt its disputed uranium enrichment work. "The meetings with world powers and their behavior shows that Iran's right to have peaceful nuclear technology has been accepted by them," Mottaki said. (Reuters-Washington Post)
        See also Iranian Supreme National Security Council Advisor: We May Need Uranium Enriched to 63 Percent
    Talks in Vienna are focused on a proposal to have Iran send its low-enriched uranium to a third country that will further enrich it to a level of 20%, for use at a Tehran research reactor. However, Abdolfazl Zohrehvand, advisor to Iranian Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili, told the Iranian news agency IRNA on Sunday: "Circumstances may arise under which Iran will require uranium enriched to 63%."  (MEMRI)
  • Scientist Charged with Improperly Passing on Classified Information - Terry Frieden
    Stewart David Nozette, 52, a former U.S. government scientist, was arrested Monday and charged with trying to deliver classified information to someone he thought was an Israeli intelligence official, but who really was an FBI undercover agent. The criminal complaint does not accuse the government of Israel of any violations of U.S. law. (CNN)
        See also Israel: "No Espionage or Intelligence Gathering in Friendly States"
    Senior government officials in Jerusalem said Israel does not gather intelligence nor is it involved in any espionage activities in friendly states, Israel Radio reported Tuesday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Flow of Western Recruits at Islamic Terror Camps Increasing - Craig Whitlock
    U.S. and European counterterrorism officials say a rising number of Western recruits - including Americans - are traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan to attend paramilitary training camps. The flow of recruits has continued unabated despite an intensified campaign over the past year by the CIA to eliminate al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders in drone missile attacks.
        Since January, at least 30 recruits from Germany have traveled to Pakistan for training, according to German security sources. In August, Pakistani officials arrested 12 foreigners headed to North Waziristan where many of the camps are located. Among those arrested were four Swedes, including Mehdi Ghezali, a former inmate of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo. Three Belgians and a French citizen are facing trial in their home countries after they were arrested upon their return from Pakistani camps last year. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Presidential Conference Opens in Jerusalem
    Facing Tomorrow, an international conference initiated by President Shimon Peres, will take place on Oct. 20-22 in Jerusalem, bringing together 3,500 participants with top economic, political, intellectual, and technological leaders from Israel and abroad. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Who Lost Turkey? - Editorial
    Turkey's turn against Israel is best understood in the context of its evolutionary transformation from the secular, nationalist and Western-oriented ethos of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to the dogmatic, radical, pan-Islamic and Middle Eastern attitudes of its current rulers. It is senseless for Israelis to ask ourselves what we did to cause Arab, Persian and now Turkish rulers to ascribe the most villainous of intentions to us - for example, conspiring to demolish Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount, or relishing the systematic murder of Arab children. Israel did not lose Turkey any more than it lost Iran or the "moderate" Palestinians.
        The Palestinian national movement under Mahmoud Abbas and Salaam Fayad has been outmaneuvered by Hamas. Any move Abbas now makes in the direction of moderation gets pounced upon as perfidy. This environment has led even a sensible man like Fayad to hold cabinet deliberations on whether Israeli soldiers are stealing the organs of Palestinian youths.
        The overriding explanation for what is happening in Turkey and among the Palestinians (and happened decades ago in Iran) is that these polities could not make peace with modernity. Instead, to varying degrees, they turned to radical Islam because it provides absolute answers about right and wrong and uplifting distinctions between believers and infidels. But it also ensures never-ending estrangement from those who have chosen another path. Since this predicament stems from within Muslim civilization, so, too, must any solution. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Who Lost Turkey - II - Nahum Barnea
    Israel is paying a heavy price for processes it has no connection to: The European Union, acting on French pressure, rejected Turkey's requests to integrate into the EU. Under such circumstances, Turkey chose to move closer to Syria and Iran. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast - Robert L. Bernstein
    As the founder of Human Rights Watch and its active chairman for 20 years, I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group's critics. Human Rights Watch had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters. But recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.
        Israel is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, and a judiciary that frequently rules against the government. Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens is being ignored as Human Rights Watch's Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel. Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hizbullah. The writer was the chairman of Human Rights Watch from 1978 to 1998. (New York Times)
  • Hizbullah: The Unfinished War - Jonathan Spyer
    The explosion in the south Lebanese village of Tayr Felseir offers the latest evidence of how Hizbullah is rebuilding its infrastructure following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, constructing arms caches and permanent fortifications in private homes. Hizbullah's decision to make use of populated areas is primarily a result of the increased presence of UNIFIL and Lebanese Armed Forces personnel in the area south of the Litani River, since operating within residential areas has served to render its renewed military infrastructure largely off-limits to international inspection. UN peacekeepers who investigated a similar explosion in Khirbet Silm on July 14 concluded that the site contained large quantities of 107 mm. Katyusha rockets, heavy machine gun rounds and mortar tubes of a type used by Hizbullah.
        UNIFIL remains deployed mainly in unpopulated areas and enters Shi'ite villages only with a Lebanese army escort, doing its best to stay out of the way of Hizbullah and the civilian population. Ultimately, the situation in southern Lebanon is a facet of a larger problem, the existence of a Hizbullah state within a state, which answers only to its own leadership and its Iranian patrons. The writer is a senior researcher at the Global Research in International Affairs Center, IDC, Herzliya. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Israeli President Peres: "One of the Human Rights Is to Remain Alive"  (Telegraph-UK)

    Israeli President Shimon Peres said in an interview:

    • "One of the human rights is to remain alive. We didn't initiate it (the war in Gaza). We never went to war on our own initiative. We were attacked, in 61 years nine times, with full-fledged wars and endless terrorist attacks. But if a terrorist does not respect the lives of children, the children of ours and their own children, if they don't respect the lives of civilians, our civilians and their own civilians, and they don't respect mosques and they don't respect ambulances, what can the law do?"
    • "We suffered less victims than the Arabs - it's true - because we defend our people and they exploit their people. That's the difference. We have shelters and take care of our children. They don't. They use mosques to hide arms, they use ambulances to carry terrorists. My God! And you know even in that war there were 250,000 telephone calls to all the houses before they were attacked. We asked them to leave. We tried to do whatever we can. We lost many lives because we tried to avoid casualties."
    • "They talk of occupied Gaza? What occupation? We took out our army. We took out our settlers and some of you watched on television how difficult it was and of course it was. Nobody forced us. We handed it over to the Palestinians and for eight years they fired missiles against our civilian life. Can anybody tell me why? Can anybody tell me what was the purpose of it? And Israel restrained and restrained and restrained until the citizens told the government, can't you defend our lives?"

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert