Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.


August 30, 2005

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issue:

Lebanon Says Pro-Syrians Suspected in Hariri Death (Reuters)
  Lebanon's prime minister said on Tuesday a senior pro-Syrian security official and three former security chiefs were suspects in the killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. "They were summoned ... to be interrogated as suspects," Fouad Siniora told reporters after police detained Jamil al-Sayyed, former chief of the General Security Directorate, Ali Hajj, ex-head of police, and Raymond Azar, ex-head of military intelligence, in dawn raids. The three and the chief of the Republican Guard Mustafa Hamdan were being questioned by a U.N. team probing Hariri's February 14 assassination in Beirut.

Palestinian Boy Carrying 3 Bombs Nabbed - Efrat Weiss (Ynet News)
  IDF troops nabbed Monday a 14-year-old Palestinian who was carrying three pipe bombs at the Harawa checkpoint, south of Nablus. No one was injured during the incident. Palestinian sources said the arrested teen was identified as Hassan Halifah, from the Balata refugee camp. Some leading al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists are members of the Halifah family, they said.

IDF Uncovers 20-Meter-Long Arms Smuggling Tunnel at Egypt Border (Ha'aretz)
  Israel Defense Forces troops uncovered a 20-meter-long arms smuggling tunnel at the border with Egypt on Monday night, Israel Radio said. In the past three months, over 30 such tunnels have been discovered, and they are used by Palestinian militant groups to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.

Weapons Sales Worldwide Rise to Highest Level Since 2000 - Thom Shanker (New York Times)
  The value of military weapons sales worldwide jumped in 2004 to the highest level since 2000, driven by arms deals with developing nations, especially India, Saudi Arabia and China, according to a new Congressional study. The United States once again dominated global weapons sales, followed by Russia in second place, Britain, Israel and France.
  Over the last four years, China has purchased more weapons than any other nation in the developing world, followed by India in second place, and then Egypt. India surpassed China in total purchases in 2004, agreeing to buy $5.7 billion in arms. Saudi Arabia was second in signing arms deals last year.


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bush Steps Up Pressure on Abbas
    President George W. Bush stepped up pressure on the Palestinians one day after a suicide bomb attack, urging Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to show the courage to crack down on terrorism. Bush praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's for pulling Jewish settlers out of Gaza, saying this was a first step toward creating a democracy for Palestinians. "It took political courage to make that decision," Bush said during a speech in El Mirage, Arizona. "And now it's going to take political courage by the Palestinians and Prime Minister Abbas to step up, reject violence, reject terrorism and build a democracy," he added. (Reuters)
  • Sharon: Israel Will Not Keep All West Bank Settlements in Final Peace Deal
    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says Israel will not keep all Jewish settlements in the West Bank in any final peace deal with the Palestinians. Mr. Sharon spoke Monday on Israeli television, one week after removing Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank enclaves. He did not provide details of future Israeli pullbacks, and he said all main West Bank settlements will remain under Israeli control. He said final Israeli plans for the West Bank will not be unveiled until the start of formal peace talks with the Palestinians. (Voice of America)
  • In Praise of 'Hamastan' -- Interview with Hamas Co-founder Mahmoud Zahar
    Gaza should be Hamastan. Why not? We are not corrupt. We are serving the poorer classes. We are defending our land. It should be Hamastan! Containment will not succeed with Hamas. I don't trust the term "moderate." We are already moderate. But if people believe we will be moderate in the Western style, or a pro-Israeli style—that's not moderate. That's corruption. [Would Hamas accept a two states peace plan?] Nobody on the Israeli side, from the extreme right to the extreme left, will withdraw from Jerusalem. At the same time, believe me, nobody on the Palestinian side, in the Arab and Muslim world, will accept keeping Jerusalem under occupation. [The Palestinians] lost everything [after Oslo]. We are not the PLO. We are not going to repeat a failed [process]. (Newsweek)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • U.S. Backs Down on Settlement Boundaries Demand - Aluf Benn
    Washington has rescinded its demand that Israel and the U.S. jointly mark the boundaries of settlements in the West Bank, according to American and Israeli officials. Neither side reportedly has an interest in marking the boundaries: for Israel, it would be an uncomfortable concession; for the U.S., it would legitimize the existing settlements.
      U.S. officials said they are now making do with warning Israel to refrain from expanding the West Bank settlements. As an effect of such warnings, they note that most construction licenses in recent years have been given within the large settlement blocs or within built-up areas. (Ha'aretz)
  • Mofaz Orders Hebron Old City Evacuation - Matthew Gutman
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has issued an order to evacuate a controversial Jewish outpost in the heart of the Old City of Hebron, long one of the Middle East's most combustible powder kegs. The outpost, which settlers call the Rinat Shalhevet neighborhood and Palestinians the Situnai Market, served as a Palestinian wholesale market until 1994 and is now home to 11 Jewish families. The move is slated to take place before December. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Never Again - Kenneth Bialkin
    The images flashed around the world last week of Jewish families uprooted and evicted through no personal fault of their own by young male and female soldiers who shed tears along with the settlers in the sad fulfillment of their duty has cut deeply into the minds and emotions of Jews everywhere.
      Prime Minister Sharon has said that until the Palestinians fulfill their defaulted steps under the road map, including dismantling the infrastructure of terror, disarming Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizballah, and other terrorist groups, and bringing criminals to justice, no one should expect Israel to renew further steps under the road map, which is based on reciprocal progress.
      A major lesson of the disengagement experience is that Israel should not be asked to test its institutions and the fabric of its society by a repeat of the experience and images of tearing Jews from their homes. The Gaza disengagement teaches us that, even for those who may feel that Israel should ultimately make some adjustment in the location of Jews in Judea and Samaria, forcible eviction is unacceptable. (New York Sun)
  • Weak Palestinians Risk Civil War - Richard Z. Chesnoff
    Palestinians have the chance to improve their lives if they stop feeling sorry for themselves. Possibly 600,000 of them fled the 1947-48 war that Arab states launched against newly born Israel, and 60 years later they still consider themselves "refugees." Now the Palestinians claim they number more than 5 million - and that the world still owes them a living. Here's my advice to the Palestinians. Get your act together, work with what you have and build up global trust. Most importantly, convince the Israelis you want peace - not to destroy Israel. Until you do, you won't get anything more - and maybe you'll get even less than you already have. (New York Daily News)
  • "The Arafat Model" - Michael Rubin
    While U.S. diplomats and Washington advisers continue to facilitate compromise among Iraq's disparate sectarian, ethnic, and political groups, the reality emerging outside Baghdad is directly challenging Iraq's aspirations to constitutionalism. Massoud Barzani in the Kurdish north and Moqtada al-Sadr in the Shiite south have rejected the experts' academic proposals, and have chosen instead a model perfected by Yasser Arafat, the late PLO chairman. While Clinton fêted the Palestinian leader at the White House, cajoled him with aid, and turned a blind eye toward his corruption, Arafat broke promises habitually and, until the last years of his life, without consequence. He extracted blood from the Israelis and treasure from the Americans, all the while consolidating his position. His concessions were limited to pledges whose fulfillment was never required. That conclusion is something Iraqi militia leaders have taken to heart. While diplomats and parliamentarians debate the finer points of federalism, warlords are constructing something rather different. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    A Clash of Civilizations - Amir Taheri (MSNBC/Newsweek International)

  • Iran is grossly misunderstood in the West. Given headlines in Europe and America, you would think that the crisis in relations is about nuclear weapons. But the real cause is far broader: Iran's determination to reshape the Middle East in its own image — a deliberate "clash of civilizations" with the United States.
  • This is bound up with a second misconception about Iran, the idea that the regime is divided between "conservatives" who oppose accommodation with America and the West, and "moderates" more inclined to return their country to the community of nations. The real power in Iran, punctuated by the ascent of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, is now the Revolutionary Guards.
  • During the past few years, the Guards have in many ways become the government. Ibrahim Asgharzadeh, a former IRGC officer, says this new military-political elite has staged a creeping coup d'etat. The Guards built an impressive grass-roots network throughout Iran and created two political-front organizations: the Usulgara (fundamentalists) and the Itharis (self-sacrificers), each attracting a younger generation of military officers, civil servants, managers and intellectuals.
  • Ahmadinejad's victory is the beginning of the end of the clerics' dominance. He is the first non-mullah to become president since 1981. The holder of a Ph.D., he is also the best educated of the six Islamic presidents so far. He can be expected to be a far more formidable enemy of the West — and of America in particular.
  • Recently Ahmadinejad announced one of the most ambitious government mission statements in decades, declaring that the ultimate goal of Iran's foreign policy is nothing less than "a government for the whole world" under the leadership of the Mahdi, the Absent Imam of the Shiites — code for the export of radical Islam. As for the only power capable of challenging this vision, the United States is in its "last throes," an ofuli (sunset) power destined to be superceded by the toluee (sunrise) of the Islamic republic. Geopolitical dominance in the Middle East, the tract unequivocally stated, is "the incontestable right of the Iranian nation."

  • To subscribe to the Daily Alert, click here to send a blank email message.
    To unsubscribe, click here to send a blank email message.