Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Al-Qaeda Plans to Abduct Israelis - Smadar Perry (Ynet News)
500,000 Bullets on Way to Gaza - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
Muslim Brotherhood Gains in Egyptian Poll - William Wallis (Financial Times-UK)
India Fences Off Bangladesh to Keep Out Muslim Terror - Dean Nelson (Times-UK)
Terrorism: Blood Feuds - Josh Schollmeyer (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran said its satellite would be purely scientific. But a month after its launch - and only weeks after the president said Israel should be wiped off the map - the head of Tehran's space program now says the Sina-1 is capable of spying on the Jewish state. The launch of the Russian-made satellite into orbit aboard a Russian rocket last month marked the beginning of Iran's space program. As it orbits the Earth 14 times a day, with controllers able to point its cameras as they wish, Sina-1 gives Iran a limited space reconnaissance capability over the entire Middle East, including Israel.
"We know that they spy on us. What they are trying to do is look for places where a mega-terror attack can take place," said Efraim Sneh, a former Israeli deputy defense minister. (AP/Washington Post)
Iran began converting a new batch of uranium at a key nuclear facility Wednesday, rejecting international pleas to suspend such work and dismissing a new offer - sponsored by Russia - designed to ease tensions over the country's nuclear ambitions, U.S. and European officials said. The Iranian moves threatened to derail efforts to set up a meeting next week between European and Iranian officials to reinvigorate negotiations. Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, canceled a planned trip to Tehran. The IAEA board meets in Vienna on Nov. 24 to discuss Iran's program.
For more than two years, the Bush administration has been unable to persuade allies to send the Iranian nuclear case to the UN Security Council, where the country could face economic sanctions for failing to disclose a nuclear energy program built in secret over 18 years. David Albright, a nuclear expert and the president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said Iran's move was "mostly symbolic," but the Iranians will "end up with a larger stock" of converted uranium that they can store away for the day when their own enrichment facility is completed. If that happens, Iran could wind up with enough bomb-grade uranium for as many as eight weapons, he said. (Washington Post)
By every measure, it would seem that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, should be roundly vilified in Jordan after having taken responsibility for sending suicide bombers into three hotels in Amman last week, killing 58 people. But it is not that way - according to interviews over the past week with dozens of people throughout this city. Over and over people said they simply did not believe Zarqawi was behind the bombings. Or if he was, they condemned him for that, while still holding out support for his anti-American activities.
Officials said they hoped this marked a turning point in Jordan, and throughout the Muslim world, where the so-called silent majority would rise up against Islamic extremism. But King Abdullah II said in an interview on Tuesday that he expected it would take years to overcome the extremist ideology that has infiltrated Islamic societies. (New York Times)
See also Tragedy as Impetus in Jordan - David Ignatius (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel Defense Forces soldiers arrested a Palestinian carrying an explosive belt at the Hawara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday, Israel Radio reported. (Ha'aretz)
In an attempt to fool security officials, the Palestinian at first insisted he was 16 years old, but further checks revealed his real age - 28, security officials said. In the past two months, security forces have thwarted over 15 attempts by Palestinians to smuggle bombs, weapons, and ammunition through the checkpoint. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket toward the Israeli town of Sderot in the western Negev on Wednesday night. (Jerusalem Post)
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Wednesday during a tour of the Gush Etzion region that Israel must continue to strengthen the settlement blocs in Beitar Ilit, Efrat, Gush Etzion, Ma'ale Adumim, Beit Arye, Ariel, and the Jordan Valley. (Ynet News)
Mofaz added that it would be these settlements that determine the eastern front of the State of Israel. He also said that as soon as the plans were approved, building would begin in the E1 area, connecting Ma'ale Adumim to Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The dream of peace has been replaced by another dream, the dream of disengagement. Until I spoke to people in Israel, I thought the Gaza disengagement might lead back to the peace process, but now I realize it's a replacement for that process. It's a step toward a new (and even more illusory) dream: the dream of disengaging Israel from its geographic and historical situation. The security barrier has not only reduced suicide bombings; it has also helped change the nation's psychology. On the Israeli side of the barrier, there is increasing safety, prosperity, and normalcy. Jerusalem's streets are crowded again. People no longer choose restaurants by how good their security arrangements are and no longer avoid tables by the windows. (New York Times, 17Nov05)
On bookshelves in the West, you can see quite a number of books which wipe Israel off the map. These books attack the very idea of a Jewish state. It is significant that nobody writes about "A World without Syria" or without Iran. Why shouldn't the Jewish people enjoy the right to self-determination? Why should this right be granted to the Sudanese people and not to the Jews? Why is it so preposterous that there should be one state in which Hebrew is the official language and Jewish holidays are official days of rest?
Israel-bashers use a style which is very similar to the language used by anti-Semites: Israel is inferior and should not enjoy the rights accorded to other peoples. The Nazi refrain was "the Jews are our disaster"; now, the Jewish state is being portrayed as the world's disaster. The writer, a former cabinet minister and professor of law, is currently dean of the law college in Netanya. (Jerusalem Post)
Ahmadinejad's win in Iran's presidential elections signaled the coming of the "Second Islamic Revolution." The reformist camp has disappeared from the Iranian political scene, and the regime's center of gravity has shifted to the fundamentalist militaristic conservative group, which centers on clerics such as Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-e Yazdi, and on members of the security establishment, particularly the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij, and the intelligence apparatuses.
Unlike his predecessors, Ahmadinejad does not fear conflict with Europe and the international community, even at a high price to Iran. His statements, along with those of other senior Iranian officials, have made it clear that Iran is headed in the direction of conflict. According to the London daily Al-Hayat, former Iranian President Khatami said that Iran's extremists aspired "to imitate bin Laden" and were "giving the best justification for enemies to attack Islam and Iran." He added, "They are competing with the Taliban in calling for violence and in carrying out extremist crimes that are counter to the religion." (MEMRI)
How committed are the Palestinians themselves to preventing weapons from being smuggled from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, or from the Gaza Strip into Israel? Only Israeli military actions against terrorism, and not signed documents, have ever consistently provided a disincentive for the PA's cooperation with, and tolerance of, terrorist groups.
Among the lessons from the failure of the Oslo Accords is that, no matter how detailed an agreement is, it is worthless if it is not backed by international support for holding the parties accountable. In simple terms: A deal without consequences is an inconsequential deal. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel's Search for Peace and Security: The Challenges Ahead - Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, addressed the Washington Institute on November 4, 2005.
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