Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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December 20, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

German Intelligence: Iran Seeks Longer Range Missiles to Reach Europe (AFP/Defense News)
    Iran has bought 18 BM-25 missiles from North Korea, the German Bild newspaper reported Dec. 16.
    "Iran has bought 18 disassembled BM-25 missiles from North Korea with a range of 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles), it said, citing a report from the German secret services.
    It added that Iran's President Ahmadinejad wants to have the range of the missiles "extended to 3,500 kilometers."
    "With a longer range, and the probability that (Tehran) would try to equip the missiles with nuclear warheads, there is the risk that Iran could strike at Israel and parts of central Europe."
    According to German intelligence, Iranian experts were already working on fitting the missiles with nuclear warheads.

Israel Campus Beat
- December 18, 2005

Point Counter-Point:
    What to do with Marwan Barghouti?

Turkey: Iran Implicated in Murder of Turkish Intellectuals (AKI-Italy)
    An Ankara court has accused the Iranian government of supporting Islamic extremists in Turkey in plotting the murder of several secular Turkish intellectuals including a well-known liberal journalist and three university professors.
    The main suspect, Farhan Osman, was sentenced on Monday to life imprisonment, while the court handed out 9 to 15 year sentences to 11 other defendants.
    "The Islamic Republic, in its efforts to export the ideology on which it is founded, has contributed decisively to the birth of small extremist Islamic Turkish groups that planned and carried out the attacks," said the court.

Ahmadinejad Bans Western Music - Nasser Karimi (AP/ABC News)
    Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has banned all Western music, including classical music, on Iranian state broadcast outlets.

Israeli Agents to Testify Against Terrorist Supporter in U.S. - Michael Higgins (Chicago Tribune)
    A hearing for Muhammad Salah, an Illinois man accused of funding Mideast terrorists, will feature "unprecedented" testimony by Israeli security agents, federal prosecutors said.
    An indictment last year charged Salah and two other Palestinians with participating in a 15-year conspiracy to finance Hamas, alleging that they laundered millions of dollars, including money that went to buy weapons.

Jordan Forces Hunt Islamic Militants (Reuters/ABC News)
    Hundreds of Jordanian security forces conducted a manhunt on Sunday for suspected Islamist militants in Irbid after a tip-off about a possible car bomb.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Sharon Released from Hospital - Daniel Williams
    Prime Minster Ariel Sharon was released from Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem on Tuesday after suffering a mild stroke Sunday night that temporarily made it difficult for him to speak but apparently caused no permanent damage, his doctors said Monday. "The problem was very small, not neurological or cognitive problems, but limited to speech. I can say confidently that the stroke will leave no damage or residual effects," said Tamir Ben-Hur, the prime minister's neurologist. (Washington Post)
  • Libya Attacks Communications Satellites - Nick Grace and Nir Boms
    The station Sowt al-Amel (Voice of Hope) was launched from London in September as an independent effort to promote freedom, human rights, and political reform in Libya. But within minutes of its first broadcast on Sept. 19, Tripoli, well prepared, jammed the signal on the Eutelsat Hotbird satellite. BBC World, Euro News, ESPN, CNN, and Channel 5 were also blown off the air. U.S. military and diplomatic traffic that used the satellite was also affected. The station then turned to an American satellite, Loral Skynet's Telstar 12, but within 45 minutes the signal was again wiped out with jamming. (Washington Times)
  • Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi "The Resistance in Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon Must Go On"; "We Stand Alongside Our Brothers in Hamas and Islamic Jihad"
    Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradhawi, the spiritual guide of many Islamist organizations across the world (including the Muslim Brotherhood), attended the fourth international conference of the Al-Quds Institution on Dec. 4-6 in Yemen, together with Khaled Mash'al, head of Hamas' Political Bureau, and Sheikh 'Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, an advisor to the president of Iran. At the conference, al-Qaradhawi said: "There is armed resistance and armed jihad - military jihad - and there is no choice but that this should continue. There is no choice but to continue the resistance in Palestine, in Iraq, in Lebanon, and in every country that has been conquered by foreigners."
        "But there are...schemes being concocted to stop this resistance, under the name of 'the peace process.'...We must resist this." "Oh brothers, our weapons must remain in our hands. We will not lay down our weapons. We will not abandon the resistance as long as one inch of Palestine is occupied." (MEMRI)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Netanyahu Wins Likud Party Primary - Gil Hoffman
    Binyamin Netanyahu won the Likud party leadership primary Monday, winning 44% of the votes. Silvan Shalom received 33%, Moshe Feiglin 12%, and Yisrael Katz 9%. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Poll: Palestinians Don't Trust Leaders
    When a December poll of Palestinian opinion asked: "Which Palestinian personality do you trust the most?" - 31% responded: "Don't trust anyone." Mahmoud Abbas led the list with 16%, down from 25% in May. He received 18% in the West Bank but only 11% in Gaza, where Muhammad Dahlan was more popular (14%). Second on the list was Marwan Barghouti with 8%. Dahlan came in third overall with 6% (favored by only 1% in the West Bank). Hamas leader Mahmoud Az-Zahar also received 6% overall (5% in West Bank, 8% in Gaza). (Jerusalem Media & Communication Center)
  • Deepening U.S. Intervention in Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Causes Concern in Israel - Ben Caspit
    Serious concern has been expressed in Israel over the depth of U.S. involvement in everything related to negotiations with the Palestinians. American involvement today is considered an annoyance, with the U.S. interpreting the smallest details in favor of the Palestinians. The Americans are involved in all facets of the negotiations on the opening of border crossings and on Palestinian convoys between Gaza and the West Bank, down to the level of the number of guards on the buses, the nature of security checks, the elections in eastern Jerusalem, and other issues.
        Sources in the IDF believe that Israel needs to return as much as possible to bilateral talks opposite the Palestinians - in order to prevent this burdensome and worrisome U.S. intervention. (Maariv-Hebrew, 16Dec05)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Obsessive Anti-Semitism - Jeff Jacoby
    On Wednesday, in a speech broadcast live on Iranian state television, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a crowd of thousands that the Nazi destruction of European Jewry never happened. As he put it in October, Israel must be ''wiped off the map." And, vowed the president of the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism, ''a new wave in Palestine will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot from the face of the Islamic world." Thus Ahmadinejad promises a second Holocaust even as he denies the first one. Dictators who talk about wiping nations from the face of the earth generally mean what they say. We should know by now that it isn't only Jews who are endangered by the mullahs and their threats. All of us are. And time is wasting. (Boston Globe)
  • Holocaust Remarks Seen As Iranian Strategy - Ali Akbar Dareini
    Remarks by Iran's hard-line president that the Holocaust was a "myth" and Israel should be "wiped off the map" are not just wild comments by a novice leader, but part of a strategy to keep anti-Israel sentiment alive in the Middle East, analysts said Saturday. Ahmadinejad "is still living in 1979 and believes Iran represents a revolution more than just a state," said Mustafa Alani, director of security studies at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai. "He believes (verbally) attacking Israel, which was a key principle of the revolution, will serve Iranian interests in the region more than polite, rational policies."  (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Iranian's Oratory Reflects Devotion to '79 Revolution - Nazila Fathi and Michael Slackman (New York Times)
  • Letting Down Lebanon - Editorial
    Syria is getting away with murder in Lebanon, and the UN Security Council is letting it happen. The resolution the Council passed last Thursday extended the UN investigation for another six months, but it failed to impose serious penalties on Syrian officials who continue to obstruct a thorough investigation. Some Council members, including the U.S., would have liked to do more to honor the urgent requests for help delivered last week by Lebanon's prime minister, Fouad Siniora, but they ran into a wall of apologetics erected mainly by Russia, China, and Algeria. This watered-down resolution will do little to convince Damascus or anyone else that the international community is capable of taking effective action against a regime that exports terrorism and tramples with impunity on a neighboring country's sovereignty.
        The will to impose consequences on Syria seems to have all but evaporated and no serious consequences will result any time soon. Syria's deadly meddling in Lebanon presented an ideal opportunity for the Security Council to show it was capable of taking effective diplomatic steps to defend vulnerable member states and punish brazen international terrorism. It is too bad that Russia, China, and Algeria failed to recognize the fundamental issues at stake. (New York Times)
        See also Justice for Syria - Editorial
    Not only has Arab Baathist dictator Bashar Assad sought to obstruct a UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, but his agents in Lebanon are continuing to murder Syria's Lebanese critics, including Gebran Tueni, one of Lebanon's best-known journalists and politicians and a fierce critic of Syria's interference in Lebanon. There are powerful reasons to share the belief of Lebanon's elected leaders, who have no doubt that Assad is systematically murdering some of their most courageous and distinguished citizens in order to defy the international coalition that forced him to withdraw Syrian troops from Lebanon. Assad seems to be calculating that his acts of terrorism eventually will force Lebanon to accept Syrian dominion again and that the Security Council will shrink from an all-out confrontation with him. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Is the UN Improving? - Richard Schifter (Jerusalem Post)

    • The sense in Israel that the Jewish state's standing at the UN is, at long last, improving is truly puzzling. On the ground, in the halls and daily operations, nothing has changed.
    • The UN General Assembly continues to pay more attention to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict than to any other country-specific issue. The world's worst atrocities and humanitarian crises are ignored, but time is always available for Israel-bashing.
    • Between December 1 and 8, the UN General Assembly repeated its annual ritual of adopting 17 resolutions directed at Israel by the same large margins.
    • Some of these anti-Israel resolutions authorize an anti-Israel propaganda apparatus that flies the UN flag, is paid for by the UN, and operates worldwide. Leadership of this propaganda apparatus is vested in the Division for Palestinian Rights, located in the UN Secretariat. This UN-sponsored anti-Israel propaganda effort has encouraged the divestment and academic boycott campaigns.
    • It is vitally important to recognize the damage caused by the very existence of the UN's anti-Israel propaganda apparatus - which leads the worldwide effort to delegitimize the Jewish state - and to support the American efforts to eliminate that apparatus.

      The writer, former Deputy U.S. Representative in the UN Security Council, also served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights.

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