Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 23, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Iran Extends Nuclear Plant in Secret - Philip Sherwell (Telegraph-UK)
    Iran has secretly extended the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, 200 miles south of Teheran, satellite imagery has revealed.
    Seven buildings have been erected around the concealed centrifuges which Western governments fear will be used to manufacture weapons-grade uranium.
    A recent U.S. intelligence analysis of satellite photographs of nuclear sites in Iran and Pakistan strengthens fears that the Islamic regime is secretly developing atomic weapons.
    "Iran's facilities are scaled exactly like another state's facilities that were designed to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons," the U.S. report concluded, using the phrase "another state" to refer to Pakistan for diplomatic reasons.
    John Pike, the director of, said, "These pictures indicate that Iran is replicating every major step that Pakistan took in its atomic bomb program."

    See also Iran May Have Received Advanced Centrifuges (AFP/Yahoo)
    Iran may have received three shipments of sophisticated P-2 centrifuges capable of enriching uranium, diplomats said, which could support Western claims that Tehran is hiding sensitive nuclear work.
    One diplomat said there were reportedly three shipments of one centrifuge each from the black-market network of disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan in 1997.

Israel Campus Beat
- January 22, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    What to Do about Iran?

Islamist Women Redraw Palestinian Debate on Rights - Thanassis Cambanis (Boston Globe)
    With a veil revealing only her eyes, Alaa Awdeh sounds like the ultimate feminist.
    Women, she believes, should have equal rights in Palestinian society, especially the right to die in the armed struggle against Israel.
    "That's what I am looking for, to sacrifice my life," said Awdeh, 18, an Islamic studies major at Al Najah University in Nablus and enthusiastic member of the youth wing of Hamas.

Palestinian Child Shot at Gaza Election Rally (IMRA/Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
    Mohammed Shuhaiber, 11, was injured in the abdomen by a live bullet during an electoral gathering Friday in the al-Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City when a member of Fatah fired gunshots into the air.
    Soon after, the child's family destroyed a car belonging to the Fatah member responsible for the shooting and also beat him.
    The shooter is a member of the security services.

No Support for Israel Boycott in Norway (Norway Post)
    Despite the recent call by the Socialist Left Party for a consumer boycott of Israel, a survey by the newspaper Dagsavisen among the large food chains and fruit importers show that none have registered any reduction in the sale of Israeli products.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Aids PA Before Elections - Scott Wilson and Glenn Kessler
    The Bush administration is spending foreign aid money to increase the popularity of the Palestinian Authority on the eve of crucial elections. $2 million has been channeled through the U.S. Agency for International Development to support a collection of small, popular projects including a street-cleaning campaign, distributing free food and water to Palestinians at border crossings, donating computers to community centers, and sponsoring a national youth soccer tournament. In recent days, Palestinian newspapers have been filled with U.S.-funded advertisements announcing the events in the name of the PA, which the public closely identifies with Fatah. (Washington Post)
  • Pentagon Analyst Gets 12 Years for Disclosing Data - David Johnston
    A federal judge sentenced a former Defense Department analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, 59, to more than 12 years in prison Friday after Franklin admitted passing classified military information to two pro-Israel lobbyists and an Israeli diplomat. Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., said at the hearing that he believed Franklin was motivated by a desire to help the U.S., not to damage it.
        Franklin pleaded guilty to three felony counts for improperly retaining and disclosing classified information in exchange for his cooperation and the government's willingness to drop three other charges against him. He will not have to begin serving his sentence until after the completion of legal proceedings against two senior AIPAC lobbyists who are scheduled to go on trial in April. That could lead prosecutors to agree to seek a reduction in Franklin's sentence, a government official said. (New York Times)
        See also Hoenlein: Franklin Sentence "Disturbing" - Hilary Leila Krieger
    Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said of Franklin's sentence, "The very fact that this kind of climate can exist in the capital of the United States is unacceptable." That "two patriotic American citizens who are working for Jewish organizations who did nothing to violate American security, should have to stand trial and be subject to the public scrutiny and public humiliation, frankly I find very disturbing and a matter that we all have to look at in a much more serious way." (Jerusalem Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hamas: State in '67 Borders a "Temporary" Solution
    Ismail Haniya, the top candidate on the Hamas list for the Palestinian parliamentary elections, said Sunday that Hamas supports only as a temporary solution the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as its capital. Haniya emphasized that Hamas does not recognize the existence of the State of Israel and maintains its vision of establishing a Palestinian state throughout all of the area west of the Jordan River. He also reiterated that there is no chance that Hamas would voluntarily disarm as long as Israel exists, Israel Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Defense Minister Mofaz: Israel Must Defend Itself Against Iranian Threat - Ronny Sofer
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Herzliya Conference Saturday evening that Iran transfers $100 million in financial assistance to Hizballah each year. Some of these funds are then funneled from Hizballah to Palestinian terror groups. Islamic Jihad cells in the West Bank received $10 million from Hizballah in 2005, double the amount provided in 2004. "The combination of an extremist regime with long-range ballistic capability, ongoing efforts to obtain nuclear weapons, and support of terror constitutes a danger not only to Israel, but to the entire world," he said. "The State of Israel will not be able to accept Iranian armament, and must prepare to defend itself," he added. (Ynet News)
        See also Mofaz: Israel Seeks to Establish Defensible Borders - Steven Erlanger
    Defense Minister Mofaz said Israel could act alone if the elections produced a Palestinian Authority that was not "a legitimate and effective partner" for peace talks. If so, Israel would seek "to establish defensible borders, strengthen settlement blocs, keep Jerusalem undivided, including its surrounding area, and demilitarize the Palestinian territory." (New York Times)
  • IDF: Fatah-Hamas Violence Likely if Hamas Wins Palestinian Election - Amos Harel
    There is likely to be a violent clash between Fatah and Hamas should Hamas win the Palestinian election on Wednesday, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz predicted Sunday. Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Halutz said, "I don't see Hamas winning and Fatah allowing it to take power."
        Halutz also expressed concern over the threat to Israel posed by the global Jihad movement. "One can feel how it is closing in on us from every direction: from Sinai, from Jordan, from Lebanon. The terror attacks of the last two years attest to this," he said. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. to Shun PA if Hamas is in Coalition - Aluf Benn
    The U.S. will not recognize any Palestinian government in which Hamas participates, government sources in Jerusalem said Sunday. The sources said that visiting American envoys told them ten days ago that recognizing such a government would violate American law. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    A Kassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed Sunday in the Negev's Eshkol region. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinians from Gaza Shoot at IDF Troops
    Palestinians opened fire at IDF troops near the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • PA Election Economics - Danny Rubinstein
    Fatah spokesmen are curbing Hamas' criticism of the PA by controlling election economics. In the last few months, the Palestinian security services (especially in Gaza) have recruited thousands of youths, who have begun receiving the meager salaries customary in the PA. A severe financial crisis is expected in the PA immediately after the elections and no one will be surprised if the Palestinian treasury cannot pay the January salaries next week. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Inside Palestinian Elections - Daoud Kuttab
    One visiting U.S. official speculated to me that if you simply took the number of all those on the PA payroll or benefiting from Fatah, you would get the numbers that polls are giving them. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abbas under Radar as Elections Loom - Joshua Mitnick
    A kaleidoscope of campaign banners floats above traffic-choked el-Manara Square in Ramallah in the West Bank, but nowhere to be seen is the likeness of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. "On a popular level, people do not see him really as someone whom they can trust to deliver because they've given him a full year to deliver, and he didn't. There's an ironic thing: Here the Palestinian public and the Israeli government meet," said Basem Ezbidi, a political science professor at Birzeit University. With the political party bequeathed to him by Arafat disintegrating, Abbas' authority is being widely questioned. If Fatah performs poorly on Wednesday, he will be seen as a lame-duck with no mandate to lead. "I do not see Mahmoud Abbas part of the political scene eight months from now. I see him disappearing somehow and resigning."  (Washington Times)
  • Iranian President Becomes the New Arab Poster Boy - Patrick Bishop
    The Arab street has a new poster boy. Iranian President Ahmadinejad's anti-Western rhetoric is winning him heroic status among the Middle East's masses. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser inspired a generation of Arab nationalists. Saddam Hussein's defiance of America won admirers even among Arabs who detested his tyranny. The position of Middle East strongman is currently vacant.
        Sami Moubaid, a Syrian political analyst, says Ahmadinejad appeals because "the Arabs are sentimental people and they enjoy the colorful and provocative statements that he has been making....It's cheap talk but people like cheap talk. It's part of a tradition of macho political posturing." Part of Ahmadinejad's attraction is his cheeky confidence and assertion of Iranian and Islamic superiority. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Observations:

    Moscow's Mad Gamble - Mortimer B. Zuckerman (U.S. News)

    • Iran today is the mother of Islamic terrorism. Tehran openly provides funding, training, and weapons to the world's worst terrorists, including Hizballah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and it has a cozy relationship with al-Qaeda. It has given sanctuary to major al-Qaeda terrorists, including senior military commander Saif al-Adel, three of Osama bin Laden's sons, and al-Qaeda spokesman Suleiman Abu Ghaith.
    • It supports many of the barbaric terrorists in Iraq who are murdering innocent civilians, flooding Iraq with money and fighters. It is infiltrating troublemakers into Afghanistan, supporting terrorism against Turkey, sustaining Syria, and had a hand in the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.
    • Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a revolutionary firebrand who has directly threatened the West. In his own words, "We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance [i.e., the West] and the Islamic world." He casts himself as Hitler reincarnated, calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map." Who can think that Iran poses no threat to world peace? History tells us that when madmen call for genocide, they usually mean it.
    • And Russia has made the threat more real. It sold the nuclear power plant at Bushehr to Iran and contracted to sell even more to bring cash into its nuclear industry. Russia provided critical assistance in the development of Iran's Shihab missile, which has an ever expanding delivery range and can carry a warhead designed for a nuclear charge. Within a very few years, in all likelihood, Iran will be able to launch nuclear missiles.
    • We must urgently find a way to persuade Moscow to reinforce the civilized world rather than subvert it.

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