Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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March 6, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Al-Qaeda's Zawahri Calls for Strikes Against West - Firouz Sedarat (Reuters)
    Al-Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri called on Muslims to attack the West in an audio tape posted on the Internet on Saturday, urging similar strikes as those against New York, London, and Madrid.
    In a video of his remarks aired by Al Jazeera television, Zawahri also urged Hamas not to recognize peace deals signed by the PA with Israel.
    He also called on Muslims to boycott countries where cartoons of Mohammad had been published, including Denmark, Norway, France, and Germany.
    "(Muslims have to) inflict losses on the crusader West, especially to its economic infrastructure, with strikes that would make it bleed for years," said Zawahri.

Israel Campus Beat
- March 5, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Is a Two-State Solution Still Viable?

Teheran Park "Cleansed" of Traces from Nuclear Site - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
    According to Western intelligence sources, Iran's Revolutionary Guards have cut down 7,000 trees which may have contained incriminating nuclear traces in a park near the Lavizan atomic research center in Teheran.

    See also Iranian Bombshell? - Elaine Shannon (TIME)
    A laptop purportedly purloined from an Iranian nuclear engineer and obtained by the CIA in 2004 contains diagrams that show components of a nuclear bomb.

Attack on Students at University of North Carolina "To Avenge Muslims" (Reuters)
    An Iranian man who plowed a car into a crowd of students at the University of North Carolina Friday wanted to avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world, a university official said on Saturday.
    Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, a recent graduate of the university, was charged with nine counts of attempted first-degree murder and nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

France to Develop Libya's Civilian Nuclear Program - Emmanuel Jarry (Reuters)
    France will soon sign a pact with Libya to help develop its civilian nuclear energy program, Patrick Ollier, president of the French National Assembly's economic affairs committee, said Sunday.
    France is home to the world's largest maker of nuclear reactors, Areva, and top nuclear power producer EDF.

CIA Gave Flawed A-Bomb Design to Iran (Toronto Star)
    In his book, State of War, James Risen claims that the U.S. handed Tehran the blueprints for an atomic bomb in 2000.
    The CIA scheme was to introduce intentional flaws in the design plans that would delay or derail Iranian work.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran's Nuclear Negotiator: "How We Duped the West" - Philip Sherwell
    The man who for two years led Iran's nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France, and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic program. In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear program was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002. He boasted that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process. (Telegraph-UK)
  • U.S. Seeks Deadline in Dispute with Iran - Dafna Linzer and Colum Lynch
    The Bush administration, preparing to take Iran's case to the UN Security Council, is seeking a 30-day deadline for Tehran to halt its nuclear program and cooperate with international inspectors or face severe diplomatic pressures, according to several senior U.S. and European officials. But Russian officials, unwilling to give up on talks with the Iranians, which have not yet yielded results, are unlikely to go for such a tough start. Russia and China have said they are committed to seeing Iran freeze its nuclear enrichment activities to assure the international community it has no intention of pursuing a nuclear weapon. But they both firmly oppose punitive measures to compel Iran to do so. (Washington Post)
  • Torture and Death of Jew Deepen Fears in France - Craig S. Smith
    Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man, spent the last weeks of his life tormented and tortured by his captors and splashed with acid in a low-ceilinged pump room in Bagneux, France. "I knew they had someone down there," said a young French-Arab man in the doorway of a building adjacent to the one where Mr. Halimi was held. "I didn't know they were torturing him." But it is clear that plenty of people did know, both that Mr. Halimi was being tortured and that he was Jewish. The police think at least 20 people participated in his abduction and the subsequent negotiations for ransom. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Fire Six Rockets at Israel
    Palestinians fired six Kassam rockets at Israel Sunday, Army Radio reported. Palestinians have fired at least two rockets a day at Israel since January. (Ha'aretz)
  • Fatah Gunmen Block Palestinian Council Meeting - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council was forced to postpone a session scheduled for Saturday in Ramallah after Fatah gunmen threatened to storm the building and beat the newly-appointed speaker, Aziz Dweik. A session set for Monday may also be delayed because of threats by Fatah gunmen, said sources close to Hamas. On Thursday, twenty gunmen from Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, fired into the air at the PLC compound for about 30 minutes, sending employees and pedestrians fleeing for their lives, Dweik said. The gunmen accused Dweik of trying to dismiss some Fatah-affiliated employees of the council. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Police to Bolster Security at Nazareth Church - Yigal Grayeff and Herb Keinon
    Israelís Northern Region police chief Cmdr. Dan Ronen has called for increased security at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth following riots in the town on Friday, which were sparked by a man throwing firecrackers in the church. The incident was related to a private family dispute with government social workers and had no connection to politics. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Underwriting Hamas - Editorial
    America cannot bankroll a Hamas government that preaches and practices terrorism, denies that Israel has any right to exist, and refuses to abide by peace agreements signed by previous Palestinian governments. That should be blindingly obvious. America is engaged in a global armed struggle against terrorism. It is firmly allied with Israel and is committed to Israel's survival.
        The Palestinian Authority is having a genuine financial crisis, but it is not America's responsibility. Continuing U.S. subsidies while Hamas is in power will not move the region one step closer to a fair and sustainable peace. The U.S. would make a resounding diplomatic and moral point by cutting off aid. It would demonstrate in the clearest possible terms that the American people are not prepared to support governments, elected or unelected, that proclaim the annihilation of other nations as their goal and embrace terrorism as an acceptable tactic for achieving it. (New York Times)
  • Ties between Al-Qaeda and Hamas Are Long and Frequent - Dore Gold
    Will the new Hamas government create a new center for global terrorism in the West Bank and Gaza? Hamas has maintained critical links with al-Qaeda, and last week, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said he was concerned that al-Qaeda had infiltrated the West Bank and Gaza. Bin Laden sent emissaries to Hamas in September 2000 and January 2001; Israel arrested three Hamas militants in 2003 after they had returned from an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda operations chief Abu Zubaydah entered the world of terrorism through Hamas. And according to a 2004 FBI affidavit, al-Qaeda recruited Hamas members to conduct surveillance against potential targets in the U.S.
        Hamas is not the PLO of 1993 that lost its collapsing Soviet patron, and hence had to moderate its behavior in order to obtain Western diplomatic and financial support. The patrons of Hamas today are pushing it in a completely opposite direction. Rather than accommodate Hamas, the West should seek ways to contain its spread. Palestinian society will eventually seek another path, but in the interim, it would be a cardinal error to assume that Hamas is about to change. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Jordan After the Hamas Victory - Asher Susser
    As an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas has strong ties with the Brotherhood in Jordan and its political party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF). Azam Hunaydi, the leader of the IAF's 17-member bloc in the Jordanian Parliament of 110, is now saying that the Jordanian Islamic movement is "mature enough to take over government responsibilities." The IAF has strong support in Jordan's major urban areas that are heavily populated by Palestinians.
        On the other hand, the Palestinian population in Jordan is socially stratified and politically diverse and certainly does not constitute a monolithic block of opposition to the regime. And the dichotomy between Jordanians and Palestinians is less sharply defined than it used to be. Intermarriage between Jordanians and Palestinians is very common. Since the civil war of 1970, many Palestinians have made their peace with the monarchy and would rather be part of the ruling elite than be ranked forever with its opponents. Indeed, the original Jordanians, fearful of competition, are less favorably disposed to integration of the Palestinians than are the Palestinians themselves.
        Should confrontation nevertheless prove unavoidable, Jordanian resilience should not be underestimated. In 1958, just after the bloody overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy in Iraq, former British Minister Anthony Nutting said of King Hussein of Jordan: "However much one may admire the courage of this lonely young king, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion his days are numbered." In fact, Hussein continued to rule forty more years. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Observations:

    Does Democracy End Tyranny? - Natan Sharansky (Los Angeles Times)

    • Recent elections in Iraq, Egypt, and especially Gaza and the West Bank have led many to conclude that the U.S. agenda to promote democracy in the Middle East is terribly misguided, enabling the most dangerous and antidemocratic elements in the region to gain power through democratic means. Is it simply too dangerous to promote freedom in the Arab world?
    • I have argued for many years that peace and security could be achieved only by linking international legitimacy, territorial concessions, and financial assistance for a new Palestinian regime to its commitment to building a free society.
    • Despite my faith in "democracy," I was under no illusion that Palestinian elections should be held immediately. In 2002 I proposed a plan calling for elections to be held no earlier than three years after the implementation of a series of democratic reforms.
    • Over the previous decade, Palestinian society had become one of the most poisoned and fanatical on Earth. A generation of Palestinians had been subjected to the most vicious incitement by their own leaders. The only "right" that seemed to be upheld within Palestinian areas was the right of everyone to bear arms.
    • Rather than push for quick elections, the democratic world must use its considerable moral, political, and economic leverage to help build free societies in the Middle East. We should tie trade privileges to economic freedoms, encourage foreign diplomats to meet openly with dissidents, and link aid to the protection of dissidents.
    • Obviously, any regime that supports terrorism is hostile to the most fundamental principles of a free society and should therefore be treated as an enemy.

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