Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 26, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Satellite Launched to Spy on Iran - Ora Coren (Ha'aretz)
    The international ImageSat company launched the Eros B high-resolution reconnaissance satellite from Siberia Tuesday to help Israel spy on Iranian nuclear facilities.
    The satellite can be stationed for an extended time over particularly sensitive targets.
    The satellite has a camera that can decipher objects on the ground as small as 70 centimeters across.
    A Russian official said the satellite had reached orbit, but it could not yet be determined if the satellite was operational.

U.S. Army Rejects Israel's Armor Protection System Despite Successful Test - Ran Dagoni (Globes)
    The U.S. Army has rejected the Trophy Active Protection System for armored fighting vehicles developed by Israel's Rafael Armament Development Authority, despite a successful live fire test on March 30 in the U.S.
    An Israeli defense industry source said, "The test was a great success, but the...U.S. Army is locked onto another system being developed by Raytheon....Its only disadvantage is that it would not be ready for production and installment before 2010 or 2011."
    In Iraq, the top-of-the-line Russian-made RPG 29 rocket launcher is beginning to appear, which can penetrate the armor of tanks and APCs used in Iraq.
    Rafael developed the Trophy system over a decade in response to the challenge posed by the RPG 29 against IDF units in southern Lebanon.

Report: Iran Could Not Close Oil Route (Middle East Newsline)
    The Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said Iran has failed to procure the platforms or weapons required to block the Strait of Hormuz, the passage for 60% of the world's oil trade.
    "Iran could not close the Strait of Hormuz, or halt tanker traffic, and its submarines and much of its IRGC forces would probably be destroyed in a matter of days if they become operational," the report said.
    Iran has warned it could threaten the global oil trade if attacked by the U.S.

U.S. Teen Injured in Tel Aviv Blast Regains Consciousness - Ashley Fantz (Miami Herald/Ha'aretz)
    Daniel Wultz, 16, of Weston, FL, severely injured in a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on April 17, awoke Tuesday morning after nine days in a coma.
    He is not yet able to speak, but he can communicate with his eyes.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Jordan Says Hamas Leaders in Syria Ordered Attacks - Suleiman al-Khalidi
    Jordan said on Tuesday a group of Hamas militants arrested last week were close to staging attacks inside the kingdom on orders from the Palestinian group's Syrian-based leadership. "Security interrogations with the detained suspects had proven they received instructions to execute operations from leaders of Hamas and specifically one of the military officials of Hamas currently based in Syria," government spokesperson Nasser Joudeh said. Joudeh said one of the detainees had led security officials to a hideout near the border with Syria in northern Jordan where large quantities of weapons and rocket launchers had been found. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Blast Reported Near Peacekeeping Forces in Egypt's Sinai
    An explosion Wednesday rocked an area just outside a Sinai Peninsula base that houses a multinational peacekeeping force. One New Zealander, one Norwegian, and two Egyptian policemen were reported wounded. (AP/FOX News)
        See also Death Toll Reduced in Sinai Bombing - Daniel Williams
    Egyptian government officials said the three bombs on Monday in the Red Sea resort of Dahab killed at least 18 people, 12 of them Egyptian, and wounded 85. It is still unclear whether the blasts were caused by time bombs or suicide bombers. (Washington Post)
  • Al-Qaeda Leader Zarqawi: "Our Eyes Are on Jerusalem" - Salah Nasrawi
    In a video posted Tuesday on the Internet, al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said that while fighters are in Iraq, "our eyes are on Jerusalem, which cannot be regained without a guiding Koran and a triumphant sword.'' Zarqawi also accused the West and the U.S. of waging a "crusader'' war against Islam, but said Muslim holy warriors were standing firm. (AP/Guardian-UK)
  • Iranian President: "Israel Cannot Continue to Live" - Angus McDowall
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad told a press conference Monday: "We say that this fake regime [Israel] cannot logically continue to live."  (Independent-UK)
  • Iran: Ready to Share Nuclear Technology - Nazila Fathi
    Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday at a meeting in Tehran with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir that Iran was ready to share its nuclear technology with other countries. "Iran's nuclear capability is one example of various scientific capabilities in the country," said Khamenei. "The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to transfer the experience, knowledge, and technology of its scientists." Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said Tuesday that in the event of Security Council sanctions, Iran would suspend cooperation with the UN nuclear agency. If there is a military strike aimed at destroying its facilities, Iran will simply hide its nuclear program. (New York Times)
  • FBI's Israel Interests in Columnist's Files Detailed - Walter Pincus
    FBI agents last month sought the identities of pro-Israel reporters who had worked for columnist Jack Anderson or were close to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) when they asked to look through the late journalist's files, according to Mark Feldstein, director of the journalism program at George Washington University. When the FBI interview took place at his home on March 3, Feldstein said, he was surprised that the agents mentioned that they were looking into the Rosen-Weissman case and possible espionage "going back to the early 1980s." (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Sources: U.S. Won't View Pullout Line as Final Border - Shmuel Rosner
    The U.S. will not recognize a border created after a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank as Israel's permanent frontier, senior U.S. administration members said. A number of sources said unofficially that they believed the administration would not recognize such a withdrawal as one "after which there would be no more need for negotiation," said one source. Sources in Washington said they believed the U.S. would want to maintain a united European-American front on the issue. "We need them for too many things; we won't get into a conflict with them over this issue," an administration source said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Security Officials After Sinai Attack: "Global Jihad Is Closing In" - Yaakov Katz
    "We are surrounded," a senior security official said Tuesday, describing the aftermath of Monday's deadly attack on the Sinai beach resort of Dahab. For months, security officials have warned that al-Qaeda and global Jihad were slowly closing in on Israel and were attempting to establish cells in the Palestinian territories. Military Intelligence believes Sinai has turned into an al-Qaeda hotbed whose cells were behind all of the latest Sinai terror attacks. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA Police Foil Attack on Gaza-Israel Crossing - Amos Harel
    Palestinian police on Wednesday foiled an attempt by militants to drive a bomb-laden vehicle into the Karni crossing, the main cargo passage between Israel and Gaza. Palestinian security officials said three Palestinian officers were wounded in exchanges of fire. (Ha'aretz)
  • $450,000 Stolen from PA Foreign Minister in Kuwait
    Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar had $450,000 stolen from his hotel room during his current fundraising visit to Kuwait, Itim news agency quoting the Kuwaiti media reported Wednesday. The incident was confirmed by a security official at his hotel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Human Rights Groups Oppose Controversial UN Appointment - Steven Edwards
    Former political prisoners, torture victims, and human rights groups are asking Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to help prevent a UN official with a "long and notorious record of supporting dictators" from becoming an advisor to the new UN Human Rights Council. Canada condemned former Swiss politician Jean Ziegler's remarks last year when he compared Israelis to concentration camp guards, and he has also made headlines defending countries frequently cited for human rights abuses including Cuba, Libya, and Sudan.
        A letter signed by UN Watch and 14 other organizations, including human rights activists from Cuba, Libya, Vietnam, African and Asian development organizations, and two U.S. women's rights groups, said: "Jean Ziegler almost never criticizes any government other than the U.S. and Israel....Hence, the Sudanese atrocities in Darfur for Ziegler are merely a 'cause for concern,' the role of the Khartoum regime in atrocities only alleged. By contrast, the United States is an 'imperialist dictatorship' responsible for all the world's misery, the U.S. is committing 'genocide' in Cuba, and Israel commits 'state terror' and 'war crimes' with the U.S.'s blessing." (National Post-Canada/UN Watch-Switzerland)
  • Terror on Beach Rattles Bedouins - Orly Halpern
    The local Bedouin people, who have lived on the Sinai Peninsula for centuries and have come to enjoy the economic fruits as tourism has ripened over the past 15 years, are fearful that Monday's devastating triple bombing, the third massive terror attack in the Sinai Peninsula in the past 18 months, will spell the end of their livelihood and heighten tensions between the government and their people. The Bedouin in Dahab are quick to point out that "southern Bedouin" were never arrested. "We are nicer and richer," said Hmeid Ismail, 27, manager of the Mohammed Ali Hotel, explaining, "We have tourists, they [northern Bedouin] have nothing." Most of the Bedouin living along the western and eastern coasts of the peninsula make their living from tourism by working as hotel waiters, mountain guides, fishermen, and taxi drivers. In the north, however, tourism is practically non-existent, unemployment is high, and drug smuggling is a major source of income. It is these impoverished types who are desperate for money and know their way through the mountains that fill the peninsula. It's thought that they offer support to al-Qaeda or like-minded terrorists. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • Observations:

    Philosophy of Death - Nazir Majali (Ha'aretz)

    • There are no words to adequately condemn the despicable attack in Tel Aviv, not only because it is contrary to the interests of the Palestinian people, but, most importantly, because of the philosophy behind it that is destroying the Palestinian people.
    • It is a racist philosophy that is based on the cruel principle of killing Jews because they are Jews, which characterized movements in history among which it is not a great honor to be numbered.
    • It is a philosophy of war criminals, the goal of which is to murder innocent people walking down the street. And it is a philosophy of cowardice. If someone wants to fight occupation, let them go and attack the occupying army, not innocent people in the street.
    • From the point of view of Palestinian society, this is a philosophy of self-destruction. Those who sent the young man to blow himself up in Tel Aviv foster in young Palestinians the culture of death instead of the culture of life. Therefore every patriotic Palestinian must condemn the attack and see it as anti-Palestinian terror.

      The writer is a commentator on Arab television stations and in the Arabic-language daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

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