Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 27, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Iran Procures Missiles Capable of Hitting Europe - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
    Iran has purchased BM-25 ground-to-ground missiles from North Korea with a range of 2,500 kilometers, the head of the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Branch, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, said Wednesday.
    Some of the missiles have already arrived in Iran.
    With this purchase the Iranians have leap-frogged over their Shihab-4 missile with its range of 2,000 kilometers.
    The Iranians are known to be developing two more long-range missiles, and American intelligence sources say Iran is at an advanced stage of developing a missile that can carry a nuclear warhead.

Sweden Rejects Air Force Exercise with Israel (Ha'aretz)
    Sweden called off its participation in international air force exercises in Italy next month because of the involvement of the Israel Air Force.
    Swedish Defense Minister Leni Bjorklund said that her country is withdrawing because of the participation of "a state that does not take part in preserving international peace."
    An Israeli government source responded, "The lack of sympathy for Israel in Sweden is out of proportion. Some government ministers spearhead the most anti-Israel approach in all of Europe."

Syrians, Jordanian on Trial over Aqaba Rocket Attack - Suleiman al-Khalidi (Reuters)
    Five Syrians and a Jordanian accused of links to Iraqi insurgent groups went on trial in Jordan on Wednesday charged with firing rockets that missed two U.S. warships docked at the Red Sea port of Aqaba.

Saudis Tackle Terrorists with Persuasion - Anton La Guardia (Telegraph-UK)
    The Saudi approach to combating terror includes using clerics to debate "jihad" with jailed militants and convert them to more moderate beliefs.
   Seeking to fight Islamic extremism with Islamic theologians, Saudi authorities say they successfully re-educated some 400 out of 700 extremists and released them from prison.
    See also Saudi Releases 500 Al-Qaeda Sympathizers (UPI)
    Saudi Arabia released 500 al-Qaeda sympathizers after they underwent religious counseling to bring them back to the moderate path of Islam.

Foreign Ministry Website Big Hit with Arabs - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
    The new and improved Foreign Ministry Arabic-language website is eliciting excited responses from Arabs abroad, ministry officials say.
    "This is the only official website in the Arabic language that includes such comprehensive information about Israel," said Amira Oreo, who heads the ministry's Arab Media Division.
    "It stems from the belief in investing more resources to promote dialogue with the Arab world."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Two Suicide Bombers Target Peacekeeping Forces in Sinai - Daniel Williams
    Bombers targeting Egyptian police and a U.S.-led multinational peacekeeping force killed only themselves in a pair of attacks Wednesday in northern Sinai. In the first attack, a man approached a vehicle operated by the Multinational Force and Observers which monitor Sinai and blew himself up. A second bomber, riding a bicycle, tried to block an Egyptian police car on its way to investigate the first explosion and blew himself up. No one else was hurt in the blasts. (Washington Post)
        See also Two Britons Injured in Dahab Blasts - Philippe Naughton, Stephen Farrell, and Devika Bhat
    Two Britons injured in the Dahab blasts on Monday were named as Henry Luce - a relative of Lord Luce, the Lord Chamberlain - and Sam Still, 24, a British free diver who is world champion in the sport of static apnea, in which contestants hold their breath underwater for as long as possible. (Times-UK)
  • Iraqi Strife Seeping into Saudi Kingdom - Megan K. Stack
    The conflict in Iraq has begun to spill over onto Saudi Arabia, breathing new life into the ancient rivalry between the country's powerful Sunni Muslim majority and the long-oppressed Shiite minority in one of the most oil-rich areas of the world. "Saudi Sunnis are defending Iraqi Sunnis, and Saudi Shiites are defending Iraqi Shiites," said Hassan Saffar, Saudi Arabia's most influential Shiite cleric. Many Saudi Shiites felt a surge of quiet hope when the U.S. arrived in Iraq three years ago. Emboldened by their Iraqi brethren's escape from the oppressive rule of Saddam Hussein, Saudi Shiites began to demand - and win - freedoms of their own. But today, Shiites are being accused of harboring links to Iran, a longtime nemesis of the Saudi government. (Los Angeles Times)
  • U.S. Pushes for New Resolution on Syrian Acts in Lebanon - Evelyn Leopold
    The U.S. wants a new UN Security Council resolution on continued Syrian interference in Lebanon and Iran's backing of guerrillas there, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said on Wednesday. Bolton said the council should react to a recent report from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which urged a delineation of borders between the two countries, disarming the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hizballah militia in the south, and establishing formal diplomatic ties. (Reuters)
        See also New International Pressure on Syria over Lebanon Interference
    President George W. Bush ordered an asset freeze against any suspect found to be involved in the assassination last year of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri. (AFP/Khaleej Times-Dubai)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Catches Suicide Bomber
    The IDF Tuesday arrested a Palestinian Fatah member on his way to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel, the army reported Wednesday. Acting on a tip, security forces set up roadblocks near Nablus and arrested a suspect in possession of a 6-kg. explosives belt. Another man, who the army believed was supposed to drive the would-be bomber to the site of the planned attack, was also arrested, Israel Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PFLP Head Will Not Be Tried for Minister's Murder - Dan Izenberg
    Ahmed Sa'adat, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which carried out the assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze'evi, will not be tried for his murder, but four other PFLP members suspected of direct involvement in the killing will face trial, the Justice Ministry decided Wednesday. Sa'adat was one of six Palestinians held for almost four years in a Palestinian Authority jail in Jericho under British and American supervision until they were captured on March 14 by IDF troops, after the U.S. and Britain ordered their guards home. While Israeli judicial officials concluded that there was not enough evidence to charge Sa'adat with Ze'evi's murder, he is to be put on trial before a military court on charges of involvement in security crimes. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran: Galloping Towards a Nuclear Bomb - Jonathan Freedland
    Tehran officials, from the president down, bellow their nuclear efforts from the rooftops; on Monday an Iranian official posed with a vial of uranium gas, to confirm his boast that enrichment had occurred. True, the Iranians claim that all this work is merely in pursuit of civilian nuclear power. But it's hard to believe that a country drowning in oil is running short of energy. It is surely relevant that Iran is led by a man who cannot let a week go by without issuing an annihilationist threat to one of his regional neighbors. An alarming picture is forming of a state galloping towards a nuclear bomb, led by a messianist bent on destroying a nearby nation. Undenied, too, are Iran's links with terrorist organizations beyond its borders.
         In addition, a nuclear Iran would immediately trigger a rapid Middle Eastern arms race. Saudi Arabia would be quickest off the blocks, with Egypt and Turkey not far behind. If that kind of nuclear free-for-all ensued, then countries that have historically held back would suddenly reconsider their options, among them even unlikely players such as Japan, Brazil, and Germany. (Guardian-UK)
  • Security Fence an Absolute Necessity - Jack Kemp
    Contrary to the thrust of a recent Robert Novak column, Israel's Christian population has prospered and quadrupled in size over the last half century, in sharp contrast to the dwindling Christian communities in other countries in the Middle East. The continued dwindling of Christian communities in the Palestinian areas can be directly traced to the constant harassment to which they have been subjected by Islamic extremists. Never in history have residents in Jerusalem enjoyed more freedom of access to the holy places as under Israel's sovereignty. Israel's founding ethos guarantees freedom of religion and conscience while safeguarding the holy places of all religions.
        Novak also neglected to mention Israel's security barrier was a last-ditch effort to halt the march of Palestinian suicide bombers on Israel's cities that resulted in the killing and maiming of thousands. The fact that the barrier has contributed to a remarkable decline in terrorist attacks - approximately 90% - is evidence of its effectiveness. In planning the route of the barrier, particularly in the vicinity of Jerusalem, Israel has demonstrated particular sensitivity to Christian concerns. The route was determined, and in several cases altered, after a comprehensive dialogue with representatives of the various church denominations. (New York Sun)
  • How Radical Muslims Took Over the American Prison System - Stephen Schwartz
    Radical Muslim chaplains trained in a foreign ideology, certified in foreign-financed schools, and acting in coordination to impose an extremist agenda have gained a monopoly over Islamic religious activities in American prisons, establishing an Islamic radical regime over Muslim convicts. Imagine each prison Islamic community as a little Saudi kingdom behind prison walls. Wahhabis serve as chaplains at all levels of incarceration in America. Wahhabism teaches hatred of all non-Wahhabi Muslims, especially Shia Muslims and the spiritual Muslims known as Sufis. (Weekly Standard)
  • Observations:

    Secretary Rice: Hamas Must Renounce Violence and Terrorism - Editorial (Voice of America)

    • Hamas is responsible for dozens of suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of people in Israel. The U.S. and the EU have suspended assistance to the Palestinian government because Hamas has failed to accept the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel's right to exist, and respect for previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. These principles were developed by representatives of the Quartet as a means to bring about a peaceful settlement between Israel and its Palestinian neighbor.
    • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. "cannot fund and will not fund a Palestinian government that does not recognize the Quartet principles." "We are funding, however, very extensively, humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people because we do not have an argument with the Palestinian people. So we are continuing to fund aid to refugees. We're continuing to fund food assistance. We're continuing to fund democracy assistance in the Palestinian territories. We're funding some health and education assistance."
    • "Hamas has got to make a choice," says Ms. Rice. "If it is going to govern, it is going to have to govern on internationally acceptable standards and that means," she says, Hamas has got "to renounce violence and terrorism."

      The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.

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