Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 9, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Head of IDF Research: Iran Seeks to Change World Order - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    "Wiping Israel off the map is just one step in Iran's attempt to create a new world order," said Brig.-Gen. Yosef Kuperwasser, head of IDF Military Intelligence's research division, at a conference on power projection at the Fisher Institute of Strategic Studies in Herzliya.
    "Iran is at the forefront of global terrorism, and aids Hizballah in Lebanon, al-Qaeda, and Palestinian terror organizations, and is behind attacks on U.S. armed forces in Iraq," he asserted.
    "Nuclear capabilities would ensure that regime returns to its former glory and revives the Islamic revolution there," he explained.

Israelis Urged to Leave Sinai Immediately - Ronny Sofer (Ynet News)
    Two weeks after the Dahab terror attacks, the Anti-Terror Bureau in the Prime Minister's Office "sternly suggests that Israelis visiting Sinai leave immediately," due to an "increased threat of kidnapping of Israeli citizens on the Sinai coast."

Non-Recognition of Israel a Hamas Founding Principle (MEMRI)
    Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, said in an interview on April 24:
    "One of Hamas' founding principals is that it does not recognize Israel. We [participated in] the elections and the people voted for us based on this platform. Therefore, the question of recognizing Israel is definitely not on the table unless it withdraws from ALL the Palestinian lands, not only to the 1967 borders."

Iraqi Insurgents Using "Hizballah Bombs" to Kill U.S. and British Troops - Toby Harnden (Telegraph-UK)
    A multi-charged roadside bomb, developed by Hizballah in Lebanon, is being used against British and American soldiers by Iraqi insurgents linked to Iran, according to military intelligence sources.
    There were 10,953 roadside bombings in Iraq in 2005, compared with 5,607 in 2004.

Television Journalist Beheaded in Iraq - Hala Jaber (Sunday Times-UK)
    A film showing the death on Feb. 22 of Al-Arabiya television journalist Atwar Bahjat, 30, emerged last week.
    She was one of the Arab world's most highly regarded and outspoken journalists.

Morgan Stanley: Israel Almost Perfect - Gil Shlomo (Globes)
    U.S. investment house Morgan Stanley has released a glowing review of the Israeli economy, entitled "Israel: Almost Perfect."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Middle East Power Brokers Hammer Out Hamas Strategy - Sue Pleming
    The Quartet of Middle East peace brokers meet on Tuesday in New York to hammer out how to deal with a Hamas government, with pressure growing to pay beleaguered PA workers and Washington trying to hold its tough line on direct aid. The Bush administration says it is unlikely to stray from its strategy of isolating Hamas until the militant group renounces violence, recognizes Israel, and agrees to previous deals between Palestinians and Israelis. "We want to address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people, but we are not going to provide money to a terrorist organization," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. (Reuters)
  • Peres: "Iran Too Can Be Destroyed" - Dean Yates and Allyn Fisher-Ilan
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, should bear in mind that his own country could also be destroyed, Israeli elder statesman Shimon Peres said on Monday. "They want to wipe out Israel....Now when it comes to destruction, Iran too can be destroyed," he said. "Israel would defend itself under any condition, but we don't look upon it as an Iranian-Israeli conflict exclusively....(Iran) is basically a danger to the world, not just to us." "If Iran becomes nuclear, many other countries will follow suit...and finally some bombs will reach the hands of terror," Peres warned. (Reuters)
        See also Peres' Threat to Iran Not Accidental
    "The statement by Shimon Peres highlights the basis of Israeli deterrence and hints to Tehran that it too has a soft underbelly," Col. (Ret.) Shimon Boyarsky, a former head of the Iran department in military intelligence, told Israel's Army Radio Tuesday. "A statement that was repeated three times was not said accidentally." (AP/China Post-Taiwan)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Ten Hurt in Hamas-Fatah Clashes in Gaza; Al-Qaeda Cell in Gaza Threatens Suicide Attacks - Ali Waked
    At least ten Palestinians were hurt Tuesday in exchanges of fire between Hamas and Fatah members in Gaza. Most of those hurt were children on their way to school.
        A leaflet published Tuesday on behalf of the Islamic "al-Quds" army said its cells, which belong to al-Qaeda, will "start operating in Palestine." The group threatened suicide attacks again "Zionist and Crusader targets." (Ynet News)
  • Terrorist Behind Murder of Five Israelis Nabbed
    Nasser Abiaat, 33, a senior al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades member responsible for the deaths of three IDF soldiers, a police officer, and an Israeli civilian, was apprehended Monday in the West Bank. (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Shuns Call by Jordan to Inspect Arms Smuggling Proof
    The Hamas-led Palestinian government has refused a Jordanian request to send a delegation to Amman to examine evidence against Hamas members who allegedly smuggled weapons, Palestinian and Jordanian officials said Sunday. Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh said Jordanian authorities would reveal details on the seized weapons and the detained militants, as well as expose violations by Hamas elements in Jordan over a long period of time. The government said two weeks ago that the Hamas militants were in the final phase of planning an attack on targets in the kingdom under orders from a Hamas official in Syria. (AP/Ha'aretz)
        See also Hamas Weapons in Jordan: Implications for Islamists on the East Bank - David Schenker
    The discovery of the weapons cache, announced on April 18, underscores Hamas' continuing efforts to prepare for terrorist acts even while it proclaims a tahdiya (period of calm), and it has important implications for internal Jordanian politics and the rising influence of Jordan's own Islamist movement. Hamas was expelled from Jordan in October 1999, less than a year after King Abdullah II took power. At the time, Jordanian authorities claimed that Hamas cells in Jordan were stockpiling weapons, recruiting personnel, and "building a large base for extremism" in the kingdom. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Bye, Bye, "Jihad" - Editorial
    The European Union's latest weapon in the war on terror is a "non-emotive avoid linking Islam and terrorism." The idea of drawing up politically correct guidelines for official EU parlance as part of the counter-terrorism strategy was endorsed by member governments in December. And so, "Islamic terrorists" could soon become "those who have an abusive interpretation of Islam," European Commission spokesman Friso Roscam Abbing said. The word "jihad" might be banned too because it "can also mean the internal struggle to become a better man," the spokesman explained. We're fairly sure that's not what bin Laden means by the word. (Wall Street Journal, 9May06)
  • UK Academics to Back Sweeping Boycott of Israeli Universities - Tamara Traubman
    The largest university and college lecturers union in Britain is likely to decide shortly to recommend that its 67,000 members boycott Israeli lecturers and academic institutions that do not publicly declare their opposition to Israeli policy in the territories. The boycott motion will be brought to a vote at the annual conference of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) to be held May 27-29. (Ha'aretz)
        See also The Need to Boycott Israel - Bradley Burston
    Specifics aside, the new boycott proposal tells us more than we want to know about the people who feel the need to propose it. More than anything, it tells us that for them, it doesn't really matter what Israel is, or does.
        There's now a democratically elected Palestinian government whose ruling party's platform endorses the extermination of the Jewish state and continued terrorism against Israeli civilians. The Palestinians are still shelling Israel with Kassam rockets, up to eight a day. They're still blowing up innocent people at felafel stands in Tel Aviv. But Israel must be punished. (Ha'aretz)
  • Iran's Jews Face Growing Climate of Fear - Annette Young
    Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power last June, life for Iran's 25,000 Jews has become even more precarious as the president defiantly pursues a nuclear policy while declaring Israel should be "wiped off the world map." "Every Iranian Jew who had the financial possibility or courage has already left, but there's still a small but flourishing community," said Israeli broadcaster Menashe Amir, who moved to Israel in 1959 and has been broadcasting for 46 years in Farsi for Israeli state radio. "While there are Jewish schools, the principals and most of the teachers are Muslim, the Bible is taught in Farsi, not in Hebrew, and the schools are forced to open on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath," Amir said. "So while the regime declares that there is freedom of religion, it is all just for the sake of appearances." (Scotland on Sunday)
  • Israel: A Model for Democracy in the Middle East - Joseph Bauer and Bob Feferman
    In its 58th year, Israel is still facing serious threats to its very existence. The president of Iran has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map." Palestinian terrorism is still a daily threat to Israeli citizens as the Palestinian Authority headed by Hamas refuses to accept Israel's right to exist. Yet despite these dangers, America's embattled ally, Israel, serves as a model of democracy. Joseph Bauer is a professor of law at the University of Notre Dame and Bob Feferman teaches history at The Montessori Academy. (South Bend Tribune)
  • Observations:

    The Perils of Engagement with Iran - Amir Taheri (Wall Street Journal)

    • Something interesting is happening with regard to the crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Slowly the blame is shifting from the mullahs to the Bush administration as the debate is redirected to tackle the hypothetical question of U.S. military action rather than the Islamic Republic's real misdeeds.
    • What the U.S. needs is an open, honest, and exhaustive debate on what to do with a regime that claims a mission to drive the U.S. out of the Middle East, wipe Israel off the map, create an Islamic superpower, and conquer the world for "The Only True Faith."
    • The options are clear: retreat and let the Islamic Republic advance its goals; resist and risk confrontation, including military conflict; or engage the Islamic Republic in a mini-version of Cold War until, worn out, it self-destructs.
    • Calling for talks is just cheap talk. It is important to say what the proposed talks should be about. In the meantime, talk of "constructive engagement" is sure to encourage President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's intransigence. Why should he slow down, let alone stop, when there are no bumps on the road?

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