Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 10, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Military Intelligence: Iran Will Produce Nuclear Bomb by 2010 - Amos Harel and Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    Iran will have acquired nuclear bombs by 2010, the head of Israeli Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.
    Since January 2006, Iran had enriched uranium to 3.5%, indicating that they had been working on secret projects.
    "In order to manufacture nuclear weapons, they have to be able to produce 25 kilograms of enriched uranium and they are still at the stage of [producing] grams," he said.
    See also "Hamas Wants Katyushas" - Ilan Marciano (Ynet News)
    Hamas seeks to manufacture Grad rockets - a type of Katyusha with a 21-kilometer range, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin warned Tuesday.
    He also warned that "terrorists are moving through the border crossings between Egypt and the Gaza Strip much too easily," adding that this could enable the entry of global Jihad operatives and trained terrorists into the Palestinian Authority.

Egyptian Police Kill Suspect in Red Sea Attacks - Daniel Williams (Washington Post)
    Egyptian authorities claimed to have all but broken up a group that bombed the Red Sea resort of Dahab last month.
    Nasser Khamis el-Mallahi, the engineer of the attack, was killed by police in El-Arish in the Sinai Peninsula on Monday, the seventh person killed since police and soldiers fanned out across Sinai to hunt down suspects in the April 24 Dahab bombings.
    Mallahi was also involved in the effort to blow up international peacekeepers and Egyptian police at Gorah in Sinai shortly after the Dahab blasts, Egyptian officials said.

Iran Moves to Stop "Immoral Behavior"  (Der Spiegel-Germany)
    Iran's feared moral police, founded by Islamic revolution leader Ayatollah Khomeini, are to be strengthened with 50 more patrol groups.
    They will be equipped with police cars from Germany that should allow the mullahs to monitor "un-Islamic behavior" more closely.
    Women that show too much hair peeking from their headscarf or wear figure-defining clothing face a fine of around 300 euros - roughly a month's salary for a teacher - or ten days in jail.
    Taxi drivers that pick up such fashion sinners also face punishment.
    The expanded patrols are also to crack down on pop music in public, and dog owners will be banned from walking their pets in city parks.

Terrorists Use Internet for Propaganda, Defense Officials Say - Steven Donald Smith (U.S. Defense Department)
    Terrorist networks are skillfully using the Internet to raise money, recruit and train members, and to spread a message of hatred, Peter Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for policy and international security affairs, told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week.

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  • Quartet Approves EU's Temporary Palestinian Aid Plan
    Meeting in New York on Tuesday, representatives of the Quartet, including U.S. Secretary of State Rice, discussed the situation in the Middle East. A statement issued after the meeting said: "The Quartet reiterated its support for assistance directed to help meet the basic human needs of the Palestinian people and promotion of Palestinian democracy and civil society." "The Quartet expressed its willingness to endorse a temporary international mechanism that is limited in scope and duration, operates with full transparency and accountability, and ensures direct delivery of assistance to the Palestinian people....The Quartet welcomed the offer of the European Union to develop and propose such a mechanism." (United Nations)
        See also International Plan to Provide Aid in Critical Areas - Glenn Kessler and Colum Lynch
    The EU was assigned to come up with a plan, but there was little agreement on how the "international mechanism" would work and no guarantee the U.S. would support it when it is completed. Marc Otte, the EU envoy to the Quartet, said that money would be channeled through an intermediary, perhaps the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. A steering committee of donors would direct the intermediary to use the money in specific areas, such as health care or essential commodities, and then the intermediary would be free to decide exactly how to allocate that money in those categories, including paying salaries. But Otte warned that choices needed to be made, such as reducing salaries or the size of the workforce. (Washington Post)
        See also Israel to Oppose Quartet Payment of Salaries to Hamas Government Employees - Ran Dagoni
    Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon said Tuesday that Israel will oppose paying salaries to Hamas government employees in the PA via the humanitarian mechanism that the Quartet announced. U.S. and European diplomats said that the mechanism's funds might be used to pay the salaries of doctors, teachers, or other workers of the Hamas government. "I hope that the Quartet mechanism doesn't plan to finance the salaries of PA workers under the Hamas government," said Ayalon. "External financing of salaries will only strengthen Hamas, intensify violence, and block any chance of a solution." Sources in Washington said EU representatives in the Quartet lobbied to include the payments of salaries as one of the goals of the mechanism, but U.S. representatives strongly objected.
        Ayalon said that if the payment of PA civil service salaries is put on the agenda, "Israel will know how to deal with this." He stressed that Israel would definitely not agree to paying salaries of education system employees, who poison the minds of Palestinian children with anti-Semitic texts. (Globes-Israel)
  • No Proposals in Iranian's Letter to Bush, U.S. Says - Karl Vick and Colum Lynch
    U.S. Secretary of State Rice dismissed an 18-page letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to President Bush on Monday, saying it contained no proposals for resolving the confrontation over Iran's nuclear ambitions. In the letter, Ahmadinejad sharply criticized Bush on a broad range of fronts. (Washington Post)
        See also Iran's Letter to Bush a Ploy to Avert Pressure - Anton La Guardia (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Text of Ahmadinejad's Letter to Bush (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Israel Intent on Keeping Jordan Valley - Laurie Copans
    The Jordan River, which forms the West Bank's border with Jordan, has great strategic importance. Since Israel captured the land nearly four decades ago, the country has invested in the area with a view toward keeping it for good. When Israel started putting Jews in the valley in 1968, it saw them as a way to prevent Jordanian and Iraqi attack from the east. Peace with Jordan removed one threat, but the current war in Iraq has made it an unstable entity with the potential to infiltrate al-Qaeda terrorists and other extremists into Israel. The Hamas victory in Palestinian elections in January "has created an entirely new strategic reality for Israel which vastly increases the importance of the Jordan Valley for Israel's security in the near term," wrote Dore Gold, a foreign affairs adviser to the Israeli government, in a recent research paper. (AP/Guardian-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Navy Foils Attempt to Smuggle Explosives into Gaza - Amos Harel
    The Israel Navy foiled a Palestinian attempt to smuggle at least 550 kilos of explosives into Gaza on Independence Day last week, it was revealed Tuesday. Naval forces south of Ashdod became suspicious of three Palestinian fishing boats that fled after throwing a number of bags into the sea. Navy divers pulled 11 bags from the water, which contained of total of 550 kilograms of explosives. The damage such an amount could have caused is immeasurable. The explosives were believed to have come from Egypt. (Ha'aretz)
        A suspicious "vessel entered an area filled with shipping boats in an effort to disguise itself," said Col. Yoram Lax, commander of the Ashdod region Navy. Because of the many fishing boats in the area, it was decided not to open fire at the boat in order to avoid endangering innocent Palestinian fishermen. (Ynet News)
  • Jordanian King's Closest Aides Are West Bankers - Samer Abu Libdeh
    Last month, King Abdullah II appointed his former minister of finance, Bassem Awadallah, as director of his office. Awadallah is considered one of the major architects of Jordan's economic liberalization program, which has topped the king's agenda ever since he came to the throne. In the absence of a more open political system and with Jordan's polity fractured along tribal lines, it is significant that Awadallah and former foreign minister Farouk Kasrawi, now special advisor to the king, are both of Palestinian origin. The king's closest aides are West Bankers - or at least that's how the majority of Jordanian citizens perceive them. But the king makes it a point to call his palace "The House of all Jordanians."
        The king has begun to realize that regional dynamics in Israel and the PA territories are providing all the reasons to revive his father's legitimate political interests in the West Bank. The writer is a Jordanian journalist and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Are There Signs of a Jordanian-Palestinian Reengagement? - Dan Diker and Pinchas Inbari (ICA/JCPA)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Ahmadinejad's Letter to President Bush - Editorial
    In Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "letter" to President Bush, he tells Mr. Bush: "Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems. We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking toward a main focal point - that is the Almighty God....My question for you [Mr. Bush] is, 'Do you not want to join them?'" What's wholly absent is any indication that he is prepared to moderate his positions as a way of meeting the U.S. or UN half way. As a psychological comparison, the Unabomber's manifesto comes to mind. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Is Israel Ready for an Iranian Nuclear Era? - Hanan Greenberg
    "The Arrow [anti-missile] system is certainly an important aspect against any ballistic threat and certainly from Iran's direction," a senior defense official said. However, critics say a barrage of missiles could make the system ineffective. After all, it is enough that only one missile lands in Tel Aviv. The recently launched Eros B satellite is used to monitor Iran's nuclear program. "When it comes to Iran, all the information is relayed to the Americans," a security source says.
        "We must remember Iran learned from Iraq's mistakes," the security official concludes. "They're operating in several sites spread across the country and not all of them are known. They're operating in two different tracks. And who knows, maybe there's another secret track on the way to the nuke." (Ynet News)
  • Observations:

    Deterring Teheran - Daniel Pipes (Jerusalem Post)

    • As the Iranian regime barrels forward, openly calling for the destruction of Israel and overtly breaking the nuclear non-proliferation rules, two distinctly undesirable prospects confront the West. The first is to acquiesce to Teheran and hope for the best. The second consists of the U.S. destroying key Iranian installations. But is there a third option to dissuade the Iranian regime from developing and militarizing its atomic capabilities?
    • Iran is an oligarchy with multiple power centers and with debate on many issues. The political leadership itself is divided, with important elements dubious about the wisdom of proceeding with nukes, fearful of international isolation, not to speak of air strikes. A campaign by Iranians to avoid confrontation could well prevail. Going nuclear remains a voluntary decision, one Teheran can refrain from making. Arguably, Iranian security would benefit by staying non-nuclear.
    • Deterring Teheran requires sustained, consistent external pressure on the Iranian body politic. That implies, ironically, that those most adverse to U.S. air strikes must (1) stand tight with Washington and (2) convince Iranians of the terrible repercussions for them of defying the international consensus.

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