Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 11, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Jordan Says Hamas Trains Recruits in Syria and Iran - Suleiman al-Khalidi (Reuters)
    Jordan said on Wednesday that Hamas had tried to recruit activists for military training in Syria and Iran to stage possible attacks in Jordan and said it had found new weapons that included Iranian rocket launchers.
    Government spokesman Nasser Joudeh said details of the plot were revealed during interrogations of 20 Hamas militants arrested by security forces last month.
    "The security forces believe there are more weapons and rocket launchers that have not been uncovered yet....Among the weapons seized recently were Iranian rocket launchers," he said.
    Joudeh said a team headed by Tareq Abu Rajab, the Palestinian intelligence chief, was shown hard evidence to back up Amman's claims against Hamas.
    The government said it would soon televise confessions by Hamas activists.

700 Potential Al-Qaeda Terrorists At Large in Britain - Jason Bennetto and Colin Brown (Independent-UK)
    At least 700 people suspected of being involved in al-Qaeda terrorist plots have been identified by MI5 and the police.
    "We are talking about radicals or plotters who would be of interest because of their potential threat to national security," a security source said.
    "The service [MI5] is currently at a very high level of operational intensity in investigating plotting leading to mass casualty attacks in the UK," a Whitehall source added.
    "Many of the plotters are homegrown and currently living in the UK."
    Whitehall sources also disclosed that Islamist extremist groups in Pakistan have stepped up efforts to recruit young British Muslims visiting the country.

Sister Rose Thering Dies at 85, Nun Who Battled Anti-Semitism - Robert D. McFadden (New York Times)
    Sister Rose Thering, a Roman Catholic nun and a former professor at Seton Hall University who battled anti-Semitism within her church and contributed to a historic Vatican declaration that Jews were not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus, died Saturday at a convent in Racine, Wis. She was 85.
    Thering - who wore a Star of David fused to the cross on her neck - devoted most of her adult life to writing, lecturing, and traveling the world in a quest to promote greater understanding between Christians and Jews.
    At Seton Hall, where she joined the faculty in 1968, she established workshops on Judaism for church leaders and teachers, and led student groups on 54 tours of Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hamas Asks Muslim World "to Send Weapons, Money, and Men"
    "We ask all the people in surrounding Arab countries, the Muslim world, and everyone who wants to support us to send weapons, money, and men," Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal said in Qatar on Wednesday. "This is resistance, not terrorism," said Meshaal, whose group - sworn to the destruction of Israel - leads the Palestinian government. Prominent Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi called on Muslims to boycott banks that do not transfer money to the Palestinians. (Reuters)
  • Iran Leader Calls Israel an "Evil" Regime - Chris Brummitt
    Iran's president on Thursday intensified his attacks against Israel, calling it a "regime based on evil." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a cheering crowd of students in Indonesia that the Jewish state "cannot continue and one day will vanish." (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel to Transfer $11 Million to Quartet Aid "Mechanism" for Palestinians - Ronny Sofer
    Israel will transfer part of the tax revenues it has collected for the PA for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni announced Wednesday. The funds will be channeled only through the special mechanism to be set up by the international Quartet. "We are willing to have these funds used for direct humanitarian purposes, such as medicines and healthcare needs. Israel will not allow for this money to go toward paying salaries," she stressed.
        "By the way," she added, PA Chairman Mahmoud "Abbas also has a lot of money in a Palestinian investment fund, which can be used to pay for all of the government workers' salaries. Abbas refuses to pass the money to the Authority." (Ynet News)
  • U.S. Wary of New Mechanism for Bankrolling PA Salaries - Shlomo Shamir
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday that "no country in the world, including poor African countries, relies on foreign sources in order to make payments to its employees." U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said that "the United States has still not granted its full agreement" to the establishment of the international aid mechanism. He said that Washington was waiting for details on how the mechanism would work. Only after the U.S. receives all the details will it "evaluate the proposal and consider its response," Bolton said. (Ha'aretz)
        See also U.S.: No Commitment to PA Aid "Mechanism" - Yitzhak Benhorin
    In two weeks, the EU will present the Americans with a proposal detailing the mechanism to funnel aid to the Palestinians, while ensuring that funds don't reach Hamas. Under the new mechanism, funds will not be used to pay the wages of PA employees. (Ynet News)
  • Administration Asks Congress to Revise Anti-Hamas Bill - Nathan Guttman
    The U.S. administration is calling on Congress to make revisions in proposed legislation, known as the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, that would limit assistance to the Palestinians. The State Department last week circulated a letter stating that the administration already had "ample authority to impose all its restrictions" on the Hamas-led PA. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Epistle from Iran - Editorial
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 18-page diatribe against democracy in general - and America and Israel in particular - seems, if anything, to underscore the need for UN sanctions to derail Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. (New York Post)
        See also Return to Sender - Editorial
    All signs point toward Ahmadinejad's letter as the latest in a long line of diversions and smoke screens, intended to stall UN action while Iranian scientists learn how to build a bomb. Iran must cease all uranium enrichment and return to abiding by its responsibilities under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. That is not negotiable. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Stop Coddling Despots - Max Boot
    In the last year, the global momentum for democratization has palpably slowed. In the Middle East, the Iranian ayatollahs have stepped up their campaign of torturing, jailing, and executing dissidents. The Assad regime has arrested more opposition figures at home and continues to intimidate anti-Syrian activists in Lebanon. Modern-day pharaoh Mubarak has imprisoned his leading liberal opponent and renewed the draconian "emergency law" that allows indefinite detention of anyone who challenges his rule.
        Mubarak has been among the most brazen in defying Bush's demands for greater openness while force-feeding his 78 million subjects a steady diet of anti-American and anti-Semitic drivel. Why, oh why, is this repugnant regime still getting $2 billion a year in American subsidies? Take the money away from Mubarak and give it to democracy-promotion programs across the Middle East. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Russian Jews Share Stories of Holocaust Survival - Amiram Barkat and Yulie Khromchenko
    In an unusual documentation project launched five months ago, more than 1,000 elderly immigrants in assisted living facilities have provided testimony about their experiences in World War II. Officials at Yad Vashem - the Holocaust Memorial Authority - said the new testimonies have great research value because they come from areas about which there has been relatively little information regarding the Holocaust.
        Siemion Rosenfeld, 84, from Belarus, joined the Red Army in 1940. In August 1941 he was taken prisoner by the Germans and sent to the Sobibor death camp in Poland. "They don't talk enough about the escape from Sobibor," he says, "it was like the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, only Sobibor was wiped off the face of the earth." Rosenfeld is one of 80 POWs who took part in the uprising. Only five survived. In 1944 he returned to the Red Army and his unit reached Berlin. "One of the walls of the Reichstag bore my signature," he says proudly.
        Many of the immigrants who refused initially to cooperate eventually changed their minds once they realized the importance of testimony for future generations and as part of the campaign against Holocaust denial. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    The BBC Pro-Israeli? - Martin Walker (Times-UK)

    • The official report for the governors of the BBC on its coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict listed a series of measurements by which the BBC could be said to be biased in favor of Israel.
    • This produced mocking guffaws in my own newsroom, where some of the BBC's greatest hits remain fresh in the memory. There was the send-off for Yasser Arafat by a BBC reporter with tears in her eyes and that half-hour profile of Arafat in 2002 which concluded that the corrupt old brute was "the stuff of legends."
    • There was Orla Guerin's story of a Palestinian child being deployed as a suicide bomber, which most journalists saw as a sickening example of child abuse in the pursuit of terrorism. Guerin had it as "Israel's cynical manipulation of a Palestinian youngster for propaganda purposes."
    • There was the case of Fayad Abu Shamala, the BBC Arabic Service correspondent, who addressed a Hamas rally on May 6, 2001, and was recorded declaring that journalists in Gaza, apparently including the BBC, were "waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people."
    • These examples are reinforced by a broader pattern of coverage that seems to play down that Israel is a democracy that elects Israeli Arabs to the Knesset and which does not engage in systematic terrorism and suicide bombing of civilians.

      The writer is the Editor of United Press International.

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