Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 28, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Shin Bet: Egypt Allowing Arms Smuggling - Ronny Sofer (Ynet News)
    Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin told the Israeli Cabinet Wednesday that since the disengagement, some 19 tons of explosives, hundreds of rifles, and thousands of bullets have been smuggled from Egypt to Gaza.
    "The Egyptians know who the smugglers are and aren't taking care of them. They even received intelligence from us on the matter," he said.
    "We're talking about an escalation that is endangering us," Diskin said. (AP/Ha'aretz)
    "There would have been a huge outcry" if the same quantity and quality of weaponry that is currently passing from Egypt to Gaza was instead moving from Syria to Hizballah, Diskin said. (Jerusalem Post)
    See also Prime Minister: Reexamine Agreements Governing Egypt-Gaza Border - Ronny Sofer (Ynet News)
    Prime Minister Olmert said Wednesday that he is "not satisfied" with the arms smuggling across the Egypt-Gaza border.
    "I will bring the issue of the understandings on the Philadelphi Route up with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her anticipated visit to the region. The situation necessitates us to reopen the understandings on this issue."
    "We definitely must deal with the smuggling issue," the prime minister said.

Will Election Change Sweden's Pro-Arab Policy? - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    Some officials in Jerusalem saw the defeat Sunday of Sweden's Social Democratic government as an opening for a change in the Swedish government's unabashedly pro-Arab, anti-Israeli position.
    Former Israeli Ambassador to Stockholm Zvi Mazel said that the center-right parties, headed by prime minister designate Fredrik Reinfeld, made supportive comments about Israel while in the opposition.
    Gunnar Hokmark, a Swedish member of the European parliament and chairman of the Israel-Swedish Friendship League, said he thought the new government would "chart a more balanced policy" toward Israel.

Israel Will Soon Welcome from India Descendants of a "Lost" Jewish Tribe - Dina Kraft (JTA)
    A group of 218 people from the Bnei Menashe community in northeastern India, who claim descent from one of the lost biblical tribes, will be immigrating to Israel in November as recognized Jews.
    The immigrants, who have already undergone official conversion, were approved by rabbinical judges sent to India last year by Israel's Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar who has declared Bnei Menashe "descendants of the Jewish people."
    Some 1,000 members of the community already live in Israel and there are 7,000 Bnei Menashe still in India.
    See also Bnei Menashe Immigrants to Settle in Galilee (Jerusalem Post)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Olmert: Assad Is No Peace Partner Now
    Israeli Prime Minister Olmert says Syrian President Assad is no peace partner. In Israeli press accounts Tuesday of an interview to be published next week, Olmert said, "At this point I see no peace partner in Syria. I have no intention at all to be lured by public relations maneuvers undertaken by Bashar Assad." "What Assad is actually saying is that 'I will continue to support Palestinian terrorism, I will keep on backing terrorism against Americans in Iraq, and I will keep on arming Hizballah, but I will make a signal to Israel.'...That I don't like," Olmert said. He stressed that the Golan Heights "is an indivisible part of Israel" which he will not give up as long as he remains in power. (UPI)
  • Little Pressure on Hizballah to Disarm - Hamza Hendawi and Henry Meyer
    Six weeks after the end of the Lebanon war, Hizballah is facing little on-the-ground pressure to give up its weapons and disarm - despite a UN cease-fire resolution demanding just that. The leaders of a UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon say the job is not theirs. And Lebanon's ill-equipped army shows no signs of diving into a confrontation with battle-hardened Hizballah fighters. (AP/Washington Post)
  • German Chancellor Warns Against Bowing to Fear of Muslim Violence - Madeline Chambers
    Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans on Wednesday not to bow to fears of Islamic violence after a Berlin opera house canceled a Mozart work over concerns some scenes could enrage Muslims and pose a security risk. "I think the cancellation was a mistake. I think self-censorship does not help us against people who want to practice violence in the name of Islam," she said. "It makes no sense to retreat." (Reuters)
        See also Fear of Offending Islam Spurs Hot Debate in Europe - Mark Trevelyan and Mike Collett-White (Reuters)
  • NY Judge: Hamas Bomber's Victims Can Sue Bank
    U.S. District Judge Charles Sifton ruled on Wednesday that a lawsuit brought by victims of suicide bombings and their families in Israel seeking damages from Royal Bank of Scotland's NatWest, claiming the unit knowingly provided services to a charity linked to Hamas, can proceed. The suit said NatWest enabled the UK charity Interpal to raise funds on its website, knowing the U.S. government identified the charity as a fundraiser for Hamas, violating U.S. anti-terrorism laws. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Calls for Immediate UN Action to End Palestinian Rocket Fire - Aluf Benn
    Israel is calling on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to take immediate action to stop Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Israeli officials have decided to submit a formal complaint to the UN Security Council against the Palestinian Authority over the rocket fire of the past ten days. A political official in Jerusalem said, "Security Council Resolution 1701 ruled that the activities of Hizballah are not legitimate, and they are not any different from the Palestinians' Kassam rocket fire." (Ha'aretz)
  • EU Monitors to Close Egypt-Gaza Crossing Due to Continued Smuggling
    The European monitors stationed at the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt have informed the Palestinian presidency of their intention to close the crossing and not resume their work due to continued violations by Palestinians of the crossings agreements, a reliable Palestinian source declared. According to the source, the EU observers complained that Hamas Palestinian Legislative Council member Marwan Abu Ras "smuggled" $1 million into Gaza in the last 48 hours against the monitors' wishes. (Ma'an News Agency-PA)
  • IDF Uncovers Explosive Belt in West Bank - Efrat Weiss
    IDF forces succeeded in thwarting a terror attack within Israel on Wednesday after finding an explosive belt weighing 10 kilograms in Balata in Nablus. Defense Minister Peretz said Tuesday that over the past two weeks security forces have succeeded in preventing ten suicide attacks planned by terrorists in the West Bank. (Ynet News)
  • Peretz: We Have No Partner for Peace - Tovah Lazaroff
    Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who was one of the early leaders of the "peace camp," on Tuesday told the Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum: "It's not the case that Israel has rejected partners for peace. It's more correct to understand that every time Israel sought a partner over the past year, there wasn't one available." Peretz told the activists, "I feel like I am a man of peace no less than anyone else here." He spoke of his frustration upon taking office that all factions within the PA refused to take responsibility for the increase in the number of rockets that barraged his home city of Sderot. Each Palestinian group he turned to - Fatah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad - all stated it was not their responsibility. On Tuesday a rocket injured a female soldier in the city. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Gaza Militants Prepare for Showdown - Harry de Quetteville
    Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip are rearming and retraining for an imminent military showdown with the Israeli army, intelligence sources disclosed Wednesday. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari, a military intelligence officer, accused Iran of being behind the new weapons drive. He said Teheran had found willing partners in Palestinian fighters. "Iran is a Middle East superpower. For them it is very important to get rockets into Gaza to develop a threat that surrounds Israel from all sides," he said. "Meanwhile the war in Lebanon has renewed the will and added urgency to Palestinian efforts to upgrade their weapons systems."  (Telegraph-UK)
  • The Indomitable Illusion of a Peace Process - Michael Young
    For the foreseeable future, Israeli-Palestinian peace is a mirage sustained by diplomats enamored of process. Somehow, these professionals believe, the problem is one of finding the right dose of concessions, triggering the right mutually reinforcing perceptions of security, so that everything can smoothly fit into place. With each new failure, the calculations start anew, amid an enduring conviction that the lead of Israeli-Palestinian relations can yet be transformed into the gold of permanent amity. Yet on a daily basis it's being made plain that the minimal Palestinian conditions for an acceptable settlement are miles away from the minimal Israeli ones.
        Much will be made of the fact that Palestinians are preparing to establish a government of national unity, in which Hamas would accept a vague formulation suggesting the movement recognizes Israel. The new government should mean that the spigots of foreign aid are reopened for the Palestinians. It may even bring Hamas closer to accepting a state in the West Bank and Gaza, though just how close remains a big question. But one thing it will not do is make peace talks any easier, because the rubric "national unity" is likely to hand Hamas veto power over conditions that Fatah would be more amenable to accepting. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
  • Observations:

    Homemade Genocide in the Muslim World - Ben Dror Yemini (Maariv)

    • Dozens of publications and websites are dedicated to the purpose of portraying Israel as a state that ceaselessly perpetrates war crimes. The tragedy is that in Arab and Muslim countries a massacre is happening that has no connection to Israel, Zionism, or Jews. It is a genocide of mainly Arabs and Muslims, by Arabs and Muslims.
    • In Algeria between the years 1954-1962, the French (who do not stop preaching to Israel) killed nearly 600,000 Muslims. In addition, the civil war begun in the 1990s has claimed 100,000 victims so far.
    • In Sudan, a civil war during 1955-1972 claimed 500,000 victims. In recent years fighting there has claimed between 200,000 and 600,000 victims. In Afghanistan, the Soviet invasion, which began in 1979 and ended in 1989, left about a million dead. Since 1977 Somalia has been immersed in an unending civil war with the number of victims estimated at about 550,000.
    • When Bangladesh aspired to gain independence from Pakistan, Pakistan reacted with a military invasion during which one to two million people were systematically liquidated in 1971. In Indonesia, the biggest Muslim state in the world, as many as 400,000 were killed in 1965-1966 after a communist uprising. After East Timor announced its independence from Indonesia, Indonesia invaded and during 1975-1999 about 100,000 to 200,000 people were killed.
    • In the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988, between 450,000 and 650,000 Iraqis, and between 450,000 and 970,000 Iranians were killed. During Saddam Hussein's reign in Iraq, between 200,000 to 300,000 Kurds were killed in a genocide throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1991-1992, between 40,000 and 200,000 were killed in a Shiite uprising in Iraq. An estimated 100,000 people have been killed since the coalition forces took control in Iraq in 2003.
    • In the Lebanese civil war in 1975-1990, 130,000 were killed. In the civil war in Yemen in 1962-1970, 100,000 to 150,000 were killed. In Chechnya since 1994 there have been 80,000 to 300,000 fatalities. From Jordan to Zanzibar, there have been smaller confrontations that have cost the lives of tens of thousands of Muslims and Arabs, killed by Muslims and Arabs.
    • What would have happened to the Palestinians if they were under Iraqi occupation? Or Sudanese? Or even French or Soviet? The genocide that Israel is not committing hides the real genocide, the silenced genocide that Arabs and Muslims are committing mainly against themselves.

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