Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 3, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hizballah Received Intelligence from Russian-Syrian Listening Posts During War - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
    During the fighting in Lebanon, Hizballah received direct intelligence support from Syria, using data collected by listening posts jointly manned by Russian and Syrian crews.
    Hizballah was also fed intelligence from new listening posts built on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, which are operated jointly with Iran.

Israel Campus Beat
- October 1, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Should Israel Negotiate with Syria?

Egypt, Jordan Want Hamas Government Toppled - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
    PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas held talks with Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin in Jordan during a meeting of intelligence chiefs from moderate Arab states, the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Saturday.
    Representatives from Jordan and Egypt argued that the current Hamas government should be toppled.

U.S. Congress Okays $500M for Defense Projects with Israel - Shmuel Rosner (Ha'aretz)
    The U.S. Congress on Friday approved an additional $500 million for developing joint defense projects with Israel, including the development of a short-range missile interception system, navigation systems for missiles and combat aircraft, and aerial drones.

Merger with Al-Qaeda Deepens Threat from Algerian Radicals - Aron Lund (Christian Science Monitor)
    In a videotape released by al-Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2006, bin Laden's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri announced that "the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) has joined the al-Qaeda organization."
    A GSPC faction was involved in the desert kidnapping of 32 European tourists in 2003, and in 2005 the group overran a Mauritanian military base.
    GSPC activity has also been reported in Mali and Niger, and support cells have popped up in other Muslim countries and Europe.
    On Monday, Italian police reported they had broken up an Algerian cell that "financed and gave logistical support to Islamic terrorism responsible for massacres in Algeria," Reuters reported.

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  • Twelve Palestinians Killed in Fatah-Hamas Clashes, Fatah Gunmen Threaten to Kill Hamas Leaders - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    Fatah gunmen threatened on Tuesday to kill leaders of the governing Hamas group after twelve Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded in two days of fighting between Fatah and Hamas. (Reuters)
        See also Hamas Lost the War for Palestinian Public Opinion - Avi Issacharoff
    Palestinians saw scenes on television Sunday of Hamas gunmen attacking unarmed protesters. A few hours after the outbreak of fighting in Gaza, the prime minister's offices in Ramallah, as well as Hamas offices throughout the West Bank, were set ablaze; Hamas officials were shot at and beaten. Fatah's supremacy in the West Bank proved to be overwhelming. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Bloody Sunday May Bode War - Khaled Abu Toameh
    For most Palestinian newspapers and columnists, the bloody clashes that took place between supporters of Hamas and Fatah in Gaza on Sunday could herald a civil war that has been looming for months. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Will Push Banks to Cut All Ties to Iran - Eli Lake
    Bolstered by a new sanctions bill against Iran, Secretary of State Rice will press Arab foreign ministers Tuesday in Cairo to instruct banks in the region to cut ties to any entities contributing to Iran's nuclear program, support for terror, or pursuit of advanced conventional weapons. In the last 18 months, the Bush administration has quietly succeeded in pressing four large European banks, including London-based HSBC, to stop doing business with Iran. When the Treasury Department announced earlier this month that Iran's Bank Saderat would be barred from American financial markets, three large Japanese banks also cut ties with the bank.
        The Iran Freedom and Support Act, which the Senate passed Saturday and President Bush is expected to sign this week, threatens to bar from American financial markets all banks and companies that are found to be contributing to the Iranian nuclear project or its development of advanced weapons. (New York Sun)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Completes Withdrawal from Southern Lebanon - Eli Ashkenazi
    Israel withdrew the last of its troops from Lebanon early Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces said. David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office, said, "Israel has totally fulfilled its obligations. The Lebanese government must keep the agreement, especially the facilitating of the immediate release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers." (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Rocket Hits House in Sderot; Two Injured - Tova Dadon
    Palestinian gunmen fired a Kassam rocket from the northern Gaza Strip toward Israel Saturday evening, hitting a house in Sderot and wounding two people. (Ynet News)
  • Egyptian Policemen Caught Smuggling Weapons into Gaza
    Four Egyptian policemen and five Palestinians have been arrested for trying to smuggle ammunition and hand grenades into Gaza, Egyptian security officials said Saturday. The ammunition was stolen from Egyptian stockpiles, while the grenades were provided by local Bedouin. (AP/Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Ahmadinejad Superstar - Fiamma Nirenstein
    When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited New York, every word that this genocidal anti-American, anti-Western, and most of all anti-Semitic arch terrorist uttered was not only published in print, but was plastered all over the TV networks. CNN and Time Magazine outdid themselves by giving this well-known Holocaust denier a cover story glorifying him and turning him into a star of Hollywood proportions. The media went further than its usual apology for terrorists, giving the maniac from Teheran an even larger platform to express a new gem: that there are no Jews in the State of Israel - only Zionists.
        There is nothing strange about the press presenting different points of view, however abhorrent. What is inexcusable in this case is the moral relativism with which the issue was treated, as though blatant anti-Semitism on the part of a world leader is no different from a movie actress talking about her midlife crisis. The media, in its desperate search for new stars, becomes a very dangerous equalizer in times of the war on Islamic terrorism.
        Another example is the way Hamas is treated journalistically. Reportage using the term "National Unity Government" to describe a potential merger between Abu Mazen's Fatah party and the party that advocates in its charter the killing of every last Jew is a serious abuse of communications. The phrase "National Unity Government" is supposed to refer to the joining of political parties within a democracy. The confusing of language and images does enormous political and moral damage to freedom and democracy, precisely in a time when we are supposed to be defending these values with all our might. (JCPA-Hebrew, 1Oct06)
  • The Forgotten Christians in the Middle East - Amnon Rubinstein
    The pope's dictum about Islam and the inevitable follow up - demonstrations, church burnings, assassinations, and the expected apology - are part of a wider scene: the precarious position of Christian communities in the Middle East as a result of a radicalized Islam. Arab Christian communities identify with Arab nationalism - indeed, Christian Arabs were the founding fathers of this movement. But the new mood of politicized Islam has made life harder for members of these ancient communities. The result has been a massive emigration of Christians from the Middle East to the West and a dwindling of their numbers in the region.
        Ivan Rioufol, in a column in the French daily Le Figaro of May 26, 2006, breaks with the traditional French approach of blaming every ill on the Israeli-Arab conflict, highlighting the plight of Christian communities in the Muslim world. La Croix, the French Catholic daily, has reported on Nablus Christians saying, "We are foreigners...and we are not sure the new Hamas leadership as a vector of Islamic radicalism will continue to need a Christian presence to soften up the West." Not only Israel is endangered by the new Islamic radicalization. The writer is president of the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. (New York Sun)
  • Observations:

    Arabs Still Openly Call Jews "Their Dogs," Even in San Francisco - Joseph Abdel Wahed (Chronwatch)

    • I was at the anti-Israel demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate in San Francisco on July 12. The demonstration, organized by a Palestinian group called Al Awda, was loud, boisterous, and passionate. Suddenly and shockingly, demonstrators began chanting in Arabic: "Al Yahud Kelabna," or "the Jews are our dogs."
    • My first reaction to the Palestinian chanting was one of disbelief. Then I felt a mixture of fear, anger, and heavy-heartedness. Terrible memories cascaded before me taking me back to when I was a young boy, growing up in Egypt. These memories included Egyptian mobs descending upon the Jewish quarter of Cairo chanting "Al Yahud Kelabna," followed by violence that left some Jews dead and injured, and the community dazed.
    • Egyptian Muslim mobs no longer do this because there is no longer an Egyptian Jewish community to speak of. We once were over 80,000. Today there are fewer than 50 Jews remaining in Egypt.
    • Indeed, once thriving Jewish communities in ten Arab countries were likewise cleansed. Within a 20-year period starting in 1945, nearly one million Jews were forced out of Arab countries. Our schools, homes, synagogues, businesses, farms, hospitals, were all confiscated by Arab governments. Today, virtually no Jews remain in the Arab or Muslim world.
    • Also heard at the anti-Israel demonstration were chants such as "Black, red, brown, white! We support Hizballah's fight! Black, red, green, blue! We support Hamas too!"

      The author, born in Cairo, is the retired chief economist for Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco.

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