Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 19, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Britain Now No. 1 Al-Qaeda Target - Rosie Cowan and Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian-UK)
    Britain has become the main target for a resurgent al-Qaeda, which has successfully regrouped and now presents a greater threat than ever before, according to counter-terrorist officials.
    Intelligence experts fear that extremists are intent on carrying out a huge spectacular, on the scale of the U.S. atrocities in 2001.
    Britain is an easier target because of its traditional links with Pakistan, where core al-Qaeda figures are located. Tens of thousands from the UK visit Pakistan each year.

Is Ahmadinejad More Popular Outside Iran? - Dudi Cohen (Ynet News)
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad is not as popular as one might think.
    A poll conducted by the state-run Iranian broadcasting authority showed that 65% of Iranians are dissatisfied with their president.
    Ahmadinejad is not very popular among Iranian youth, says Prof. David Menashri, head of Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Hamas Gunman Killed in Nablus, Fatah Suspected (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
    Masked Palestinian gunmen killed Hamas militant Amar Taher, 42, in Nablus on Wednesday.
    Fighting between Hamas and Fatah has killed 19 people this month.

Fighting AIDS: Israel to Train Ethiopian Doctors - Shani Mizrahi (Ynet News)
    According to an emergency plan initiated by President George W. Bush, Israel is to train Ethiopian doctors, and eventually nurses as well, to treat AIDS patients in Ethiopia.
    The first of 11 Ethiopian doctors arrived in Israel this week. They will undergo training in the AIDS clinics at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, and the Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer.

Israel's Economy Grew 4.5% in 2006 (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israeli economy grew by 4.5% over the 2006 financial year, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Wednesday.

McAfee Buys Israeli Start-Up Onigma for $20M - Batya Feldman and Shmulik Shelah (Globes)
    McAfee Inc. has made its first acquisition in Israel, announcing the purchase of IT security start-up Onigma Ltd. for $20 million on Monday. Onigma produces solutions for preventing leaks from enterprises.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hizballah Hit Israel with Cluster Munitions During Lebanon War
    Hizballah fired cluster munitions into civilian areas in northern Israel during the recent conflict, Human Rights Watch reported Wednesday. Hizballah's deployment of the Chinese-made Type-81 122mm rocket is also the first confirmed use of this particular model of cluster munition anywhere in the world. Each of these rockets carries 39 Type-90 or MZD submunitions. Each submunition in turn shoots out hundreds of steel spheres, about 3.5mm in diameter, with deadly force. Israeli police officials documented 113 cluster rockets, containing 4,407 individual submunitions, that were fired at Israel during the conflict. Israeli authorities had until now prevented publication of details of Hizballah cluster strikes in Israel, citing security concerns. (Reuters)
        See also Hizballah's Rocket Campaign Against Northern Israel - Uzi Rubin
    See photos of damage in Israel from cluster munitions. (ICA/JCPA)
  • Europeans Back Gradual Steps Against Iran's Nuclear Program
    EU foreign ministers, spurred by North Korea's nuclear test, backed limited UN sanctions against Iran's nuclear program on Tuesday. The measures concentrate first on individuals and materials involved in Iranian uranium enrichment activities. After Iran rejected a UN demand that it suspend enrichment, "The Iranians' refusal leaves us no choice today but to take the Security Council route," said French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy. (Reuters/New York Times)
        See also Iran Issues Stark Warning Over Sanctions Moves - Stuart Williams
    Iran has warned the UN Security Council against imposing sanctions over its nuclear program, saying such a move would "radicalize" the situation and affect its cooperation with the UN atomic agency. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Palestinian Professor Charged with Aiding Hamas Begins Trial in Chicago - Mary Beth Sheridan
    Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a business professor, goes on trial in Chicago Thursday, accused of being a part of a sprawling U.S. network that helped the Palestinian group Hamas. Prosecutors say they have abundant evidence that Ashqar moved money for Hamas through his U.S. bank accounts and served as a go-between for some of the organization's leaders - even passing on a request to kill a rogue Hamas operative. In December 1993, FBI agents slipped into Ashqar's apartment and discovered "a treasure trove of Hamas-related documents," including minutes of confidential Hamas meetings; details of recent Hamas attacks on Israeli soldiers; and a fax from Mousa Abu Marzook asking Ashqar to transfer $40,000 to another Palestinian activist. (Washington Post)
  • Harper: Canada "Not Neutral" in War Between Israel and Terrorists - Mike Oliveira
    No amount of political pressure will force the Canadian government into taking a neutral stance regarding Israel's fight against terrorism, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised Wednesday. "When it comes to dealing with a war between Israel and a terrorist organization, this country and this government cannot and will never be neutral," Harper said. "Those who seek to destroy the Jews, who seek to destroy Israel, will...ultimately seek to destroy us all. It is why Canada's new government has reacted with speed and spoken with clarity on the recent events in the Middle East." (Toronto Star-Canada)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Urges U.S. Pressure on Cairo over Gaza Arms Smuggling - Yitzhak Benhorin
    Israeli Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter complained to U.S. National Security Advisor Steve Hadley at the White House on Wednesday about Egypt's carelessness in dealing with arms smuggling from Sinai into Gaza, and urged Washington to apply pressure on Cairo to do more to seal its border with Gaza. "The Egyptians can and have to do a lot more to prevent the smuggling of arms to the Gaza Strip," Dichter said. "The Americans don't know the scope of the smuggling and the Egyptians' capabilities. I believe that the Egyptians have considerable capabilities to make sure that the smuggling is prevented." At least eight tunnels used to smuggle arms were uncovered by the army over the last two days. (Ynet News)
  • Truck Driver Wounded in West Bank Shooting
    An Israeli bread-delivery truck driver was moderately wounded Thursday when a gunman at the side of the road shot at his truck between the West Bank settlements of Peduel and Alei Zahav. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire from Gaza Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets Wednesday night that landed near Netiv Ha'asarah in Israel's western Negev region. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • YouTube and the Cyber Jihad - Editorial
    Recently, columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin was informed by YouTube's operators that a video she had posted was deemed offensive and taken down. Titled "First, They Came," Malkin's video was a slideshow showing some victims of Islamist violence, much of it inspired by the Mohammed cartoon fiasco earlier this year. This is what YouTube operators called "inappropriate." YouTube, however, doesn't monitor the videos users post. Instead, it relies on complaints from users. Malkin discovered that hers isn't the first anti-Islamist video yanked from YouTube. At the same time, Islamists have posted hundreds of their own propaganda videos extolling the virtues of jihad, terrorism, etc. With the Internet, terrorists are able to attack us by cowing nervous website owners into submitting to their demands. Civil-liberties advocates have constantly overlooked the very real danger of censorship enacted by private businesses fearful of Islamist rage. (Washington Times)
  • What Is Perceived as Empowering in Mideast Weakens Israel's Image in West - Guy Bechor
    It is a paradox: What is perceived as empowering in the Middle East weakens Israel's image in the West, particularly in Europe; and what is perceived in the Middle East as weakness is perceived as empowering in world opinion. The strong are admired in the Middle East while the weak are abhorred, yet in the West weakness is considered an advantage.
        Demonstrating power in Gaza is perceived in the region as a powerful deterrent, but is widely criticized worldwide. The images of Lebanese casualties were perceived as powerful and deterrent acts in the Middle East, but sparked harsh criticism globally. The disengagement from Gaza weakened Israel's deterrent power but was embraced warmly by the rest of the world. This rule also applies to the Palestinians: as long as they were perceived as weak, world opinion was in their favor; as soon as Hamas was depicted as having its own army and power, world opinion forgot them. (Ynet News)
  • Observations:

    Changing Israeli Views of Russia's Role in Iran - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)

    • Israeli Prime Minister Olmert is currently on an official visit to Russia where he met with President Putin on Wednesday.
    • For nearly a decade, Israel viewed Russia as the main source from which Iran acquired nuclear technology, know-how, and materials for its nuclear program - through which it aspired to develop nuclear weapons. At the center of Israeli claims was the fact that Russia was constructing a reactor in Bushehr for the production of electricity.
    • But now it seems that Israel has altered its approach. The fact is that Russia undertook its own efforts in recent years to delay the Bushehr reactor's construction and the reactor is still not operational. Russia has found excuses allowing it not to transfer to Iran enriched uranium (low grade), which it has committed to provide as fuel for the Bushehr reactor.
    • It also turns out that the main source from which Iran acquired nuclear technology was not Russia but Pakistan. The father of the Pakistani bomb, Dr. A.K. Khan, and his smuggling ring, have been responsible for transferring to Iran the blueprints for constructing the centrifuges necessary for enriching uranium, and for developing the necessary dense material for nuclear weapons.
    • Not only has Israel concluded that Russia is not the problem, but Moscow is now considered an essential component in international efforts to formulate a consensus that efficient sanctions must be imposed on Tehran.
    • Above all, Olmert sought in his current visit to inform the Russians that if the sanctions do not help and deter Iran from achieving its aims, Israel will not be able to reconcile with a nuclear Iran led by a president who declares the need to wipe Israel off the map.

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