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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 20, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian PM Unhurt After Attack on Convoy - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters)
    Unidentified gunmen opened fire on security vehicles escorting Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh through Gaza on Friday, but the Hamas leader was unhurt.
    Officials said gunfire hit vehicles of a Hamas-led police force that was behind cars carrying Haniyeh, who had just finished a speech at a mosque. One of the vehicles was torched.

Israel Found 39 Russian-Made Missiles in Hizballah Hideouts (Mosnews-Russia)
    Military sources said the Israeli Army has collected 39 Russian-origin anti-tank missiles from Hizballah outposts in southern Lebanon. They included the AT-14 Kornet and the AT-13 Metis.
    "Some of the missiles were still in their original packaging, which identified them as having been manufactured in Russia," a military source said.
    Photographs of the missiles were delivered to Russia in September as evidence that weapons exported by Moscow ended up with Hizballah. The Kornets were exported to Syria in 2002.
    "The [Israel] army also found bills of lading and serial numbers with the missiles," the source said. "It is probable that some of these missiles were ordered by Iran for Hizballah via Syria."
    Hizballah's acquisition of Russian-origin missiles was discussed during Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's visit this week to Moscow.

Israel HighWay
- October 19, 2006

Issue of the Week:
    Israel's Friends in the Christian and Moslem Worlds

Islamic TV Channel in U.S. Broadcasts Wahhabi Sermons from Mecca - Steven Stalinsky (MEMRI/New York Sun)
    Bridges TV, an American-Islamic TV channel "seeking to improve the image of Muslims in the United States" and to "offer a unique perspective on the Middle East and the war on terrorism," has extended its availability into six states, creating a potential audience of nearly 2 million.
    A religious figure who appeared on the channel on Oct. 3 said Muslims have a duty to change America and to increase their numbers to 50% of the population from 2%. He recommended that Islamic law be implemented in American courts.
    On Oct. 5, a discussant offered a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict: "For the Jews to leave and return to Europe."
    Throughout the day, Bridges TV airs segments of Koranic verses, quite a few of which denounce "unbelievers." One notable verse that aired Oct. 9 praised martyrdom.
    Since the Islamic holy month of Ramadan began, the channel has been showing official, Saudi government-controlled Wahhabi sermons from Mecca, with English subtitles.

UN: UNIFIL Won't Shoot at Israeli Planes - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
    UNIFIL forces have no intention of firing at Israeli planes patrolling Beirut's skies, UN spokesperson Stefan Dujarric said Thursday.
    Furthermore, the UN has no plans to change the rules of engagement to permit the targeting of Israel Air Force planes.

Turkish Peacekeepers Leave for Lebanon (Turkish Press)
    Turkey is the first Muslim country to contribute troops to UNIFIL in Lebanon. A Turkish contingent of 237 soldiers and 24 civilians will construct roads and bridges, while a Turkish frigate and two corvettes will patrol the Lebanese coast to prevent arms being smuggled to Hizballah.
    The Turkish government has said it will contribute a total of 681 troops to UNIFIL, including those on board the ships.
    See also 7,200 UNIFIL Soldiers Now in Place, Says UN Force Chief (UN News Center)
    Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini said the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has 7,200 soldiers on the ground and may not need to have more than 10,000 soldiers, although the force is authorized to have 15,000.
    Pellegrini said UNIFIL had no evidence of any weapons smuggling from Syria and had also not found any illegal weapons inside UNIFIL's area of operations.

Pro-Israeli Editor Beaten in Bangladesh - Michael Freund (Jerusalem Post)
    A Muslim journalist facing charges of sedition for advocating ties with Israel was recently attacked and beaten in Bangladesh.
    Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of the English-language Weekly Blitz published in Dhaka, was working in his office on Oct. 5 when 40 people stormed the premises, beat Choudhury, and looted cash.
    The attackers were led by Helal Khan, international affairs secretary of Jasas, the cultural wing of the ruling Bangladeshi National Party, and included Babul Ahmed, Jasas' secretary-general.
    During the assault, Ahmed shouted at Choudhury, labeling him an "agent of the Jews."

Jew-Hatred in Contemporary Norwegian Caricatures - Erez Uriely (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Norwegian anti-Semitism does not come from the grassroots but from the leadership; it does not come from Muslims but from European Christian society.
    Norway is one of the few countries in the world where Jewish ritual slaughter (shechita) of animals is forbidden. The ban was introduced three years before the Nazis took power in Germany and continues till today, whereas Muslim ceremonial slaughter (hallal) is permitted.
    Over the past thirty years, Norwegian media caricatures have sustained a high level of demonization of Jews and the State of Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Ahmadinejad: Israel "Cannot Continue Its Existence"
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad on Thursday continued his harsh rhetoric against Israel and termed the Jewish state "the greatest insult to human dignity," ISNA news agency reported. "We have said several times that this regime cannot continue its existence," he said. "No Middle East country would ever, not even in a hundred years, acknowledge this regime." (DPA)
        See also Thousands March in Tehran Anti-Israel Protest
    Thousands of Iranians chanting "Death to Israel" marched through central Tehran Friday to mark an annual day calling for Jerusalem to be handed to the Palestinians. "My wish and my hope is that Palestine will triumph and Israel will be destroyed," said civil servant Salman Abbas-Nejad, 51, who brought an effigy of an Israeli soldier to burn.
        An initiative started by Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini, Quds Day annually draws thousands of Iranians to the streets to denounce Israel, which Iran does not recognize. Similar demonstrations are being organized in Beirut by the Iranian-backed Hizballah movement, and in Gaza under the auspices of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. (AFP/Middle East Times-Egypt)
        See also Iran Says Europe May Be Hurt by Backing Israel - Alireza Ronaghi
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad warned Europe on Friday it was stirring up hatred in the Middle East by supporting Israel. "You should believe that this regime (Israel) cannot last and has no more benefit to you," he said in a speech broadcast on state radio. "We have advised the Europeans that...if a storm begins, the dimensions will not stay limited to Palestine, and you may get hurt." (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Israel Hunts for Tunnels in Major Gaza Raid - Mehdi Lebouachera
    Israeli soldiers were plowing up the ground and destroying tunnels used to smuggle arms from Egypt in their deepest incursion into the Gaza Strip in more than a year. Hundreds of troops were Thursday operating up to four km. inside Gaza on the outskirts of the southern border town of Rafah. A senior Israel Defense Ministry official said the operation was to stop "terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad from arming themselves with a view to taking control of the Gaza Strip and launching attacks on Israel."
        Local Palestinian Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, 40, openly admitted that tunnels were part of everyday life in southern Gaza. "It's something normal. People aren't working so they dig tunnels to smuggle all sorts of things from Egypt," he said. (AFP/Yahoo)
        See also Israel Warns Gaza Weapons Smuggling, Rocket Attacks Will Lead to "Invasion"
    "Israel is not going to count its fatalities," Israel's Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter told reporters in Washington. "Those areas in the Gaza Strip that, from there they are launching Kassam rockets, will be under Israeli attacks, and if it's needed, invasion....The depth of our invasion is going to be decided by the distance of the Kassam rockets....We've done it in the West Bank. We've done it several times in the Gaza Strip. We don't have to conquer the whole Gaza Strip." Dichter confirmed that Israeli Defense Forces are mobilizing for a possible expanded ground operation in Gaza, adding that it won't be long before the Israeli government decides whether to fully invade Gaza to stop what he called "daily" rocket attacks emanating from the area. (Fox News)
  • Annan Presses Lebanon on Disarming Hizballah - Irwin Arieff
    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Lebanese authorities on Thursday to quickly agree on a plan for disarming Hizballah. Hizballah's transformation into a purely political party "is a key element in ensuring a permanent end of hostilities and in the full restoration of Lebanon's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence," Annan said in a report to the UN Security Council. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • French TV Station Wins Palestinian Boy Libel Case - James Mackenzie
    Broadcaster France 2 won a libel case on Thursday over accusations it faked a report into the killing of a Palestinian boy whose death in 2000 became a symbol of the uprising known as the second intifada. The Court of First Instance in Paris ordered Philippe Karsenty, director of Media Ratings, a website that comments on the media, to pay France 2 and its Israel correspondent Charles Enderlin symbolic damages of one euro ($1.25) each.
        Two senior French journalists given access to the raw footage as part of an investigation into the affair later said that the film did not show that Israeli troops had killed the boy or even that he had died at all. But they also said there was no evidence to suggest deliberate staging or manipulation. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Gaza Terror Groups May Be Planning to Attack Israeli Kibbutzim - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    There are growing concerns in the Israel Defense Forces that Hamas and other militant organizations may be planning to attack one of the kibbutzim close to the border with Gaza using a tunnel, military sources said Thursday. Intelligence and IDF sources say the Hamas leadership is troubled by the absence of an effective response to the continued Israeli raids in Gaza that have killed dozens of armed militants during the past three months. According to Southern Command, at least ten tunnels have been dug close to the fence separating Gaza from Israel, for the purpose of being used in a raid.
        The extent of the smuggling of arms and explosives from Egypt into Gaza is worse than originally estimated, IDF sources said Thursday. Dozens of tunnels have been used for uninterrupted smuggling for the past year. In an August 2005 agreement, Egypt guaranteed that it had "practical and real capabilities of ensuring that the smuggling does not take place." (Ha'aretz)
  • The Next War in Gaza - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    It looks now as if Israel is about to embark on a war in the Gaza Strip. According to a situation analysis by the commander of the Gaza Division, Brig.-Gen. Moshe Tamir, and the head of Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, Hamas is planning to establish a new deterrent balance in Gaza, to stockpile large quantities of rockets that will enable it to initiate serious bombardment like Hizballah's attacks on the Galilee, to establish a defense network in every community, and to equip its people with anti-aircraft missiles smuggled in from Egypt.
        The army will approach the conflict in Gaza after learning two lessons from the war in Lebanon: the understanding that prolonged restraint is liable to end with a significant operational "success" on the other side (a kidnapping, or the penetration of an Israeli border community), and the desire to erase the memory of the failures in the north.
        Hamas' preparations for a military confrontation are not being aimed only at Israel, but also at the possibility of an escalation in the fighting against Fatah. The Hamas political leadership in Gaza is continuing to remove the Fatah security services from positions of power. The operational force established by Hamas has become the strongest and best-trained mechanism now operating in the area. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Rocket Targets Sensitive Facility Near Ashkelon
    Palestinians in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at Israel on Friday morning. One rocket landed near sensitive industrial facilities south of Ashkelon, causing damage. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jordan: Eight Convicted in Plot to Kill Americans, Israelis
    A Jordanian military court convicted eight terror suspects Wednesday of plotting to kill U.S. troops in Iraq and Americans and Israelis in Jordan. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
        See also Jordan's King Pardons Hamas Smugglers
    Nine men suspected of smuggling Hamas weapons into Jordan were released from jail Thursday on orders from King Abdullah II, the official Petra news agency reported. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran Is No Existential Threat to Israel, Says Ex-Mossad Chief - Melissa Singer
    A former Mossad chief who is visiting Australia said Tehran lacks the military and strategic capability to destroy the Jewish state. "Israel is indestructible today. It's not so simple just to think you can have a device in your hand and you will be able to hurl it onto a certain location and wipe out a nation," Efraim Halevy said Monday. "Israel has known of this threat [from Iran] for more than a decade and a half and has watched this threat grow - you must assume that Israel was not sitting on its hands...or [waiting] for someone else to do the job."
        He said Iran's 27-year investment in Lebanon, which was designed to create "a firm Iranian base on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean," was severely decimated in Israel's war with Hizballah. "Iran has suffered a very serious setback in Lebanon. It is not clear yet to anybody how, if at all, they will be able to make a comeback there." But Halevy said Iran remains the "most serious threat Israel has ever faced." (Australian Jewish News)
  • Lebanon and Arab Opinion: An Exchange - Jordanian Prince Hassan bin Talal and Joshua Muravchik
    Prince Hassan: The Arab street is not filled with anger and hatred but with disillusionment and despair. Continued injustices committed by governments, armies, and militias can only push people closer to extremist groups. As I have long maintained, the key to disempowering the extremists and to building a framework for peaceful coexistence is respect for international law and humanitarian norms.
        Joshua Muravchik: The Muslim states hold that no act, no matter how barbaric, constitutes "terrorism" if it is undertaken in the name of "resistance" to occupation. Thus, they have vetoed a universal agreement against terrorism unless all acts against Israelis are exempted, by "definition." (Commentary Magazine)
  • "Dramatic Change of Direction" Coming for Iraq - Sharon Behn
    The escalating violence raking Baghdad and other Iraqi cities is pushing that nation's leaders, neighboring Arab countries, and U.S. advisers to consider a dramatic change of direction in the conduct of the war. Leaks from a U.S. task force headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III are contributing to the widespread sense that the Bush administration is preparing for a "course correction" in the coming months. The options cited most frequently in Washington include the partition of Iraq into three ethnic- or faith-based regions and a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops. (Washington Times)
  • Unveiling the Truth - Daniel Johnson
    At long last, there are signs that the people of Britain are refusing to capitulate to the Islamicization of large enclaves of our cities. The backlash began when Labour party floorleader and former foreign secretary Jack Straw spoke out against the practice of Muslim women covering themselves from head to toe, revealing only the eyes. His argument was that such veiling made integration and even communication difficult or impossible. Straw received overwhelming support from the public. Muslims who wear the veil - or, generally, even the headscarf - are signaling that they are Islamists and that they wish to replace secular with Sharia law. This poses a direct threat to others, backed by the implicit threat of terrorism. Islamists are demanding toleration for their own intolerance, which a liberal society only grants at its peril. (New York Sun)
  • Asking for Extremism - Emanuele Ottolenghi
    In the Belgian elections on October 8, the right-wing Flemish Vlams Belang party won 20% of the overall national vote, reaching almost 33% in Antwerp and even more in smaller communes. These electoral returns reflect a larger European phenomenon: After decades at the margins of political life, extreme right-wing parties are making strong gains across the continent, a reflection of growing anxiety among the public for the future of Europe in light of the growth of Muslim communities on the continent.
        For many Europeans, the multiplying list of outrages where an intolerant, aggressive, violent, and retrograde Islam openly challenges liberal values such as freedom of speech and gender equality is a sign that a strong response is in high order. If they vote for the extremists, it is not necessarily because they have become extreme, but because the parties at the political center are paralyzed by political correctness, fear of antagonizing a growing Muslim electorate, or simply too naive to understand what is at stake. (National Review)
  • The Israeli Model for Detainee Rights - Gabriella Blum and Martha Minow
    Israeli law provides for a first hearing of the detainee before a high-ranking officer immediately upon his detention; a detainee has a right to legal representation; a first judicial review of the detention warrant has to take place in a district court no longer than 14 days after the first arrest, and every six months thereafter; and the detainee can appeal his detention before a Supreme Court judge. In Israel, the detainee also has a right to meet with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The law in Israel is protective of individual rights - without security risks. Blum is a visiting assistant professor at Harvard Law School and a former legal adviser for the Israel Defense Forces. Minow is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. (Boston Globe)
        See also Fair Detention - Marty Peretz (New Republic)

    Weekend Features

  • Temple Mount Dirt Uncovers First Temple Artifacts - Nadav Shragai
    The project of sifting layers of dirt from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, removed in 1999 by the Islamic Religious Trust (Waqf) from the Solomon's Stables area, has yielded artifacts dating back to the First Temple period. Most of the finds predate the Middle Ages. They include 10,000-year-old flint tools; numerous potsherds; 1,000 ancient coins; lots of jewelry (pendants, rings, bracelets, earrings, and beads in a variety of colors and materials); clothing accessories and decorative pieces; talismans; dice and game pieces made of bone and ivory; ivory and mother of pearl inlay for furniture; figurines and statuettes; stone and metal weights; arrowheads and rifle bullets; stone and glass shards; remains of stone mosaic and glass wall mosaics; decorated tiles and parts of structures; stamps, seals and a host of other items.
        One striking find is a First Temple period seal impression containing ancient Hebrew writing, which may have belonged to a well-known family of priests mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah. Another is a broken stone from a decorated part of the Temple Mount - still bearing signs of fire, which archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkai says are from the Temple's destruction in 70 CE. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hizballah Rhythms Shoot to Commercial Success - Charles Onians and Rana Moussaoui
    Hizballah's followers have produced revolutionary anthems since its official creation in 1985, but its latest war with Israel has brought unprecedented sales and thrust its previously unknown performers onto the international circuit. Described by its performers as Hizballah's other weapon, the stirring marshal rhythms feature baritone male voices chanting about resistance, Hizballah, and Islam against a background of drum rolls, synthesizer crescendos, and the occasional bagpipe solo. One CD - Kept Promise - is named after Hizballah's July 12 cross-border capture of two Israeli troops that sparked the 34-day war, with song titles such as "Lebanon will survive," "America is a bloodsucker," and "Music of the Martyr."
        Describing their music as chanting rather than singing, spokesman Ali Kazan of the Al-Wilaya Hizballah troupe says, "These chants are a means of spiritual motivation for the fighters." "We don't want people to think about dancing, so if it looks like they might, we'll slow the music down."
        Pop stars are releasing their own patriotic songs, such as the latest offering by Julia Boutros - a Christian - with a video of her walking through the ruins of southern Lebanon as Hizballah fighters emerge triumphantly from the woods. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • "O Jerusalem" Film Opens in France
    Based on the book by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, directed by Elie Chouraqui. To view trailer (in English), click on "voir la Bande Annonce" on bottom right of screen. (
  • Observations:

    "Peace Process" Debacle - Editorial (Washington Times)

    • The Bush administration's policy toward Israel and the Palestinians increasingly seems like a reprise of the Oslo "peace process" pushed by the Clinton administration, which ended in disaster six years ago when Arafat rejected a two-state compromise solution and went to war with the Jewish state.
    • Time and again from 1996 to 2000, the Clinton administration pressed Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Barak to be more forthcoming with concessions to Arafat - a man who proved unwilling to make peace. Secretary of State Rice now seems bent on propping up a new generation of failed Palestinian leadership - specifically Mahmoud Abbas.
    • Since the mid-1990s, the Europeans provided massive financial and political support for Arafat. The U.S. tried to train a Palestinian police force, only to see many of the police utilize the training to join terrorist militias targeting Israel.
    • After Arafat died, the international Quartet sought to bolster subsequent Fatah regimes, without achieving any results. After Israel withdrew from Gaza last summer, arrangements negotiated with Egypt and the Europeans to police the border collapsed, including the Nov. 15, 2005, deal Rice pressed Prime Minister Sharon into accepting.
    • It is a disservice to the Palestinians to continue to pretend that failed, bankrupt leaders like Abbas are part of the solution to their plight. In reality, they are part of the problem.

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