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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 3, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Shuts Web Site that Contained Nuclear Details - Dafna Linzer (Washington Post)
    The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Thursday that it shut down a public website after complaints from UN weapons inspectors that the site included sensitive details about constructing nuclear and chemical weapons.
    The documents were collected in Iraq after the March 2003 invasion but predate the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Israel HighWay
- November 2, 2006

Issue of the Week:
    Gaza's Descent into Chaos

Air Plot Said to Target U.S. Cities - Dan Eggen (Washington Post)
    A group of terrorists arrested in London in August planned to blow up airliners over U.S. cities to maximize casualties, rather than over the Atlantic Ocean as many intelligence officials originally thought, according to Mark Mershon, head of the FBI's New York office.

IDF Operation in Nablus Prevents "Mega-Attack"  (Jerusalem Post)
    IDF soldiers killed an Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade operative and wounded another in an operation in Nablus early Friday.
    The men, one of whom was identified as the Al-Aksa leader in Nablus, had been preparing a car bomb, and the operation had prevented a potential "mega-attack," the army said.

Jordan Charges Three in Hamas Terror Conspiracy (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    Jordan's military prosecutor charged three Hamas operatives of a terror conspiracy involving attacks against Jordanian intelligence officers, Israeli visitors, and unspecified sites in the kingdom, according to the indictment obtained Thursday.
    Jordanian authorities arrested 20 alleged Hamas operatives in April on suspicions they were monitoring Jordanian intelligence officers and foreign tourists for possible attacks.
    The three Jordanian men of Palestinian origin appeared on Jordan TV in May and confessed to conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks and to acquiring weapons and ammunition for Hamas.
    Jordanian television showed footage of weapons, including dozens of hand grenades and Iranian-made Katyusha rockets, that it said were seized during raids since April.
    The militants monitored and photographed the Israeli embassy, the residence of the ambassador and other staff, and offices of Jordanian businesses that deal with Israeli companies.

Report: Assad Targets Saudi Arabia - (IMRA/American Foreign Policy Council/Kuwait Al Seyassah)
    According to a new expose in a leading Gulf paper, Bashar al-Assad in Damascus is gearing up to unleash a wave of attacks against leading Saudi figures.
    Syria's intelligence service, the report says, is recruiting Saudi, Algerian, and Moroccan extremists who live in Syria and Jordan to target key Saudis including Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington and current head of the Saudi National Security Council.
    Observers say officials in Damascus blame recent acts of violence in Syria on Saudi and Saudi-influenced extremists.

Venture Capital Funding Continues in Israel Despite War - Michale Kanellos (CNet News)
    In the third quarter, 87 Israeli high-tech companies raised $381 million from venture investors, 13% above the $336 million raised in the third quarter of 2005, according to the Israel Venture Capital Association.
    In the first nine months of the year, Israeli companies have raised $1.15 billion, up 7% from the $1.07 billion raised in the same period last year.
    Israel and, to some degree, Singapore are carving out a niche in the global tech market through novel intellectual property.

Israel's Smart Solutions for Global Warming (Business Week)
    From shale oil to solar power, Israeli companies are becoming world leaders in alternative energy.
    Ormat Industries has become a global leader in geothermal energy and booked revenues of $257 million in 2005.
    At gas-fired electricity plants in North and South Dakota, Ormat has installed systems that recover heat normally "wasted" in production and convert it into additional electricity. Similar projects are under construction in Washington state and Canada.
    In September, Ormat announced its aim to commercialize a new 100% plant-based biodiesel fuel and will invest $60 million over the next three years in the project.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel: German Navy Will Not Stop Arms Shipments to Hizballah - Pierre Heumann
    Israel considers the German navy's peacekeeping mission off the coast of Lebanon to be futile. The Israeli military is unhappy with the principles of the UNIFIL mission - it says they allow arms shipments to Hizballah to continue. The truce in Lebanon is being only formally observed by Beirut, says Eitan Ben-Eliahu, former commander of the Israeli air force, and the Lebanese are allowing Hizballah to rearm. Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN special envoy to Lebanon, joins him in that assessment.
        "When a ship carrying weapons for Hizballah leaves a Syrian port and heads south, its captain feels safe as long as he doesn't stray more than 11 kilometers from the coast," says Gad Shimron, an Israeli security expert at the daily Ma'ariv. Dozens of ships and boats travel along the Lebanese coast every day, without the UN troops being informed about their cargo. The Syrian captain can head comfortably for Hizballah positions in Lebanon as if he were shipping a cargo of tomatoes or olives, and the German navy isn't allowed to interfere with his journey.
        Originally, the Germans thought they would have freedom of movement as well as the right to board suspicious ships. But those rights were limited in the final draft of the mandate. The Germans must request the Lebanese to interfere with suspicious vessels, and they must register with Lebanese authorities if they plan to travel within six kilometers of the coast. (Der Spiegel-Germany)
        See also All (Too) Quiet on the Southern Front - Ulrike Putz
    No patrols are carried out at night, for safety reasons, admits Ricardo Ortax, press officer of the elite Spanish unit. UNIFIL does not know what the local militias are doing under the cover of darkness. One Spanish junior officer said, "We landed here and set up our tent city, but since then we've only left the camp to drive around and to make sure that we're seen." (Der Spiegel-Germany)
  • Hizballah Asking a Price for Proof of Life of Kidnapped Israeli Soldiers
    Hizballah is asking "a price" for information about whether two Israeli soldiers it kidnapped are still alive, Britain's UN ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry, said Thursday. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Iran's Khatami Calls U.S. Policy "A Joke," Says Democracy Cannot Be Exported
    The former president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, branded U.S. attempts to impose Western-style democracy in the Middle East as "a great joke." Speaking at Chatham House, a foreign policy think-tank in London, Khatami said, "It's a great joke - the greatest joke that Mr. Bush said, that he would like to export democracy to the Middle East. Democracy is not something to get exported." Khatami was forced to enter Chatham House through a side entrance to avoid several hundred demonstrators protesting against Iran's human rights record during his time in office. (BBC News)
        See also UK Jewish Community Joins Iranian Protest of Khatami's Visit - Jonny Paul (Jerusalem Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S. Demands Israel Cease Overflights of Lebanon - Aluf Benn
    U.S. diplomats David Welch and Elliott Abrams met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Thursday and demanded that Israel Air Force overflights of Lebanon be halted, saying they undermine the standing of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. (Ha'aretz)
        See also IDF: Lebanon Overflights Aim to Secure Release of Captured Soldiers
    An internal Israel Defense Forces document says the continued air force flights over Lebanon are intended in part to pressure the international community to prevent arms smuggling to Hizballah and secure the release of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, a senior Defense Ministry official said Thursday. IAF jets flew at a low altitude over Beirut, its suburbs, and large areas of south Lebanon on Tuesday. (AP/Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. Hopes to Strengthen Abbas - Aluf Benn
    U.S. emissaries David Welch and Elliott Abrams arrived with an ambitious plan formulated by Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, who is coordinating security vis-a-vis the Palestinians for the U.S. administration. The U.S. wants to push Abbas into a military confrontation in Gaza which will topple the Hamas government. Dayton drew up an outline for training and equipping the forces loyal to Abbas with rifles from Jordan and Egypt, and British and Egyptian instructors. There has been less enthusiasm in Israel, but it is hard to refuse the Americans; and the solution was to affirm the Dayton plan in principle, without committing to its details. (Ha'aretz)
  • Women Free Gunmen Trapped by IDF in Gaza Mosque - Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
    A 19-hour standoff between Israel Defense Forces troops and dozens of Palestinian gunmen holed up inside a mosque in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun ended Friday after all the gunmen fled. The militants escaped under cover of a protest by Palestinian women outside, the IDF said. A Hamas radio station broadcast a call to the women to come to the mosque to serve as human shields for the gunmen holed up there. (Ha'aretz)
        Military sources say there were large amounts of arms inside the mosque, and that among the gunmen were several senior wanted Palestinians who headed the rocket infrastructure in northern Gaza. Beit Hanoun is considered a central axis of the Kassam rocket infrastructure in Gaza. The army said more than one-third of the 800 rockets fired at Israel in recent months were launched from Beit Hanoun. (Ynet News)
        See also IDF Continues Anti-Terror Operation in Northern Gaza
    IDF forces have continued operating in the Beit Hanoun area in the northern Gaza Strip against terror infrastructure and rocket launching infrastructure. More than 15 armed gunmen have been killed since the operation began on Wednesday, and over 70 others have been hit.
        The IDF operation targets terrorist organizations and infrastructure only, while making every effort to avoid harming civilians. The IDF will implement all means at its disposal to prevent and disrupt the launching of rockets at Israel and to damage the terror infrastructure in the Beit Hanoun area. (IDF Spokesperson)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired seven rockets at Israel Thursday evening. On Wednesday, a rocket hit a factory, causing a large fire. (Ynet News)
        A rocket launched Thursday hit a house in Sderot, setting fire to the place. One person was injured by shrapnel and two others suffered from shock. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israel Cannot Stand on the Sidelines - David A. Harris
    Just over a year ago, Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza. To be sure, a negotiated withdrawal would have been preferable to a unilateral decision, but absent a credible Palestinian partner, Israel chose to act alone rather than to wait. As a result, the Palestinian residents of Gaza were given self-rule for the first time in their history over the entire Strip. Thus, in the fall of 2005, Gazans had a unique opportunity to begin charting their own future. Instead of choosing the path of social and economic development, benefiting from generous international aid, they chose an arms buildup aimed at creating a launching pad for new waves of terror and violence against neighboring Israel, now separated by an internationally recognized border.
        Every day, under the Hamas leadership, rockets are fired from Gaza into southern Israel, a situation that no sovereign country would accept. Hamas seeks the destruction of Israel. It is the terror group's primary reason for existence. As Dr. Mahmud al-Zahar, a Hamas leader in Gaza, stated last year, "Neither the liberation of the Gaza Strip nor the liberation of the West Bank or even Jerusalem will suffice us. Hamas will pursue the armed struggle until the liberation of all our lands. We don't recognize the State of Israel or its right to hold onto one inch of Palestine." The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee. (International Herald Tribune)
  • Why Israel Will Go to War Again - Soon - John Keegan
    Hizballah has now reconstructed the fortified zone in south Lebanon from which it launched its missile bombardment of northern Israel and is replenishing its stocks of missiles there. Hamas is also creating a fortified zone in the Gaza Strip and building up its stocks of missiles. Israel is facing missile attacks on two fronts, a situation it cannot tolerate.
        What happened in south Lebanon earlier this year was certainly an Israeli setback, but the idea that the IDF had suddenly lost its historic superiority over its Arab enemies and that they had acquired military qualities that had hitherto eluded them was quite false. Hizballah suffered heavy losses in the fighting, perhaps as many as 1,000 killed out of its strength of up to 5,000, and it is only just now recovering. (Telegraph-UK)
  • The "Iranization" of Syria - Amir Taheri
    Little attention is paid to an Iranian plan to remodel Syria into a Khomeinist state, but there are signs that Iran is determined to export its ideology to Syria. Teheran believes that only an Islamicized Syria would be a dependable ally in driving the U.S. out of the Middle East, wiping Israel off the map, and creating a new Islamic "superpower" with Iran as its "core component."
        The murder of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri in 2005 destroyed bridges between Damascus and moderate Arab capitals. Today, hardly a single Arab regime is prepared to maintain friendly ties with Syria, let alone prop up the Assad regime. At one stroke Syria lost the annual stipend of $250 million that it had received from Saudi Arabia since 1991. The more isolated Syria becomes, the more its leaders are forced to depend on Iranian power.
        Last June Syria did what it had not done even during its alliance with the USSR, and signed a defense pact with the Islamic Republic. The pact gives Iran direct access to the Syrian military at middle and senior levels. One result has been a fourfold increase in the number of Iranian military and security personnel in Syria.
        Iran has now set up 11 centers for Khomeinist indoctrination in Syrian cities. By last September, 17,000 Syrians had enrolled in classes to study the "philosophy of Imam Khomeini." Hundreds of Iranian companies are active in Syria, employing tens of thousands of people in a country hit by mass unemployment. Iranian television and radio networks, broadcasting in Arabic, are now available in every Syrian home (Jerusalem Post)
  • Dual Loyalty and the "Israel Lobby" - Gabriel Schoenfeld
    In August, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) hosted an event in Washington, D.C. entitled "The Israel Lobby and the U.S. Response to the War in Lebanon," featuring John J. Mearsheimer, a professor at the University of Chicago, and Stephen M. Walt, a professor at Harvard and former academic dean of the university's Kennedy School of Government. In March, the two men charged in the London Review of Books that "the Israel Lobby" was seeking "to bend U.S. foreign policy so that it advances Israel's interests." At the CAIR event the two charged that Hizballah's July 12 attack was merely a "pretext" for Israel to strike at Hizballah and that the "Israel Lobby" had "worked overtime" to ensure that U.S. and Israeli policies were perfectly aligned.
        Their view of the Lebanon war as the product of extensive collusion between Jerusalem and Washington was a historical fabrication and a slander. Israel was made to appear an aggressor when it acted in self-defense. (Commentary Magazine)
  • Gaza Clans Occupying Political Vacuum - Eric Westervelt
    In Gaza, as the Hamas-run PA has become an increasingly dysfunctional body, large, powerful Palestinian families have stepped in and hold increasing sway, especially over security matters. For example, there's a prolific car theft ring in Gaza and security officer Asharaf says everyone knows who's involved. The police won't or can't touch them, he says; they're from a big, well-armed family with ties to a powerful militant faction. "If you sent in two Jeeps from the security forces to arrest one person, hundreds of militants will come out and shoot at you. It's now a totally stupid rule of the jungle," he says. (National Public Radio)

    Weekend Features

  • A Soldier Who Fell "Doing What He Loved Most" - Josh Brannon
    As a fighter in the IDF's Oketz canine unit, or "Sting" in English, St.-Sgt. Kiril Golenshin, 21, and his beloved German Shepherd "Mako" were at the spearhead of the IDF's nightly war against Palestinian terror. Golenshin was at the front of the force when he was gunned down Wednesday while leading the charge on a house in Beit Hanoun. As an only child, Kiril could have opted for a non-combat position during his service, but he insisted on combat. He died one week before he was to begin a commanders' course.
        A friend said at the funeral: "You were a warrior at the forefront of the nation's defense, and you died doing exactly what you loved most, and for this we envy you." His father said, "When I asked you if you would stop with all these dangerous operations, I remember how you looked at me and said: 'Dad, I am with my best friends doing what I love. I can't stop.' So I gave my blessing." (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Rockets of Summer Still Reverberate in Israel's Pastoral North - Carolynne Wheeler
    This summer's conflict in southern Lebanon brought disaster to Roni Litbak's dairy and beef operation in northern Israel. A hail of Katyusha rockets tore into a barn, killing 19 dairy cows and nine calves, and injuring 25 others beyond saving. Litbak, 35, is the manager of Kibbutz Amir's agricultural operations.
        The thousands of Katyusha rockets that landed in Israel's north this summer left many farmers with impossible choices: risk their lives to care for orchards and livestock, or take shelter in bunkers and allow the fruit to rot and animals to go hungry. In addition to a lost season in the region's orchards, dairy and poultry operations were also hit - their buildings damaged, poultry and livestock killed in direct strikes, or so frightened by the constant thud of rockets that they could no longer lay eggs or produce milk. Litbak's cows have still not returned to regular production levels, two months after the rockets stopped. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • After Lebanon War, Israelis Rebuild Burnt Forests - Ofira Koopmans
    Hizballah launched 4,000 rockets at northern Israel this summer, more than 600 of which fell in forests and set off hundreds of fires. At least 750,000 trees were burnt in the fires, which the Jewish National Fund (JNF) describes as the worst in Israel's 58-year-old history. It will take at least 50 years for the forests to return to their previous state, explains Omri Bonneh, JNF's northern Israel director. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur)
  • Israel Pushes to Reduce Oil Dependency - Amir Mizroch and Ryan Nadel
    The National Infrastructures Ministry's Fuel Authority is drafting a strategy to reduce Israel's dependency on petroleum. In the past, Israel imported oil from Egypt, the North Sea, West Africa, and Mexico, but now imports 90% of its oil from Russia and the Caspian region. Israel consumes about 80 million barrels of oil annually - 270,100 barrels per day - 42nd of 211 countries. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Egypt and Weapons Smuggling - Empty Promises to Prevent "Hamastan"
    - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

    • Egypt has not arrested a single arms smuggler, even though Israel's security and intelligence services have given the Egyptians a list of the names of those involved in the gun running.
    • There are many Egyptian promises, but in practice nearly nothing is being done to prevent large-scale smuggling through the Philadelphi route, and elsewhere, including the sea.
    • Under the rules of engagement for the Egyptian forces guarding the border, they are not allowed to shoot Palestinian smugglers. They are also not allowed to return fire unless they are endangered.
    • In the special military agreement between Israel and Egypt regarding security along the border, the overall Egyptian role in preventing smuggling is specified. Egypt must ensure that illegal arms and ammunition are not brought into the Sinai, that illegal arms sales and their transfer to the border do not take place, and that the arms are prevented from crossing into the Gaza Strip. Avoiding total action against the smugglers is a violation of the agreement.
    • The smuggling continues with growing intensity. Iranian funding is playing a significant role in this. Neglecting the prevention of smuggling will harm the Palestinians, Israel, and Egypt.

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