Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
UN Says Somalis Helped Hizballah Fighters - Robert F. Worth (New York Times)
Report: UN Troops Searching for Hizballah Weapons Tunnels - Jacey Herman (Jerusalem Post)
IDF: Hizballah Units Returning to Border - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas Government Accuses Israel of Killing Arafat (Xinhua-China)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called on Tuesday for moderate Arab countries to unite against Iran and said the world must not wait any longer to thwart its nuclear ambitions. "We have reached the pivotal moment of truth regarding Iran," Olmert told the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities of North America in Los Angeles. "If Iran achieves the ability to produce nuclear weapons, as we know it is seeking to do, we will enter a new era of instability unlike any the world has ever seen," he said. "We cannot afford to wait." Israel "cannot tolerate those who challenge" its right to exist while actively seeking to develop "catastrophic weapons."
"A coalition of moderate Arab countries can and must unite their common interest in preventing Iran from undermining stability in the Middle East," he said. "This coalition must struggle against the dangers of radical Islam that manipulate the very source of Islam itself." (Reuters)
Israeli Prime Minister Olmert indicated on Sunday that he would respond favorably to America's request to authorize 1,500 armed Palestinian soldiers based in Jordan to move into the Gaza Strip. President George W. Bush is understood to have formally requested the troop transfer in his meeting with Olmert this week. The Jordan-based Badr Brigade was previously regarded by Israel as an enemy force. But the rise to power of Hamas has led to a re-think because the Badr Brigade is loyal to Fatah, the faction of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, that Israel now supports. (Telegraph-UK)
Hamas parliamentarian Mushir al-Masri, who tried to return from Egypt to Gaza, was briefly detained Tuesday when found to be carrying $2 million in a suitcase, which Egyptian authorities seized, Egyptian security officials said. Al-Masri spent Tuesday night on the Egyptian side of the border, apparently hoping that the money would be returned. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
An Egyptian security official said, "The Palestinian deputy had informed the Egyptian side that he received this money, which is aid for the Palestinians, after a trip to Saudi Arabia." (AFP/Middle East Times-Egypt)
Iran's Revolutionary Guards are training hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters to carry out attacks against coalition forces throughout the Middle East. The Iranian government has been providing a safe haven for fighters loyal to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror group since they were forced to flee Afghanistan in late 2001. The decision to allow al-Qaeda fighters to train in Iran was made by President Ahmadinejad as part of his policy of attempting to forge closer links with bin Laden's organization.
"From the evidence we have seen, Iran's links to al-Qaeda go far deeper than simply supplying them with equipment," a senior Western intelligence official said. "They are allowing them the use of training facilities so that they can ensure their attacks are as effective as possible." Links between Iran and al-Qaeda date back to the early 1990s, when bin Laden was based in Sudan. According to America's 9/11 Commission report, Iran's Revolutionary Guards helped to train al-Qaeda fighters, and the Iranians were suspected of helping al-Qaeda to carry out the truck bomb attacks against an American military base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in June 1996 that killed 19 American servicemen. (Telegraph-UK/New York Sun)
See also below Observations - Doomsday Scenario: Iran Is Training Bin Laden's Successor - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
Iran has slowly but steadily increased its ability to enrich uranium despite international calls to halt its nuclear activities, experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency say in a report released Tuesday. The report emphasizes that Iran's refusal to answer inspectors' questions about its nuclear activities makes it impossible for the IAEA "to confirm the peaceful nature of Iran's program." The report also notes that traces of plutonium have been found on storage barrels at a waste facility, in addition to a previously reported finding of highly enriched uranium at the site. (Los Angeles Times)
See also Iranian President Says Country Will Soon Celebrate Completion of Nuclear Fuel Program - Ali Akbar Dareini
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boasted Tuesday that Iran will soon have mastered the production of nuclear fuel. The Iranian leader said he hoped ''to hold the big celebration of Iran's full nuclearization in the current year.'' Iran's current calendar year ends on March 20. (AP/Chicago Sun-Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Palestinians in Gaza fired two rockets at Sderot Wednesday morning, killing a 75-year-old woman and seriously wounding a 24-year-old man, one of Defense Minister Peretz's bodyguards who was on duty at the time. All together, eight Kassam rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza Wednesday morning. Three rockets were fired at Israel Tuesday night.
David Baker, an official in Prime Minister Olmert's office, said: "The continued Palestinian rocket attacks on Sderot and surrounding communities inside Israel are clear evidence that Israel cannot let up in its defense of its citizens and must root out these rocket launchers, as well as those who perpetrate these attacks." (Ynet News/Jerusalem Post)
See also Sderot: We Can't Live Like This - Yaakov Lappin
Sderot is a working class town on the border with Gaza. For years, Palestinian rockets have been terrorizing the people in this frontier community. Every time they venture out of the house, residents know a piece of metal with some explosives on it could fall on them from the sky. "It really makes me angry, that our children have to be scared in the morning. Instead of a 'good morning' at the start of the day, we get a rocket alert," said Yelena Moshari, a kindergarten teacher. (Ynet News)
Senior U.S. envoy Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton convened a meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday of a security working group seeking to assure regular opening of the only land link between Gaza and the Arab world. Among those attending were Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad, and representatives from Egypt and the EU. The Rafah crossing has been closed often, especially since the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit by Hamas-linked militants at the end of June near the crossing. The security working group will meet again in six weeks.
The EU has agreed to keep monitors stationed at the border crossing for another six months, officials said on Tuesday. Some 70 European monitors have been overseeing the crossing. (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
In a bombshell of a post at the Lightstalkers pro photographers' forum, Bruno Stevens describes how during the Israeli-Hizballah war the captions he sent in with his pictures, published by both US News and World Report and Time Magazine, were changed by editors at the magazines to completely alter the story. (Little Green Footballs)
See also The Lebanon "Garbage Dump" Story: Complete Explanation - Bruno Stevens
On July 17, Lebanese TV started to show footage of a large metallic object falling from the sky and exploding upon touching the ground. The TV announced it as an Israeli jet being shot down over an army base in Kfar Chima, about 4 miles from where I was. I rushed to the scene. Time Magazine had my original caption, but chose to publish the following: "The wreckage of a downed Israeli jet that was targeting Hizballah trucks billows smoke behind a Hizballah gunman in Kfar Chima, near Beirut. Jet fuel set the surrounding area ablaze."
After returning three times to the site and collecting more evidence, I modified my original caption to: "The Israeli Air Force bombed a group of Hizballah-chartered trucks parked at the back of large Lebanese Army barracks. At least one of these trucks contained a medium-range ground-to-ground missile launcher. At least one missile was hit, misfiring high into the sky before falling down and starting a huge fire in the barracks' parking lot." [See picture of destroyed Hizballah medium-range missile launcher hidden on truck at Lebanese Army base.]
This is a very important piece of evidence showing probable collusion between Hizballah and the Lebanese Army. There is little doubt that the Lebanese Army was aware of the presence of at least one missile launcher and at least one large missile in their parking lot. (Lightstalkers)
Doomsday Scenario: Iran Is Training Bin Laden's Successor - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
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