Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 29, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Arafat Agreed to House Secret Iranian Bases Inside PA - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    Iran and the Palestinian Authority headed by Yasser Arafat reached a secret agreement in 2002 to establish Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps bases in the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for military aid.
    Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who served as defense minister at the time, discovered the details on Monday.
    As part of the deal, Iran supplied the PA with 50 tons of military equipment, which was intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces on the ship "Karine A" in 2002.

Report: Syrian Network Planned to Kill Lebanese Officials - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
    Lebanese security forces exposed a network which planned to assassinate 36 senior anti-Syrian Lebanese officials and arrested two of the network's key members, the Lebanese newspaper al-Mustaqbal reported Wednesday.
    The network trained in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and planned to execute a plot initiated by the Syrian government.
    The detainees, a Syrian and a Saudi, were part of a 200-member network.

UNIFIL Destroying Hizballah Weapons in South Lebanon - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
    Thousands of Katyusha rockets are still being hidden by Hizballah in south Lebanon, especially in the larger villages in the Tyre region.
    At the same time, Belgian, Spanish, and French UNIFIL units have discovered and destroyed a number of Katyusha and ammunition dumps, in part based on Israeli intelligence.
    Hizballah operatives are active in south Lebanon, although they do not wear uniforms, carry weapons, or enter positions they held near the border with Israel.

How the Imams Terrorized an Airliner - Audrey Hudson (Washington Times)
    Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports, and aviation security officials.
    Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks - two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle, and two in the rear of the cabin.
    "That would alarm me," said a federal air marshal. "They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran UN Resolution, Still Not Final, Drops Mention of Sanctions - Helene Cooper
    The six world powers seeking to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions are circulating a significantly weakened draft for a UN Security Council resolution against Tehran's nuclear program, in a bid to keep their fragile coalition from falling apart. The new text has dropped all mention of sanctions against Iran's first nuclear power plant at Bushehr, according to European diplomats. The growing call for Washington to initiate talks with Tehran over Iraq is only one of the complicating factors. Also holding things up is that Russia and China dislike like the idea of punitive sanctions. (New York Times)
  • Hamas Sticking to Tough Line on Israel - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    "Hamas believes the presence of Israel is something that is not permanent...and it is possible that in the end, it can be contained within a Palestinian state," said Mustafa Assawaf, a Palestinian expert on Islamist groups. Assawaf predicted that Hamas would never recognize Israel "even if the temptation was world recognition and a (Palestinian) state." (Reuters)
  • Israel's New Ambassador to U.S. Says Israelis Still Hope for Peace, But Rockets Must Stop
    Israel's new ambassador to the U.S., Sallai Meridor, says his countrymen have not given up hope for peace, but Palestinian rocket fire, including two rockets fired Tuesday night, must stop if peace is to be realized. "You cannot move forward if your civilian population is under threat," he said. Tuesday's attack marked the third successive day since a truce went into effect on Sunday that rockets were fired.
        Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman, praised Israel Tuesday for showing "great restraint in not responding to some of the rocket attacks that actually have taken place after the cease-fire officially went into effect." Meridor said, "Israel keeps restraint at this moment because we want to make every effort to enable the Palestinians to get their act together and to stop any firing." Meridor said Israel hopes the cease-fire will take hold and "will not serve as a shield for terrorists to rearm and prepare for the next war."  (AP/International Herald Tribune)
        See also Misfired Rocket Causes Gaza Blast
    A rocket blew up as it was being launched by Palestinian militants on Tuesday, causing a loud explosion in northern Gaza, Palestinian security officials said. The rocket was the latest of more than a dozen fired by militants at Israel in violation of a truce that took effect on Sunday. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S.: No Point for Israel to Talk to a Syria that Supports Terror - Shmuel Rosner
    There is no point for Israel to hold negotiations with a Syria that continues to support and facilitate terrorism, U.S. National Security Adviser Steven Hadley said on Tuesday. "Here is Syria, which is clearly putting pressure on the Lebanese democracy, is a supporter of terror, is both provisioning and supporting Hizballah and facilitating Iran in its efforts to support Hizballah, is supporting the activities of Hamas. This is not a Syria that is on an agenda to bring peace and stability to the region, and I think Prime Minister Olmert said, under those circumstances, with that kind of Syrian policy, how can you talk about negotiating on the Golan Heights? Seems to me that's a sensible position." (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel: No More Gestures to Palestinians Until Kidnapped IDF Soldier Is Returned - Herb Keinon
    There is unlikely to be any additional progress in the diplomatic process until Cpl. Gilad Shalit is released, a senior Israeli diplomatic source said Tuesday. "Until the Shalit issue is solved, it will now be difficult to move forward with any confidence-building steps with the Palestinians beyond the decision Sunday to move the IDF out of Gaza," the official said. The Palestinian failure to release Shalit is holding up a large release of Palestinian security prisoners and the final go-ahead for the deployment in Gaza of the Jordan-based PLO Badr Brigade. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah Terrorists in West Bank Display Rockets
    Twenty masked militants of the Jondallah (God's soldiers) cell of the radical Palestinian Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades brandished four rockets, which they threatened to fire at Israeli targets, at a news conference in the West Bank city of Nablus. One rocket, 1.5 meters in length, "has a range of five kilometers and a three-kilogram payload," the group claimed. There have already been several attempts to fire rockets from the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel to Develop Short-Range Missile Interceptor - Yaakov Katz
    Israel plans to invest $300 million in an anti-Kassam and anti-Katyusha defense system under development by Rafael - Israel's Armament Development Authority. A combination of a laser and an anti-Kassam missile interceptor will be operational for deployment outside the Gaza Strip within a year and a half. A committee led by Defense Ministry Director-General Gabi Ashkenazi has decided not to invest in the Skyguard anti-missile laser system developed by U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Stepping into Iraq: Saudi Arabia Will Protect Sunnis If the U.S. Leaves - Nawaf Obaid
    Just a few months ago it was unthinkable that President Bush would prematurely withdraw a significant number of American troops from Iraq. But it seems possible today, and therefore the Saudi leadership is preparing to substantially revise its Iraq policy. What's clear is that the Iraqi government won't be able to protect the Sunnis from Iranian-backed militias if American troops leave. In this case, remaining on the sidelines would be unacceptable to Saudi Arabia. To turn a blind eye to the massacre of Iraqi Sunnis would be to abandon the principles upon which the kingdom was founded. The writer, an adviser to the Saudi government, is an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. (Washington Post)
  • Islam's Intellectual Problem - Youssef Ibrahim
    On Thanksgiving Day, a Palestinian Arab woman of 61 blew herself up after recording a video saying, "I offer myself as a sacrifice to God and the homeland." At her funeral, two of her sons praised their mother and expressed the wish that some of her grandchildren - their own children, who were standing nearby - would kill themselves one day, too. Instead of shock and awe at the multiple layers of dehumanization in all this, the woman was praised widely as a martyr and an idol from one end of the Muslim world to the other.
        Herein lies Islam's intellectual problem. Where jurisprudence is offered nowadays in Islam, it is designed not to advance people to a higher moral plane, but to egg them on to killing, suicide, and a cult of death. Such, then, are the traumas of the Muslim mind these days as it travels through a dark world of mayhem and confusion. It would be condescending for the West to propose solutions to what is essentially an internal debate. (New York Sun)
  • Observations:

    Why Rachel Corrie Is Not the New Anne Frank - James Kirchick (New Republic)

    • In the 90-minute, one-woman show "My Name is Rachel Corrie," playing in New York, Corrie looks either like one of the upper-middle-class kids who take Latin American latrine-digging vacations to buff up their college resumes, or one of the "political pilgrims" who ventured to totalitarian lands and returned to boast of slumming it with the liberated natives.
    • In a photo circulated after her death, Corrie flaunts her hatred of the U.S. by burning a mock American flag while Palestinian children crowd around her.
    • In prostrating herself before an Israeli bulldozer, Corrie actually became that which she was (unwittingly, perhaps) protecting: the Palestinian suicide martyr. She received the martyr treatment, becoming a pieta of the anti-Israel movement.
    • Due to the epistolary basis of "My Name is Rachel Corrie," comparisons have been made to "The Diary of Anne Frank." Anne Frank was a probing character whose blameless observations of fascist Europe demonstrated the cruelty of a period in which children were perfunctorily murdered. Rachel Corrie was a know-it-all who deliberately placed herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    • What's more, there is an issue of moral culpability among antagonists. Obviously, Frank's murderers had it. But Corrie died, accidentally, after giving intellectual (and actual) cover to those who are, essentially, the heirs of Frank's killers.

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