Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 3, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian Rocket Crews in Gaza Target Israeli Officials - Michel Moutot (AFP/Yahoo)
    Abu Hamza, the spokesman for a militant Palestinian group which regularly fires rockets into southern Israel, said Tuesday: "We are going to continue. Only today we fired seven rockets."
    "We're still working on precision," said Abu Jandal, spokesman for another group. "We always hope to hit barracks."
    We fire "preferably in the morning or the evening when people are moving around in Israeli towns. Public holidays too. And we keep watch for when Israeli officials are coming," added Abu Hamza.

Images of Saddam Hussein Fill Many Palestinian Homes - Amin Abu Wardeh (Palestine News Network-PA)
    In a show of solidarity with the executed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, hundreds of Palestinian homes have put his picture on their walls.
    Photography studios in Nablus are reporting dozens of young men coming in asking for copies of images of Hussein to frame for their homes.

Israeli Site Monitoring Nuclear Activity for UN - Yael Branovsky (Ynet News)
    A geophysical monitoring facility near Eilat has equipment sensitive enough to pick up on nuclear testing even in Iran.
    The facility, built in 1974, is operated on behalf of the UN, which enforces the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and directly transmits incoming data to the corresponding UN center in Vienna.

Russia Anti-Aircraft Weapons Sales to Syria, Iran on Schedule (AFP/Yahoo)
    Controversial Russian contracts to sell anti-aircraft weapons to Syria and Iran are being fulfilled on schedule, Russian officials said Tuesday.
    At least half of the 29 Tor-M1 missile systems bought by Iran for $1.4 billion had been delivered.
    The U.S. strongly resisted the contract and imposed sanctions against Russian jetmaker Sukhoi and arms exporter Rosoboronexport.

From Yap to Growl, Israeli Device Dogs Intruders - Corinne Heller (Reuters/ Washington Post)
    The Israeli firm Bio-Sense Technologies says dogs have better night vision than humans and a vastly superior sense of smell and hearing.
    Using computers to analyze 350 barks, the company found that dogs of all breeds and sizes barked the same alarm when they sensed a threat, and has designed a security system with sensors that can pick up the dogs' "alarm bark" and alert the human operators.
    The dog bark-reader is just one of a batch of innovative security systems to emerge from Israel, which Forbes in December called "the go-to country for anti-terrorism technologies."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Unit Works Quietly to Counter Iran's Sway - Farah Stockman
    For nearly a year, a select group of U.S. officials in the Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group, or ISOG, has been quietly coordinating actions to counter the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, including increasing the military capabilities of Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. The group is also coordinating a host of other actions, which include covert assistance to Iranian dissidents and building international outrage toward Iran by publicizing its role in a 1994 terrorist attack in Argentina.
        The existence of ISOG reflects an intensification of the Bush administration's planning on Iran. Syria, which has linked itself to Iran through military pacts, is a lesser focus for the group. Officials described ISOG as an interagency clearinghouse for ideas and strategies to roll back the influence of Iran. "Iran is the key to everything at the strategic level - the biggest problem we have faced in a long time," said a senior State Department official involved in ISOG, citing Iran's negative impact on Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. "These are all things they are doing because they sense weakness. The best thing for us to project is strength, not 'please talk to us.'" (Boston Globe)
  • West Tries a New Tack to Block Iran's Nuclear Agenda - Helene Cooper and Steven R. Weisman
    In a tacit acknowledgment that sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council in December are too weak to force Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, the U.S. and its allies in Europe have embarked on a new strategy to increase the financial and psychological pressure. The plan is to use the language of the resolution to help persuade foreign governments and financial institutions to cut ties with Iranian businesses, individuals in its nuclear and missile programs, and, by extension, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, said Stuart Levey, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
        Bush administration officials said envoys would soon head abroad to press officials of foreign governments and banks to interpret the Security Council resolution aggressively. It is hard to assess how deeply the financial actions may cut, since the most willing parties to the effort - the U.S. and Europe - have few business dealings with Iran. (New York Times)
  • New UN Chief Defends Death Penalty for Hussein - Colum Lynch
    UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said Tuesday that Iraq and other countries have the right to impose the death penalty, adding that the world should never forget Saddam Hussein's "heinous crimes." Ban's first public reaction to Hussein's execution signaled a sharp break from his predecessor, Kofi Annan, an ardent death-penalty critic. "Saddam Hussein was responsible for committing heinous crimes and unspeakable atrocities against the Iraqi people," Ban said. "The issue of capital punishment is for each and every member state to decide." (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Survey: Lebanon War Damaged Israel's Deterring Image - Hanan Greenberg
    The Middle East Strategic Balance 2005-2006 survey, written by experts at Tel Aviv University's Middle East Strategic Studies Institute, said the Lebanon war damaged Israel's deterring image. The institute also stated that the failure in Iraq hurt the U.S. and that Israel had nothing to gain from the American presence in Iraq. Institute researcher Brig.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland said one serious consequence of the Lebanon war was that Arab states now doubt Israel's strength, and may take future offensive steps that would have been unthinkable six months ago. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians fired a Kassam rocket at Ashkelon Tuesday evening that landed in Palestinian territory in the northern Gaza Strip. A Kassam rocket also landed near Sderot on Tuesday evening. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Kibbutz Near Gaza Considering Evacuation - Ilan Matzik and Uri Binder
    Twenty-eight houses belonging to the founders of Kibbutz Nir-Am have been damaged by Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza during the cease-fire. The rockets shattered windows and doors on the kibbutz, compelling elderly people of eighty years old and up, those who founded the state, to leave their homes in the freezing cold. More than anything, the rockets shattered their faith. No houses on the kibbutz are reinforced. We need to reinforce the communities, said Udi Naamati, head of the Eshkol regional council. "We cannot keep relying on miracles and trusting that the rockets will not kill people." (Maariv-Hebrew, 31Dec06)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran and the Holocaust Deniers - Editorial
    Three weeks ago, Iranian President Ahmadinejad hosted a conference in Tehran to promote the cause of Holocaust denial. At the conference hall, there were pictures of Holocaust survivors liberated from Nazi death camps, falsely labeled as photographs of typhus patients who had been quarantined to prevent the spread of the disease. A recurring theme at the Tehran conference was the connection between Holocaust denial and the destruction of Israel. "Just as the Soviet Union was erased from the world, so will the Zionist entity soon disappear," Ahmadinejad told conferees.
        Such statements must be viewed in the larger context of Iranian support for terrorist groups targeting Israel, along with the fact that Ahmadinejad has missiles capable of reaching Israel and is working to develop nuclear weapons. When you add it all up, the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists argues persuasively in a new report issued in conjunction with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Ahmadinejad is actively attempting to incite genocide against Israel. In its report, which is endorsed by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, the association notes that all too often, the civilized world, when confronted with leaders bent on mass murder, "has consistently delayed action until after thousands or even millions were already slain." (Washington Times)
        See also Text: Referral of Iranian President Ahmadinejad on the Charge of Incitement to Commit Genocide (IAJLJ/JCPA) (1M pdf file)
  • Deep Hatred Ripples Across Iraq - Youssef Ibrahim
    The Shiite rituals surrounding Saddam Hussein's execution on Saturday are rippling across the Muslim world. Clearly, the Iraqi Shiite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, was deliberate in insulting Arab Sunni Muslims inside and outside Iraq when he set the execution for the day they began to celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice. Shiite Muslims didn't begin their celebration of Eid al-Adha until Sunday. The Shiite clergy in Iraq, all the way up to the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, okayed the decision. So did the Shiite power next door, Iran, which declared it a day of celebration. (New York Sun)
  • Observations:

    Living in Jerusalem with Wisdom - Teddy Kollek (Jerusalem Post)

    • My experience leads me to believe that it is precisely the honesty and the cool-headed logic of responsible action - democratic norms and tolerance in all dealings with the Arab population - that will strengthen our historical rights to the city and its status as Israel's capital.
    • Immediately following the reunification of the city [in 1967], I invited the ten Arab members who had served on the city council under Jordanian rule to join a new united city council. My invitation was rejected.
    • I know that many of Jerusalem's Arabs were convinced that the stance they took harmed their own sector. Many felt that their participation in running the city would have improved their situation and their quality of life.
    • Throughout the 30 years that have passed since Jerusalem was reunited, the city has developed in impressive fashion, reflecting the Israeli consensus that united Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty, is the capital of Israel. I believe that this fact is irreversible - so long as we behave wisely.

      The writer, who served as Jerusalem mayor from 1965 until 1993, died Tuesday at age 95. He wrote the above on August 9, 1998.

          See also Jerusalem Ex-Mayor Teddy Kollek, 95, Dies - Steven Erlanger and Marilyn Berger (New York Times)
          He Rose to Every Challenge by Understanding the Other Side - Ari Rath (Jerusalem Post)
          The Man Who Loved Jerusalem - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)

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