Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 15, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Egypt to Launch First Spy Satellite - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Egypt plans to launch its first spy satellite - the Egyptstat 1 - on Tuesday from Kazakhstan to gather intelligence on Israel and other Middle Eastern countries.
    Using a high-powered multi-spectrum telescopic camera, it will be capable of transmitting black-and-white, color, and infrared images, spotting objects on the ground as small as four meters across.
    In April, Israel launched the Eros B spy satellite, which can spot images on the ground as small as 70 centimeters across.
    Iran launched its first satellite in October 2005 and plans to launch another in the near future.

Israel Campus Beat
- January 14, 2007

Point Counter-Point:
    Israel's Options Regarding Iran

Saddam Co-Defendants Hanged in Iraq - Joshua Partlow (Washington Post)
    Barzan Ibrahim, Saddam Hussein's half brother, and Awad Haman Bander, chief judge of Hussein's Revolutionary Court, were hanged to death at dawn on Monday for their participation in the killings of 148 men and boys from the Shiite town of Dujail in 1982.

Iranian President Visits Venezuela to Strengthen Ties - Simon Romero (New York Times)
    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran arrived in Venezuela on Saturday for talks with President Hugo Chavez, his second visit in the past five months.
    Ahmadinejad will also visit Ecuador and Nicaragua, where leftist presidents aligned with Chavez are taking office this month.
    "Welcome, fighter for just causes," Chavez said in a speech before the National Assembly, describing Ahmadinejad as a "revolutionary" and a "brother."

Egypt Finds Explosives Cache in Northern Sinai (Reuters)
    Egyptian security forces discovered a cache of at least 500 kg. of explosives on Sunday near al-Arish, on Egypt's Mediterranean coast in the Sinai peninsula, where bomb attacks have killed more than 100 people since 2004.

SAS Hunts Fleeing Al-Qaeda Africans - Hala Jaber and Michael Smith (Sunday Times-UK)
    An SAS team is hunting down al-Qaeda terror suspects as they try to flee Somalia, trapped between invading Ethiopian troops - assisted by U.S. special forces and American mercenaries - and the Kenyan army and SAS troops acting as "training advisers," but who have been leading operations along the border, providing a "screen" to trap terrorists.
    Three key suspects, believed to be responsible for the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and an attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa, were still on the run Saturday.
    The dramatic victory by Ethiopian troops was the culmination of months of preparation inside and outside Somalia by American and British special forces, and U.S.-hired mercenaries.
    According to a CIA source, American intelligence and military have been bankrolling the Ethiopians since the start of last year, as well as providing them with satellite surveillance, technical, military and logistical support.
    Kenyan counter-terrorism police said the wives and three children of two of the al-Qaeda main suspects were caught as they attempted to cross into Kenya.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Rice: Syria Continuing to Play a Negative Role
    In an interview with Israel Channel 10 during a visit to Jerusalem, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday: "There's been very little signs of Syria having anything positive to say. Syria is, after all, engaged in trying to undermine the government of Lebanon. Syria is, of course, continuing to play a negative role in the Palestinian conflict....There's just no indication that the Syrian government has anything but disruptive plans right now."
        "I don't think we need to skip any phases of the roadmap. I think that the roadmap is intended to be a guide to get to a Palestinian state....But the roadmap needs to be fulfilled." (State Department)
        See also Rice Begins Middle East Peace Effort - Glenn Kessler
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice embarked Saturday on a new push for Israeli-Palestinian peace but said she was coming to the region without a particular plan or proposal. Rice said she was hoping to "accelerate" the U.S.-backed peace plan known as the "road map." (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Forces in Iraq Turn on Iranians - Philip Sherwell
    President George W Bush has ordered U.S. forces to launch a military offensive against Iranian officials and Revolutionary Guards officers behind a support and funding network for anti-American fighters in Iraq. Bush signed the clandestine directive after he was given new intelligence on the scale of Iranian operations to foment violence in Iraq. Alireza Jafarzadeh, the Iranian exile leader who first revealed Teheran's secret nuclear program, has compiled a dossier detailing the vast network run by the Revolutionary Guards' Quds (Jerusalem) Force in Iraq. Its operations are centered on Basra and Najaf, and use a series of supposed religious and cultural organizations as well as diplomatic consulates across the country to develop, fund and arm militia and rebel groups.
        Thousands of Shia militiamen have reportedly traveled to Iran for training and indoctrination, while Quds sends millions of dollars cash in the other direction each month, through diplomatic pouches and border crossings it controls. Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. secretary of state, said Saturday: "I don't think there is a government in the world that would sit by and let the Iranians, in particular, run networks inside Iraq that are building explosive devices of a very high quality, that are being used to kill their soldiers." (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
        See also Iranians "Trained Shia Militants" - Damien McElroy
    The American military Sunday accused five Iranians detained by its forces in Iraq of helping to supply cash, weapons and training to Shia militias on behalf of the Iranian regime. "The five detainees are connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Qods Force, an organization known for providing funds, weapons, IEDs [roadside bombs], technology and training to extremist groups attempting to destabilize the government of Iraq and attack coalition forces," said a statement. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Two Palestinians Approaching Gaza Fence with Bomb Killed; Palestinian Bombs Getting Larger - Amos Harel
    Israel Defense Forces troops on Sunday killed two Palestinians approaching the Gaza Strip security fence carrying explosives. The two were crawling toward the fence south of Moshav Nativ Ha'asarah. There was a large explosion, apparently from the explosives the Palestinians were wielding, and they were killed. It is not clear if they had planned to cross the fence into Israeli territory or place the explosives next to the fence in order to target an IDF patrol.
        IDF forces on Friday discovered a bomb weighing 23 kg. in the West Bank town of Hirbat al-Najr, south of Jenin. An even larger bomb weighing 60 kg. was found in a town west of the city last week. The IDF Central Command said there has been an increase in weight and quality of explosives being made by Palestinians in the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Delighted with New Head of UNIFIL - Yaakov Katz
    The IDF on Sunday praised the appointment of Italian Gen. Claudio Graziano as the new head of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. French Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini, whom IDF officers said was pro-Hizbullah, steps down in mid-February after three years in the post. IDF sources said Graziano "takes his job seriously and we expect to see a continued crackdown on Hizbullah under his command." Graziano commanded NATO's Kabul Multinational Brigade and has extensive experience in combating insurgency and terrorism. Northern Command sources also praised UNIFIL's 2,500-strong Italian contingent, saying it was working to prevent Hizbullah from returning to its outposts on the border. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Carter Aside, Israel Deserves Total Support - Jim Wooten
    When Carter loyalists such as former Ambassador William B. Schwartz Jr., scholars such as Kenneth Stein and Melvin Konner, public people never given to impetuousness such as former state Rep. Cathey Steinberg and former DeKalb CEO Liane Levetan, and others whose contributions to the betterment of this state and nation are renown, walk away from the most important figure most of them will ever know, the world should take notice. And ask why. "[Carter] has become a spokesman for the enemies of my people. He has become an apologist for terrorists," wrote Konner. Carter's book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid chooses sides with harmful and lasting consequence.
        For me this is not a time to be equivocal, either about Iraq, Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas or our commitments to friends who believe in our word. For my part, there can be no "balance" in U.S. policy in the region. Retreating from Gaza in the summer of 2005, Israel did something this country would never have done, sending 25,000 soldiers to haul 8,500 of its citizens from their abodes, sacrificing their homes and land to the prospect of peace. What did they get in return? A rain of missiles. We have one permanent friend in the region and that is Israel. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
        See also below Observations: The Carter Board of Councilors Resignation Letter (FOX News)
  • Why Europe Abandoned Israel - Richard Baehr
    Why is Israel viewed so differently in Europe than in the U.S.? Prior to the Six-Day War in 1967, it was France which was Israel's primary military supplier. In the War of Independence in 1948-49, it was arms smuggled from Czechoslovakia that enabled the Zionists to fight on. Most European nations, including some Soviet satellites, supported the partition resolution in the General Assembly in November 1947. European nations supported Israel at the UN through the late 1960s and in some cases well beyond then. Clearly, some of this support was a reflection of European guilt over the murder of six million Jews in their midst. Today, that residue of sympathy for the plucky underdog nation of Israel has disappeared.
        Western Europeans want to believe that all international disputes can be resolved amicably, or as they call it, diplomatically, and multilaterally. One explanation for this is that Europe is militarily and spiritually weak and willing to appease those who might threaten the European life style.
        At least 20 million Muslims now live in Western Europe. According to Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis: given the comparative birth rates (white Europeans very low, Muslims very high) and immigration levels, soon enough Europe will be Muslim. The numbers provide important background to explain Europe's problems with Israel. (American Thinker)
  • President Bush Has Managed to Divide and Conquer the Middle East - Edward N. Luttwak
    The ancient antipathy between Sunni and Shiite has become a dynamic conflict, not just within Iraq but across the Middle East, and key protagonists on each side seek the support of American power. On Dec. 4, 2006, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of Iraq's largest political party, the son of an ayatollah, and himself a lifelong militant cleric, went to the White House to plead his case with President Bush. The best ally of the U.S. in Iraq is Hakim's party, the SCIRI: the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. At the same time, the prospect of a Shiite-dominated Iraq is forcing Sunni Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Jordan, to seek American help against the rising power of the Shiites.
        Americans have no interest in the secular-sectarian quarrel, but there is a very real convergence of interests with the Sunni Arab states because Iran is the main enemy for both. The Iraq war has indeed brought into existence a New Middle East, in which Arab Sunnis can no longer gleefully disregard American interests because they need help against the looming threat of Shiite supremacy. The writer is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Observations:

    The Carter Board of Councilors Resignation Letter (FOX News)

    • There are two national narratives contesting one piece of land. The Israelis, through deed and public comment, have consistently spoken of a desire to live in peace and make territorial compromise to achieve this status.
    • The Palestinian side has consistently resorted to acts of terror as a national expression and elected parties endorsing the use of terror, the rejection of territorial compromise and of Israel's right to exist. Palestinian leaders have had chances since 1947 to have their own state, including during your own presidency when they snubbed your efforts.
    • Furthermore, the comments you have made the past few weeks insinuating that there is a monolith of Jewish power in America are most disturbing and must be addressed by us. In our great country where freedom of expression is basic bedrock, you have suddenly proclaimed that Americans cannot express their opinion on matters in the Middle East for fear of retribution from the "Jewish Lobby." In condemning the Jews of America you also condemn Christians and others for their support of Israel.
    • You repeatedly make false claims. You wrote that UN Security Council Resolution 242 says that "Israel must withdraw from territories," but you know the word "must" is not in the resolution. You said that since Mahmoud Abbas has been in office there have been no peace discussions. That is wrong. You wrote that Yassir Arafat told you in 1990 that, "The PLO has never advocated the annihilation of Israel." Given that their Charter, which explicitly calls for Israel's destruction, was not revised until the late 1990s, how could you even write such a claim?
    • We can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position. This is not the Carter Center or the Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support. Therefore, it is with sadness and regret that we hereby tender our resignation from the Board of Councilors of the Carter Center, effective immediately.
    • Sincerely,
      Alan Abrams, Steve Berman, Michael Coles, Jon Golden, Doug Hertz, Barbara Babbit Kaufman, Liane Levetan, Jeff Levy, Leon Novak, Ambassador William B. Schwartz Jr., William B. Schwartz III, Steve Selig, Cathey Steinberg, Gail Solomon

          See also Jimmy Carter's Own Words - Editorial
      Thanks to his book, Mr. Carter, the 2002 Nobel Peace honoree, has lost his once-credible standing in Middle East affairs. (Washington Times)

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