Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see


March 13, 2007

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Some Funds Released by Israel to PA Went to Hamas Security Forces - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Some of the $100 million in tax revenues that Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority in January went to thousands of Hamas supporters - including those in the security forces - Hamas officials said on Monday.
    PA Finance Minister Samir Abu Aisheh of Hamas said more than 9,500 new employees had been added to the public sector since the Islamist movement took power in March 2006, including 5,500 Hamas-appointed security officers.
    The International Monetary Fund has estimated that despite international sanctions, foreign aid to the PA doubled to $700m. in 2006 over the previous year.
    Total foreign assistance to all Palestinian institutions increased last year to $1.2 billion from $1b.

Masked Gunmen Kidnap BBC Reporter in Gaza - Conal Urquhart (Guardian-UK)
    The BBC's Gaza correspondent, Alan Johnston, was snatched from his car Monday by masked men in Gaza City, according to the Palestinian police.
    Johnston, 44, was the only foreign correspondent still based in Gaza.

Al-Qaeda: The Second Coming - Jason Burke (Observer-UK)
    Nine years after bin Laden's declaration of war on the West and five and a half years after the attacks of 11 September 2001, al-Qaeda is as present as ever on the world stage, linked to violence across half the globe.
    "Al-Qaeda as an operational, technically capable network, with chains of command leading back to Pakistan from many places, is very much alive and well and continuing to plot," said one security source.
    Thousands of young Muslims from a wide variety of backgrounds have been mobilized around the world in the last five years, aided by the Internet.
    Belgian officials point to a recently arrested teenager who had "gone from no engagement at all to full commitment to a suicide attack" in the space of a few weeks "alone with a computer in his bedroom."

Palestinian Christians Look Back on a Year of Troubles - Isabel Kershner (New York Times)
    Jack Massis, 51, a grocer in Taybeh, the last entirely Christian village in the West Bank, speaks matter-of-factly about how two of his teenage sons were beaten with clubs last month by Muslims.
    In the year since Hamas came to power, Palestinian Christians have begun quietly complaining that local disagreements quickly take on a sectarian flavor, and reports of beatings and property damage by Muslims have grown.
    See also Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society - Justus Weiner (JCPA)

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Dispute Halts Delivery of Russian Atomic Fuel to Iran - Peter Finn
    Russian officials said Monday that nuclear fuel will not be delivered to Iran this month as planned and that the September completion of a Russian-built nuclear power plant will be postponed because of an escalating dispute between the two countries. Moscow and Tehran have been arguing for weeks over what Russia calls Iran's failure to make $25 million monthly payments on the $1 billion plant in Bushehr.
        Underlying the financial dispute appears to be increasing Russian hostility to Iran's suspected desire to build nuclear weapons and its flouting of international demands that it stop the enrichment of uranium. "We do not need a nuclear Iran or an Iran with the potential to create them [nuclear weapons]," a Russian official told Russian news agencies Monday. "We will not play any anti-U.S. games with it."  (Washington Post)
  • Hamas Says It Still Seeks Israel's Destruction - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Monday said it was still committed to Israel's destruction despite a power-sharing deal with the Fatah faction. "We will not betray promises we made to God to continue the path of Jihad and resistance until the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine," Hamas said in a statement. On Sunday, al-Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, accused Hamas of serving U.S. interests by agreeing to a Saudi-brokered unity government deal with Fatah. Hamas said it continued to be a "movement of resistance, seekers of martyrdom" and that its "principles will never be changed." (Reuters)
  • Israel Official Expects Peace to Prevail - Steven Gutkin
    Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, who formerly headed the Shin Bet intelligence service, offered a surprisingly optimistic view Monday of prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, despite what he called a big push by Iran to sow discord in the region. Dichter predicted the Palestinians would ultimately understand they have no choice but to accept Israel. "I spent more years in Gaza than I spent in Tel Aviv. I think I know (the Palestinians) very well," Dichter told a gathering of diplomats and reporters at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The Palestinians "know that they have no chance to build themselves as a nation without a peace agreement with Israel," he said. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Three Hamas Terrorists Captured Who Tried to Kidnap Israeli - Efrat Weiss
    Three Hamas members were apprehended near Ramallah last month for attempting to kidnap an Israeli from a hitchhiking post at the Eli intersection in the West Bank, it was approved for publication Monday. Omar Barghouti, 21, of Qubar, was recently released from an Israeli prison, while Duad Mantzur, 23, from Bilin was released last June. The third man was identified as Anas Barghouti, 20, from Qubar. (Ynet News)
  • UN to Open Permanent Probe on Israel - Tovah Lazaroff
    The UN Human Rights Council is expected to place Israel under permanent investigation for its "violations" of international law in the territories - until such time as it withdraws to the pre-1967 border - according to Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, who said he received the information from diplomatic sources. Neuer said he expects the council to take at least four anti-Israel actions during its fourth session, which started in Geneva on Monday and runs through April 5. Since its inception last June, the Council has issued eight anti-Israel resolutions, and none against any other nation. It has also held three special sessions on Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The Plot: Use the UN to Rid the World of Israel - Bradley Burston (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Saudi Fig Leaf - Anshel Pfeffer
    In the five years since the Saudi initiative first emerged, the Palestinians, backed by Arab leaders, have adamantly refused to back down from the demand for the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees. All Israeli governments continue to oppose any concession on the issue, reflecting the consensus that allowing the refugees back would amount to suicide of the Jewish state. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told an Arab newspaper that parts of the Saudi initiative were acceptable, but not the "right of return." But can Israel pick and choose?
        Nobody really believes - including the Saudis - that there is a chance of reaching a comprehensive peace treaty on the basis of the Saudi initiative any time soon. The appearance of an ongoing diplomatic process gives the public a feeling that something's happening. Next time the EU envoys ask for more concessions to the Hamas-dominated PA, the Israeli government can point to the Saudi initiative. Most importantly, the Americans are all for it. The Saudi initiative will never hatch a realistic peace plan. But if talking about it is going to make Secretary of State Rice happy, the Israelis and Saudis will play along. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Why the Arabs Continuously Fail - Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed
    Ever since Hizbullah's uncouth kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers last summer, Lebanon is no longer the same Lebanon. Thousands of Lebanese citizens have immigrated to different countries, many Lebanese economic facilities were shut down and many emigrants had lost their life savings that they earned from Africa, Australia and America. What is really surprising is that Israelis admit their mistakes and call themselves as well as their leaders to account. Yet in Lebanon they are still fighting one another and brashly refuse to admit their mistakes. For that reason, we can understand why Israel can surpass us and why we continuously fail.
        Has there ever been a single disaster that befell Arabs, whether natural or organized, that was followed up by investigations, the results of which would have the guilty parties brought to account and punished? There have never been such investigations ever since the series of defeats that began with the defeat of the 1948 war, where only scapegoats were convicted so as to save the real perpetrators from the anger of the people and disguise the scandal. The writer is the general manager of Al-Arabiya television. (Asharq Alawsat-UK)
  • A False Choice for Pakistan - Benazir Bhutto
    The arrest of Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, a top Taliban strategist, by Pakistani authorities last month, right on the heels of American and British pleas for renewed toughness, is too convenient. Akhund was arrested solely to keep Western governments at bay. For too long, the international perception has been that Musharraf's regime is the only thing standing between the West and nuclear-armed fundamentalists. Nothing could be further from the truth. Islamic parties have never garnered more than 13% in any free parliamentary elections in Pakistan.
        Why is it that all terrorist plots - from the Sept. 11 attacks, to Madrid, to London, to Mumbai - seem to have roots in Islamabad? Restoring democracy through free, fair, transparent and internationally supervised elections is the only way to return Pakistan to civilization and marginalize the extremists. A democratic Pakistan, free from the yoke of military dictatorship, would cease to be a breeding ground for international terrorism. The writer served as prime minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996. She lives in exile in Dubai. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Our World Is Divided between Moderates and Extremists Headed by Iran
    - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    The Foreign Minister of Israel told the AIPAC convention on Monday:

    • Our world is changing and being divided between moderates and extremists. Extremist forces seek to transform national conflicts, which are resolvable, into an endless religious war. The extremists are not fighting for their own rights - they are fighting to deprive others of their rights. The extremists want to exploit our values - our desire to resolve conflicts peacefully and our tolerance for others.
    • We can see the extremists headed by Iran, with its proxy Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian Authority. We need a dual strategy that empowers the moderates while, at the same time, weakening the extremists.
    • To address extremism is to address Iran. This is a regime which calls for the destruction of a member of the United Nations, Israel - my home. This alone should deny it a place in the community of nations. It is a regime which denies the Holocaust, while threatening the world with a new one. It is a regime driven by a radical religious ideology with the goal of dominating the region, exporting terror, and preventing peace.
    • The Iranian threat is clear not just to Israel and the Western world. Many Arab and Gulf States feel it too. They also cannot afford a nuclear Iran and, believe me, love for Israel has nothing to do with it.
    • They know, as we do, that even if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict magically disappeared, Iran's radical ideology would remain. And they know that there is no path to a peaceful Middle East that does not involve addressing this threat. The international community must defeat this danger not for Israel's sake, but for the sake of its own security.

        See also AIPAC Convention Video Presentations (Jerusalem Online)

    Subscribe to the Daily Alert

    Unsubscribe from the Daily Alert