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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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May 4, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Pakistani Scientist A.Q. Khan Aided Iran, His Nuclear-Secrets Network May Still Be Active - David Montero (Christian Science Monitor)
    Evidence presented this week by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies suggests that Pakistan's nuclear proliferation network, run by scientist A.Q. Khan, is not truly dead.
    Its report also reveals that Khan "provided Iran with centrifuges, technical designs, components, and an 'address book' of suppliers."
    The report suggests that "at least some of Khan's associates appear to have escaped law-enforcement attention and could, after a period of lying low, resume their black-market business."
    Their most likely client is Iran, which "remains the most active customer in the international nuclear black market."

Israel HighWay
- May 3, 2007

Issue of the Week:
    Lag B'Omer

Fatah's Armed Wing Threatens to Hit Targets Outside Territories Unless Economic Embargo Is Lifted - Rami Almeghari (IMEMC-PA)
    Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatened on Thursday to carry out resistance attacks outside Gaza and the West Bank unless the internationally-imposed economic embargo is lifted.
    In a statement sent to reporters, the Brigades held Israel and the U.S. responsible for the financial and political boycott of the Hamas-led coalition government.
    "We will not simply keep idle toward those who are imposing the siege," the statement reads.

Pro-Hamas Newspaper Launched in Gaza - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters)
    Palestinian supporters of Hamas launched a new newspaper on Thursday. Palestine is the pro-Islamist answer to the three largest Palestinian newspapers which have longstanding ties to Fatah, the secular faction of Mahmoud Abbas.
    It is also the first Palestinian newspaper to be printed in Gaza. The other newspapers are produced in the West Bank, which is dominated by Fatah.
    Abbas controls the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation, which includes television and radio.

A Rising Tide of Fury - Tony Blankley (Washington Times)
    Last week the University of Maryland Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) released its most recent survey of Muslim attitudes on America, terrorism and related topics, after surveying attitudes in Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and Morocco.
    From 73% in Indonesia to 92% percent in Egypt, Muslims believe that America's goal is "to weaken and divide the Islamic world."
    Assuming that these four countries' populations represent worldwide Muslim views, about 80% of the 1.4 billion Muslims see America as hostile or an enemy to Islam.

Berber Leader: "There Is No Worse Colonialism Than That of the Pan-Arabists" (MEMRI)
    Belkacem Lounes, president of the World Amazigh Congress, wrote an open letter to Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qaddafi in response to Qaddafi's March 1 speech in which he denied the existence of a Berber or Amazigh people in North Africa.
    In his letter of April 10, Lounes said there are 30 million Amazigh living today in North Africa. He said the Amazigh had played a central role in the fight against European colonialism, but that since independence they had been oppressed by the "internal colonialism" of pan-Arabism.
    "There is no worse colonialism than internal colonialism - that of the pan-Arabist clan that seeks to dominate our people. It is surely Arabism, in that it is an imperialist ideology that refuses any diversity in North Africa, that constitutes a betrayal and an offense to history, truth, and legality."
    Lounes calls on the North African governments to commit to democracy and human rights.

Iran Defends Plan to Expel One Million Afghans (Reuters/Scotsman-UK)
    Iran on Tuesday defended its plan to repatriate one million Afghans living illegally in the Islamic Republic and said 50,000 had been sent home since the campaign was launched.
    The Afghan government on Sunday called on Iran to suspend the repatriations because the country lacked the resources to resettle them.

Israel May Buy Palestinian Gas from Gaza (Middle East Times-Egypt)
    Israel has approved in principle the purchase of Palestinian gas from British Gas, the company developing a field off the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Olmert's office said Sunday.
    "If such a contract is finalized, it can bring the Palestinian Authority dividends worth tens of millions of dollars per year," Israeli army radio reported.

Microsoft Plans to Invest $100M in Israel - Matthew Krieger (Jerusalem Post)
    Software giant Microsoft Corp. plans to spend $100 million over the next five years to expand activities and investments at its Israeli research and development centers.
    See also Microsoft: We've Spent $200M on R&D in Israel - Shmulik Shelah (Globes)
    Microsoft corporate VP for Israel Research & Development Moshe Lichtman said that last year the company doubled the manpower at its R&D centers in Israel and spent $200 million on new R&D activity in the country.

Healthier Coke Only in Israel - Navit Zomer (Ynet News)
    Coca-Cola Israel will be the first to produce a healthier version of the drink without preservatives or artificial food coloring, while at the same time maintaining its taste, shelf-life, and kashrut.
    Muzi Werthiem, Cola-Cola Israel's owner, received permission from the president of the Coca-Cola Company for the advanced technological procedure.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. and Syria Discuss Iraq - Helene Cooper and Michael Slackman
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met on Thursday with Syria's foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, in the first high-level diplomatic contact between Washington and Damascus in more than two years. The 30-minute meeting came in the middle of two days of international talks on Iraq at Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt. Rice asked that Syria, with its porous border with Iraq, do more to restrict the flow of foreign fighters. Rice characterized her meeting with Moallem as "professional," adding, "I didn't lecture him, and he didn't lecture me." (New York Times)
        See also Iranian Minister Avoids Dinner with Secretary of State Rice
    Iran's foreign minister abruptly left a dinner where he was to sit opposite U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, complaining that a red dress worn by an entertainer was too revealing, a U.S. official said on Friday. Expectations had been high that Rice might use a dinner held on the sidelines of an Iraq conference in Egypt on Thursday to get to know Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, but instead the foreign minister left as guests were being seated. "I am not sure which woman he was afraid of, the woman in the red dress or the secretary of state," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. (Reuters)
  • Projectile Bomb Attacks Hit Record High in Iraq, U.S. Says Weapons Are Made in Iran - Ann Scott Tyson
    Attacks in Iraq involving lethal weapons that U.S. officials say are made in Iran hit a record high last month. The number of attacks with armor-piercing weapons known as explosively formed projectiles rose to 65 in April, said Lt.-Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who oversees day-to-day U.S. military operations in Iraq. The growing use of the projectiles is a major concern for American commanders because the weapons are powerful enough to punch through the heaviest U.S. armored vehicles, including the Abrams tank. To function correctly, the projectiles require components with sophisticated machining that often come from Iran, according to U.S. military officials. (Washington Post)
  • Saudi Arabia, Egypt to Be Linked by Bridge Over Gulf of Aqaba - Richard Beeston
    Saudi Arabia and Egypt are putting the final touches to an ambitious project to span the Gulf of Aqaba, creating a direct link between Africa and Arabia. King Abdullah, the Saudi monarch, is expected to lay the foundation stone for the causeway when he visits the northern province of Tabuk next week. The project would involve the construction of two bridges across the Tiran Strait spanning a total distance of about 15 miles (25km) and could be completed by 2012.
        The bridge would cut across a busy channel through which commercial shipping passes to Eilat, in Israel, and Aqaba, in Jordan. Israel may have strong objections to the causeway if it were not satisfied that the security of its ships could be guaranteed. Attempts by Egypt to ban Israeli shipping from the Gulf of Aqaba were one of the reasons for the outbreak of the Six-Day War forty years ago. (Times-UK)
  • Judge in AIPAC Ex-Lobbyists' Trial Rebukes Prosecution for Delays
    A federal judge rebuked intelligence agencies Wednesday for delaying the classified information trial against two former AIPAC staffers for nearly two years. "These people have sat around indicted for years. They are entitled to a trial," Judge T.S. Ellis III told Thomas Reilly, the prosecution lawyer who represents the intelligence agencies. "You need to get with it now." Ellis was reacting to Reilly's request for another postponement. The judge set a May 21 deadline. (JTA)
  • Former CIA Director: Ohio Could Make Big Splash in Move to Boycott Iran - John McCarthy
    Ohio can make a splash in international politics if it agrees to divest itself of dealings with companies that do business with Iran, former CIA Director James Woolsey said Thursday as he testified on behalf of a bill that would strip Ohio's public investments from international companies doing business with Iran. "It's important because [Ohio] is populous and a swing state in presidential elections," Woolsey said after testifying before the House Financial Institutions, Real Estate and Securities Committee.
        The bill sponsored by Reps. Josh Mandel of suburban Cleveland and Shannon Jones of Springboro would require the state's five public pension funds to dump investments in companies that do business with Iran. Whatever Iran "decides to do by way of talking with the United States or not talking with the United States, this genocidal talk and terrorist support is just unacceptable," Woolsey said. (AP/Akron Beacon Journal)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Egyptians Weigh Idea of Moat for Gaza Border - Yaakov Katz
    Egypt has expressed newfound interest in allowing Israel to construct a moat along the Philadelphi Route separating Sinai from Gaza to combat Palestinian weapons smuggling, say senior Israeli defense officials. Last month, the head of the IDF Planning Branch, Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan, traveled to Egypt for talks with security officials there about areas of cooperation. Nehushtan raised the possibility of the moat with the Egyptians and was told that they would consider it positively. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hizbullah Offers Former Israeli Arab MK Asylum in Lebanon - Roee Nahmias
    Dr. Ahmad Mali, a member of Hizbullah's political council, said Thursday that former Israeli Arab MK Azmi Bishara would be welcome in Lebanon. Bishara left Israel for a tour of Arab countries three weeks ago and submitted his resignation from the Knesset at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Israel has accused Bishara of receiving large sums of money from a foreign agent for transferring intelligence and giving strategic advice to Hizbullah. (Ynet News)
  • Hamas: "The Extermination of the Jews Is Good for the World" - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
    The extermination of Jews is Allah's will and is for the benefit of all humanity, according to the Hamas paper Al-Risalah of April 23. Kan'an Ubayd explains that the suicide operations carried out by Hamas are committed solely to fulfill Allah's wishes. Furthermore, Allah demanded this action because "the extermination of the Jews is good for the inhabitants of the world." It should be noted that Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf: "When I defend myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." (Palestinian Media Watch)
  • NATO Finances Technion Research to Protect Water Supplies - Jonny Paul
    NATO is financing research at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa on protecting water supply systems against biological and chemical terrorism. Prof. Israel Schechter of the Faculty of Chemistry said: "In the wake of the discovery of al-Qaeda documents and plans in Afghanistan, the FBI was alerted that the organization was planning a terror attack on water sources. It became apparent that water distribution systems in the U.S., Israel, and the rest of the world's developed nations are totally exposed."
        Previously, chemical attacks on water supplies were considered very difficult to carry out because the contaminants would be quickly diluted. However Schechter identified a way in which a handful of a certain type of poison could be put into water sources and cause mass fatalities despite the dilution factor. He then began to develop a device to detect the chemical poisoning of water and neutralize it. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Fire Rockets and Mortars at Israel
    The An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), launched two 100mm mortars and two rockets at Nahal Oz, east of Gaza, on Thursday at dawn. The Al-Aqsa Brigades of Fatah claimed responsibility on Wednesday for launching two 80mm mortars at Kfar Aza, also east of Gaza. (Maan News-PA)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • America Should Press Damascus to Let Go of Lebanon - Michael Young
    Up to now, the Syrians have successfully pushed their allies in Beirut to block creation of a tribunal to deal with the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. However, UN officials and the five permanent members of the Security Council have indicated that if this continues, the tribunal will be set up under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Even Russia has said it would not veto this. Syria is continuing to supply weapons to Hizbullah, in breach of Security Council Resolution 1701, and it still refuses to recognize Lebanese sovereignty, establish an embassy in Beirut, or delineate borders with its neighbor.
        Three conditions must govern any contact with the Assad regime: First, Syria must prove it accepts the Hariri tribunal by discontinuing efforts to thwart its endorsement in Lebanon. Second, Syria must respect UN resolutions on Lebanon, and end its destabilization efforts and the arming of Hizbullah and other groups. Third, Damascus must formally accept Lebanese sovereignty and agree to the opening of embassies and a delineation of the border with Lebanon. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also UN to Weigh Lebanon Options - Patrick Worsnip (Reuters)
  • "Israel Won the War Against Hizbullah" - Interview with Amir Taheri by Ruthie Blum
    Q: Hasn't Hizbullah emerged strengthened as a result of the war in Lebanon last summer?
    Taheri: No, it has been destroyed. Israel won the war against Hizbullah. As long as Hizbullah controlled southern Lebanon, it could exert "proximity pressure" on Israel. That situation has changed; that status quo no longer exists. That Hizbullah tried to camouflage its defeat by provoking a political crisis in Lebanon is also an indication of its understanding that the situation has changed. It may become stronger in the future, but the Israelis killed 637 Hizbullah warriors out of a full-time fighting force of about 2,000 - about a quarter of its fighters. It also lost literally all of its missile launching pads in the south, many missiles and arsenals. In other words, it lost manpower, territory, and weaponry.
        Altogether, Hizbullah is in a very dangerous situation because it found out that Iran does not want allies; it wants agents. Suddenly, Hizbullah is so tied to the Islamic Republic that it has lost its maneuverability.
    Q: How dangerous is Ahmadinejad?
    Taheri: He is dangerous because he controls the resources of a major and powerful state.
    Q: Isn't Khamenei the one calling the shots?
    Taheri: It doesn't work this way - with Ahmadinejad saying, "Let's go to war," and Khamenei saying, "No." Prudence dictates taking Ahmadinejad seriously and assuming that he has the power - even if he doesn't. It's like when Hitler came to power, and the British and the French said, "But there's still [president Paul von] Hindenburg."
    Amir Taheri is former editor-in-chief of Kayhan, Iran's main daily newspaper. (Jerusalem Post)
  • An Iranian-Arab Alliance? - Ayman El-Amir
    A new sense of Arab empowerment could shift the political and strategic balance in the region by reshaping alliances in such a way as to demonstrate to the U.S. that it is not the reigning regional power with Israel as proxy pro-consul. As the U.S. defeat in Iraq undermines its global influence, Iran's rising power will not be stymied by U.S. threats. Despite all U.S.-Israeli attempts to provoke a Shia-Sunni war, an Iranian-Arab alliance is the Middle East's last and best hope for balanced security, regional stability, and the elimination of foreign hegemony. The writer, a former correspondent for Al-Ahram in Washington, D.C., also served as director of UN Radio and Television in New York. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
  • In Jihadist Haven in Jordan, a Goal: To Kill and Die in Iraq - Souad Mekhennet and Michael Moss
    In Zarqa, Jordan, Abu Ibrahim considers his dead friends the lucky ones. Four died in Iraq in 2005. Three more died this year, one with an explosives vest and another at the wheel of a bomb-laden truck. Abu Ibrahim, 24, was on the same mission when he was arrested at the border. Back home, he's biding his time, he said, for another chance to hurl himself into martyrdom. Zarqa, home of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq who was killed last summer, is known as a cradle of Islamic militancy. (New York Times)
  • Catalytic Converters - Andrew Tabler
    Since the war in Lebanon last summer, media in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have reported that Sunnis, taken with Hizbullah's charismatic Shiite leader Hassan Nasrallah and his group's "resistance" to Israel, were converting to Shiite Islam. When I recently visited eastern Syria, Sunni tribal leaders whispered stories of Iranians roaming the Syrian countryside handing out bags of cash and macaroni to convert families and even entire villages to Shiite Islam.
        Over the last five years, Iranian donors have financed the restoration of half a dozen Shiite tombs and shrines in Syria and built a Shiite religious school near Damascus named after Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Iran and the Shiite militias it supports in Iraq sponsor a number of Arabic-language Internet portals as well as satellite TV stations broadcasting Shiite religious programming into Syria. (New York Times)
  • Confronting Israeli Realities with Dutch Ones - Interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali by Manfred Gerstenfeld
    A crucial element of Israel's success is the unifying factor among its immigrants. What binds them is being Jewish. Such a bond is lacking in the Netherlands, where the immigrants' background is diverse and also differs greatly from that of the Netherlands, including religion. In socialist eyes, whoever is not white or Western is a victim and this includes Muslims, Palestinians and immigrants. These people, however, are responsible for their acts like anybody else.
        There are many cases of extreme racism perpetrated by the minorities in the Netherlands, including a number of honor killings. Those who propagate the image of the Netherlands as a tolerant country do not understand the difference between being tolerant and tolerating intolerance. The crisis of Dutch socialism can be sized up in its attitudes toward both Islam and Israel. It holds Israel to exceptionally high moral standards. The standards for judging the Palestinians, however, are very low. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    Weekend Features

  • Egypt Targets Web-Savvy Opponents - Dan Murphy
    Abdel Moneim Mahmoud is a technologically savvy member of Egypt's main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood. Mahmoud and other like-minded 20-somethings have been pushing the Brotherhood to focusing on the Internet to recruit young Egyptians and to build alliances with secular activists in the fight for reform. The journalist and human rights lawyer is spreading the word on his Arab-language blog, "I am a Brother." But while attracting new interest in the Brotherhood, he's drawn the attention of security services, too. Mahmoud now languishes in Egypt's feared Tora prison, though he has not yet been charged with any crime. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Book Review: A Palestinian Two-Step - Efraim Karsh
    In Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life, Sari Nusseibeh misses no opportunity to denigrate and delegitimize Israel through sharp, short, often subtle yet always false readings of history. His text is marred by countless factual errors and inaccuracies that cast a serious doubt on the validity of his personal narrative, not to mention the wider historical and political picture he seeks to paint. The British foreign secretary who made the famous declaration (in November 1917) on "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" was Mr. Arthur James Balfour, not "Lord Alfred Balfour," and the declaration was made in a letter to Lord Rothschild, not to Chaim Weizmann.
        If the Arabs reverted to violence, as they occasionally did, it was invariably the Jews' fault, according to Nusseibeh. The 1929 massacres, for example, in which 133 Jews were slaughtered by their Arab neighbors, and hundreds more were wounded, were but "a nasty backlash among Muslims" to Zionist nationalist aspirations regarding the Wailing Wall; just as Arafat's war of terror was a logical reaction to Ariel Sharon's short stroll along the Temple Mount. But then, why should Muslims act differently when Jews, who have no valid claim to Palestine, let alone to the Wailing Wall - "a most likely candidate for being the wall of a fortress built for Roman legions" - make outrageous demands on this holy Muslim site. (New York Sun)
  • Book Review: The Death and Rebirth of Kfar Etzion - Yair Sheleg
    Amia Lieblich, a professor emeritus of psychology at Hebrew University, tells the story of The Children of Kfar Etzion. During the War of Independence in 1948, Kibbutz Kfar Etzion's male population was killed almost in its entirety by the Jordanian Legion. Many of the men were slaughtered after they had surrendered. Since most of the children and all of the women had been evacuated from the kibbutz some months earlier, the tragedy of Kfar Etzion is also one of several dozen people whom the massacre turned into widows and orphans. Lieblich describes the annual memorial services and the observation, from a distance, of the village's lone oak tree, a focal point of longing. The book's second part is devoted to the great drama of the kibbutz's resettlement after the Six-Day War. Ten of the children of Kfar Etzion now live in the renewed kibbutz, and several others live nearby. (Ha'aretz)
  • International Scientists Learn How Israel Combats Desertification with Forestry - Avi Hein
    When Mark Twain visited Israel in 1867, he wrote, "We hardly saw a tree anywhere." "Making the desert bloom" has been a core component of the Zionist ethos throughout the decades. Today, what was once desert is now forest. Over 150 researchers and foresters from around the world convened in Jerusalem last month to learn Israel's techniques for making the desert recede. The secret to Israel's success, said Dr. Nir Atzmon of Israel's Volcani Center, is that there is no alternative. "We are a small country. We don't have much we should take very good care of it." (Israel 21C/Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Observations:

    Arabian Delusions - Zalman Shoval (Washington Times)

    • Saudi Arabia and the other pro-Western, mostly Sunni, Arab states do indeed have concerns with regard to the strategic and geopolitical designs of Iran, but Tehran does not threaten to eradicate the Arab states as it threatens Israel.
    • Yet the focus of the Arab leaders is not on peace with Israel - or even the plight of the Palestinians - but on trying to use the Israeli-Palestinian card to gain support against Iran from within their own people.
    • The Arab plan is not about negotiations at all, but about forcing Israel to pay in advance for the privilege of conducting sham negotiations. The Arab summit at Riyadh said: First we command Israel to accept our conditions, withdraw to the June 4, 1967, lines, and hand over the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee to Syria and eastern Jerusalem to the future Palestinian state as its capital, and only then shall we negotiate with you.
    • There's already a formula for such negotiations, UN Security Council Resolution 242 which includes both the aspects of territorial withdrawals and Israel's security needs. So does the letter written by President Bush to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004. In this spirit, peace could indeed be achieved. Unfortunately, the Arab world chose to continue its traditional and unrealistic intransigence.
    • Peace between the wider Arab world and the Jewish state is not impossible. A general Arab-Israeli detente, including steps that would benefit everyone in the region, would create the climate for eventually moving the Palestinian problem toward an equitable solution based on mutual compromise.
    • Israel under all its leaders has been ready to compromise. If only the Arabs, including the Palestinians, would abandon all-or-nothing delusions.

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