Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


May 14, 2007

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas, Al-Qaeda Cooperating - Jonathan D. Halevi (News First Class-Hebrew)
    Hamas and a branch of al-Qaeda are cooperating for terror attacks against Israel.
    A Palestinian security source has confirmed that the Army of Islam is a branch of al-Qaeda and was responsible for the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in a joint operation with Hamas, and also for the kidnapping of the British journalist.
    See also Hamas Activists Moving Over to Al-Qaeda - Jonathan D. Halevi (News First Class-Hebrew)

Israel Campus Beat
- May 13, 2007

Point Counter-Point:
    Should Israel Begin Talks with Syria?

Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah: "We Can Fire 3,000 Rockets a Day" - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
    Hizbullah "could launch between 1,000 and 3,000 rockets daily," its secretary general Hassan Nasrallah claimed in an interview with a Dubai satellite TV station last week.
    Nasrallah's comments were reproduced on Hizbullah's Arabic language website on Saturday, under the heading: "We could launch...3,000 rockets daily in a war in July."

Mubarak Rejects Bridge from Sinai to Saudi Arabia (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said he is opposed to a Saudi plan to build a bridge linking the kingdom with Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Messa reported Sunday.
    "Nobody has talked to us about this," Mubarak said in an interview. "I refuse to build such a bridge or its passing through Sharm el-Sheik."

Hamas' Giant Anti-Israel Mouse Back on the Air (Chicago Tribune)
    A weekly children's show on a Hamas-run TV station featuring a Mickey Mouse look-alike preaching Islamic domination was broadcast as usual Friday, two days after the Palestinian information minister said it would be suspended immediately.

Yemen Recalls Envoys from Iran, Libya over Rebels ((Reuters/Khaleej Times-UAE)
    Yemen said on Saturday it had recalled its ambassadors to Iran and Libya over what it sees as their support for Shia Muslim rebels involved in bloody clashes with government forces.
    Yemeni officials have accused Iran and Libya of supporting the rebels led by Abdul-Malik Al Houthi, who are based in the northern province of Saada.
    Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands have fled their homes due to the clashes between the Zaydi Shia rebels and government forces.

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

  • U.S., Iran Plan Talks on Pacifying Iraq - Michael Abramowitz and Robin Wright
    A White House spokesman said Sunday that U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker will meet with Iranian counterparts in Baghdad to prod Tehran to play a "productive role in Iraq." "The president authorized this channel because we must take every step possible to stabilize Iraq and reduce the risk to our troops, even as our military continue to act against hostile Iranian-backed activity in Iraq," said Gordon D. Johndroe, the spokesman for the National Security Council.
        The administration appears to have concluded that it is worth trying to see whether Iran can use its influence in Iraq to help curb violence and spur political reconciliation. Administration officials stressed that the talks would be limited to the security situation in Iraq and would not include negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, which are being handled by the UN and Europe. (Washington Post)
  • Changes by Iraqi Shiite Party Signal Distancing from Iran - Damein Cave
    The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, one of the country's most powerful Shiite parties, announced Saturday that "revolution" would be dropped from its name and that Iran's top cleric would cease to be the party's dominant spiritual leader. It is unclear, however, if the platform changes will be more than just symbolic. The party's top officials, including its leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, lived in Iran for decades and still frequently return. (New York Times)
  • Kansas Governor Signs Sudan Divestment Law - John Milburn
    Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed a law Friday requiring the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, the state's largest pension fund, to divest its holdings in companies doing in business in Sudan. The measure is designed to pressure Sudan into ending violence in its Darfur region. (AP/Houston Chronicle)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF: U.S. Benchmarks Plan May Spawn More Terror - Amos Harel and Aluf Benn
    Israel's defense establishment says two articles of the Benchmarks Plan, presented to Israel and the PA by the U.S. administration, could lead to an increase in terror attacks. The two issues are the demand that all roadblocks be lifted across the West Bank, particularly in the Nablus area, and the demand for the resumption of "safe passage" for Palestinians between the West Bank and Gaza. Senior Shin Bet and IDF officers said that this would provide Palestinian militants with the opportunity to exploit the breaches to execute attacks inside the "green line."
        Regarding the problem posed by Nablus, a senior IDF officer said the city was the center of terrorism in the West Bank, and this was the sole reason the city was under closure. Only the closures and continuous operations to arrest militants could prevent attacks against Israelis, he said. Overall, Israel is upset with the "patronizing tone" of the document, which Israeli officials consider to be a blatant interference in the country's security considerations. (Ha'aretz)
  • EU, U.S. to Snub Jerusalem Day Celebrations - Barak Ravid
    Ambassadors from the U.S. and the EU countries will not attend the celebrations Wednesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, the Israeli media reported Sunday. All of the embassies in Israel are based in Tel Aviv, and not Jerusalem, due to the disputed status of the capital. The entire city fell under Israeli control during the 1967 Six-Day War, an event marked annually by Jerusalem Day. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Shocked by Sarkozy's Pick for French Foreign Minister - Yaniv Salama-Scheer and Herb Keinon
    French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy has reportedly selected Socialist Hubert Vedrine as his foreign minister. Vedrine served as foreign minister under Prime Minister Lionel Jospin during 1997-2002, in a term characterized as pro-Palestinian and pro-Arab. During the height of the Palestinian violence that began in September 2000, Vedrine advocated economic sanctions against Israel within the EU. The appointment seemed to fly in the face of expectations in Jerusalem that Sarkozy's election would usher in a significantly warmer period in Israeli-French ties. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in northern Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at the western Negev Sunday morning. (Ynet News)
        See also Palestinian Rocket Explodes Near Strategic Facility in Ashkelon - Shmulik Hadad
    A Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians from north Gaza on Friday exploded near a strategic facility in Ashkelon's industrial zone. Workers at the facility said that lately the rocket attacks had become more accurate and powerful. Sappers dispatched to the scene said the rockets were carrying higher-quality explosives. (Ynet News)
  • Hamas-Fatah Violence in Gaza Kills Four Palestinians, Wounds 14 Sunday - Avi Issacharoff
    Four Palestinians were killed and 14 others wounded Sunday in the worst outbreak of factional violence in Gaza since Fatah and Hamas agreed to form a unity government in February. At least 14 people were abducted as well, a Hamas official said. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Two Killed, 10 Wounded in Hamas-Fatah Fighting in Gaza Monday - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
        See also Palestinian Interior Minister Resigns Amid Gaza Violence
    Interior Minister Hani al-Qawasmeh on Monday resigned from the Palestinian unity government amid a dispute over security control following the deadliest factional violence in two months. (AFP)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • No Right of Return, But the Refugee Problem Must Be Solved - Amos Oz
    Each time we Israelis hear the words "the problem of the 1948 refugees," our stomachs knot in anxiety and repudiation. For us, the "refugee problem" has become a synonym for the "right of return," and granting Palestinian refugees the right to return to their original homes means the end of Israel. Perhaps the time has come for us to put our thoughts in order - to make a distinction between the refugee problem and what is called the right of return. After all, the refugee problem can and must be solved, but not by returning the refugees to the territory of the State of Israel within its peace borders.
        The demand that the refugees be returned to Israeli territory must be rejected, because if that were to happen, there would be two Palestinian states and no state at all for the Jewish people. But the problem of the 1948 refugees needs a remedy.
        The 1948 war was a total war, village versus village, neighborhood versus neighborhood. In such wars, populations are uprooted. About a dozen Jewish towns and villages, among them the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City, were conquered in 1948 by the Arabs. The entire Jewish populations of these places were either murdered or forcibly expelled by the Arabs. A comprehensive solution will also need to address the fact that hundreds of thousands of Jews were uprooted from their homes in Arab countries. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • PBS Network Nixes Bombshell "Islam" Flick - Roger L. Simon
    The first thing that attracted me to Martyn Burke's "Islam vs. Islamists" was that PBS had suppressed it. The network rejected Burke's documentary - produced with Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev for the network's "American Crossroads" series - on the film's completion. Burke's doc is a riveting and creatively made film about the most important subject of our time: What to do about radical Islam. It confronts this dilemma in a novel manner, interweaving the stories of good, moderate Muslims with the imams and supposedly "true Muslims" who, not surprisingly, accuse the moderate Muslims of not being Muslims at all. Soon enough we learn these imams are apologists for terrorism and for the worst kind of medieval religious sadism. The mostly mild-mannered moderate Muslims are shown to be at risk for their lives, some of them accompanied everywhere by bodyguards.
        Our Public Broadcasting Service, an organization supported by taxpayer money, is practicing the most obvious censorship. PBS is operating here in the manner of similar institutions in the former Soviet Union and in modern Iran - financing artists and then withholding distribution of their work when it is not deemed ideologically "correct." The writer received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay of "Enemies, A Love Story." (New York Post)
  • Observations:

    The Role of Finance in Combating National Security Threats - Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert M. Kimmitt (U.S. Treasury Department)

    • Under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which provides broad statutory authority to respond to threats, the President issued Executive Order 13382 in 2005. This Executive Order authorizes the Treasury and State Departments to target key nodes of WMD and missile proliferation networks, including their suppliers and financiers, in the same way we target terrorists and their supporters.
    • A designation under Executive Order 13382 denies the targeted entities access to the U.S. financial and commercial systems and puts the international community on notice about the threat posed to global security.
    • The U.S. designated the Iranian state-owned Bank Sepah under E.O. 13382 for providing financial services to Iran's missile program, and this action has had a significant impact. Like other Iranian banks, Bank Sepah engages in a range of deceptive practices in an effort to avoid detection, including requesting other financial institutions to conceal the Sepah name when processing its transactions in the international financial system. Additionally, Bank Sepah has facilitated business between North Korea's chief ballistic missile-related exporter, KOMID, and Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization. KOMID, which has also been designated by the Treasury Department under E.O. 13382, is known to have provided Iran with missile technology. By cutting off Sepah from the U.S. financial system, we have commercially isolated the institution and have made it more difficult for Iran to finance its proliferation-related activities.
    • We have engaged in unprecedented outreach to the international private sector, meeting with more than 40 banks around the world to share information and discuss the risks of doing business with Iran. We are seeing concrete benefits through this partnership. We have learned that the Swiss bank UBS cut off all dealings with Iran, and Credit Suisse and HSBC have also significantly limited their exposure to Iranian business. A number of other foreign banks are refusing to issue new letters of credit to Iranian businesses.
    • Last year the OECD raised the risk rating of Iran. We have seen a sharp decrease in export credits from countries such as Germany, France and Japan. Iran recently announced that it has reallocated its foreign reserves out of dollars. This raises the important point that while a growing number of banks have cut off Iranian business in dollars, they have not yet done so in other currencies.

        See also Iranian Businessmen in Dubai Chafe Over U.S. Restrictions
    Nasser Hashempour, vice president of the Dubai-based Iranian Business Council, says U.S. pressure is persuading international banks to stop dealing with Iranian businesses, and ordinary Iranian commerce is being stifled. As a result, prices of consumer items like food, toothpaste and clothes are on the increase in Iran, he said. International banks have stopped accepting Iranian letters of credit or currency and refuse to work with Iranian banks. "That's one reason Iranians are moving out of Iran because they have to establish relations with foreign banks," he said.
        The Bush administration has tightened financial restrictions on Iran, shutting down operations of Iranian banks in America and warning foreign banks and investors that continued commerce with Iran could cause them problems in the U.S. International banks have curbed most of their dealings inside Iran in recent months, under threat that their U.S. operations will be shut down. The UN sanctions are not targeted at banking, but the U.S. has been successful in stepping up financial pressure independently. (AP/International Herald Tribune)

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert