Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 16, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

ElBaradei: West "Fails" on Iran Nuclear Fuel (BBC News)
    International efforts to halt Iran's uranium enrichment program have been "overtaken by events," the head of the UN's nuclear agency has said.
    IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei said Tehran now possessed "the knowledge about how to enrich."
    In an interview with the New York Times, he said the focus should now be on trying to stop Iran from going to industrial-scale production.

Egyptian Charged as Spy Praises Israel - Nadia Abou El-Magd (AP/Guardian-UK)
    An Egyptian accused of spying for Israel praised the Jewish state for its advanced technology on Tuesday.
    Mohammed Sayed Saber, 35, a nuclear engineer with Egypt's atomic agency, said, "I don't hide my admiration of Israel....It has reached a very high technological and scientific level....To seek to benefit from Israeli scientific expertise is not shameful or wrong."
    He added, "I don't have animosity toward the Israeli people - why should I? The fact that we had wars against Israel doesn't mean that we remain enemies forever.''

Hamas Member Reveals Details of Attacks - Dion Nissenbaum and Mohammed Najib (McClatchy)
    Bluntly titled "The Engineers of Death," an 80-page booklet by Hamas militant Mohammed Irman offers a remarkable window into the evolution of Hamas strategy as the group tried to demoralize Israel, derail regional peace talks, and establish itself as the dominant Palestinian political movement.
    The glossy red booklet with gruesome images of suicide bombings on the cover is being sold for $2 on the streets of Ramallah.
    On July 31, 2002, Irman's group set off a bomb in Hebrew University's Frank Sinatra cafeteria, killing nine people, including five Americans.
  The group had tried to bomb the cafeteria three days earlier, but the cell phone failed to set off the bomb and the cell member who had sneaked the bomb into the student center brought it back to be repaired.

EU Proposes Monitoring Radical Mosques - Colleen Barry (AP/Washington Post)
    Security officials from Europe's largest countries backed a plan Saturday to profile mosques on the continent and identify radical Islamic clerics who raise the threat of homegrown terrorism.
    The project will focus on the roles of imams, their training, their ability to speak in the local language, and their sources of funding, EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini said after a meeting on terrorism.

Useful Reference:

Videos: Palestinian Terror Rockets Up Close (One Jerusalem)

    See also Video: Palestinian Rocket Hits Sderot House (Sderot Media)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Factional Fighting Terrorizes Gaza - Ibrahim Barzak and Karin Laub
    A total of 15 people were killed in Tuesday's fighting between Hamas and Fatah, as gunmen in black ski masks took up positions in the streets and terrified residents huddled in their homes. In all, at least 28 people have been killed and dozens wounded in this week's fighting. The current fighting had many of the elements of previous Hamas-Fatah clashes: combatants kidnapped scores of rivals, set up roadblocks to search cars, took over rooftops of high-rises and often fired randomly in crowded residential areas. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Reality Overtakes the Illusion of Unity in Gaza - Steven Erlanger
    The continuing battle between Fatah and Hamas for power in Gaza suggests that the Palestinian unity government, put together under Saudi auspices at the end of March, is something of a fiction. It also makes the likelihood of substantive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians ever more distant. On Tuesday Hamas chose to attack the training base of the Presidential Guard, near the Karni crossing, which Fatah men are supposed to protect under Washington's latest security plan for Gaza. The attack seemed aimed as much at the U.S. for siding with Fatah as at the guardsmen themselves, who did not fight very well, witnesses said. (New York Times)
        See also Fatah Bolsters Ranks as Gaza Fighting Intensifies
    Hundreds of gunmen loyal to the Palestinian faction Fatah streamed into Gaza Tuesday from neighboring Egypt after a Hamas attack killed eight people at a Fatah-controlled base near a key Israeli border crossing. (CBC News)
  • Israel Seeks Changes to Stalled U.S. Timetable - Adam Entous
    Israel is pushing for changes to a stalled U.S. timetable calling for Israel and the Palestinians to take specific steps to bolster prospects for peacemaking, officials close to the talks said. The U.S. timeline had asked Israel to take several steps no later than Tuesday. "The timetable was a suggestion and once the proposal becomes something more concrete, then the timetable will be adjusted accordingly," said Prime Minister Olmert's spokeswoman Miri Eisin. (Reuters)
  • U.S. Aims to Establish International Tribunal in Hariri Assassination - Colum Lynch
    The U.S. will introduce a draft Security Council resolution as early as this week to establish an international tribunal that would try alleged perpetrators of the 2005 car-bomb assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri and 22 others, according to Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the UN. Khalilzad's announcement came one day after Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora asked the council to help break an impasse in Lebanon over the creation of an international court. "It's very important that people who have participated in political murder be brought to justice," Khalilzad said. "We understand that there are some risks with regard to taking action, but we believe the risks of not taking action are greater." (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • 20 Israelis Wounded in Palestinian Rocket Barrages Tuesday - Shmulik Hadad
    More than 20 Kassam rockets fired by Palestinians in Gaza landed in the Sderot area Tuesday, in one of the most severe attacks on the town. One rocket directly hit a house, wounding a 45-year-old woman and her son. At least seven more rockets struck Israel on Wednesday morning. Schools will remain closed in Sderot and the western Negev following the escalation in rocket fire from Gaza. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Gunmen Fire on Egyptian Mediators in Gaza
    Palestinian gunmen on Tuesday night fired from a passing car at members of an Egyptian security delegation who were in Gaza to mediate between the warring Fatah and Hamas factions. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Aid to PA Nearly Tripled in '06, Despite International Boycott - Amira Hass
    Donations to the Palestinian Authority almost tripled last year as a result of the international boycott of the Hamas government, according to a report published this month by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Aid in 2006 totaled $900 million, up from $349 million a year earlier. The biggest contributor to the PA last year was the Arab League, which gave $448 million. The EU gave $219 million and the World Bank gave $42 million. In addition, the PA obtained an estimated $180 million by smuggling in cash from abroad. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Battleground in Gaza - Editorial
    Gaza looms as a major battleground in the larger global struggle with jihadism, with the Israeli military squaring off against terrorist proxies of Iran and Syria in addition to al-Qaeda factions burrowing into the region. Hamas has built in essence a 12,000-man militia - two to three times the size of the Hizbullah force in last summer's Lebanon war. Gaza is crawling with hundreds of terrorists. As Gaza descends into chaos, Israel, which withdrew all of its soldiers and civilians from there two years ago in the hope that the Palestinians would respond by building a viable independent state, must decide whether to conduct major military operations against Gaza-based terrorists who are expanding their capability to attack neighboring Israeli towns.
        Since November more than 250 Kassam rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza. In Sderot in Israel, nine- and ten-year-old children in day-care centers routinely practice what to do in the event of rocket strikes, and a week ago a rocket fired from Gaza struck a Sderot house close to a kindergarten. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, tens of thousands of Israeli civilians were within range of Palestinian rockets; today, that figure is 200,000 and growing. (Washington Times)
  • The Sarkozy Victory - Freddy Eytan
    Sarkozy's victory is a defeat for the old ideological Left that has been appearing to many French voters as increasingly obsolete since the collapse of the communist Soviet Union. It also marks a crushing defeat for the extreme anti-Semitic Right and for all the extremists in the Muslim world, and sounds a clear warning to all who violate law and order among the immigrants in France. This is a victory for the sober and liberal Center-Right that advocates real reforms in French society and in Europe with an emphasis on the developing world economy, the free market, and globalization.
        For Sarkozy, both the U.S. and France face the very same security challenges from international Islamist terrorist organizations. If Israel can cultivate ties judiciously with Sarkozy while not subjecting him to a bear hug, he will undoubtedly respond by being an advocate for Israel. Clearly, the change in France's Middle East policy will not be drastic and Paris has many interests in the Arab world and will preserve them. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Hizbullah Fighters Are Preparing for the Next War - Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
    Hizbullah combines Shiite belief with bonds of family and tradition that are shrouded in secrecy and make it one of the most difficult organizations in the world to penetrate. "You don't join the party - you are born in the party," Mohammed, a Hizbullah student leader, tells me. From the time you are a small boy, he says, the party watches you; they monitor your behavior. "When they are sure you are committed...a party officer approaches you." A life of religious studies and indoctrination follows. "After preparing you for months, or even years, you enter the 'junoud,' or soldiers class. They don't teach you how to become a soldier, but you are taught everything about Shiite traditions and beliefs." Not until a novice member has finished all these preparatory courses is he sent to do military training.
        Jameel, a full-time fighter for the party, says, "I really love war....I hate this peacetime....We have to prepare for the arrival of the Mahdi - the Mahdi will not come into a Sunni country. We need to prepare, we have to liberate Jerusalem for the army of the 20 million and create the grand Shiite state." (Guardian/Kuwait Times)
  • Observations:

    Jerusalem and Peace - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)

    • There is no reason or justice in the international refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Every nation has a right to determine its capital, even if the borders of that capital are destined to be the topic of negotiations.
    • In essence, the U.S., Europe, and other nations are acting as if the 1947 UN partition plan, which envisioned Jerusalem as an "international" enclave, is somehow still in force. This is a legally strange position, given that the last binding legal apportionment of this territory was made by the League of Nations, which decided that the entire area that became the British Mandate, including Jerusalem, was to become the Jewish National Home.
    • The UN partition plan, since it was passed by the General Assembly and not the Security Council, has no binding status, and is legally a "recommendation." In any case, the Arab-launched war, according to legal scholar and senior U.S. State Department official Eugene Rostow, "made the Partition Plan irrelevant." The constant litany of nonbinding UN resolutions that unilaterally define Judea and Samaria as "occupied Palestinian territory" have very questionable legal justification.
    • The policy of refusing to recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem, far from encouraging a resolution to the problem, is harmful to the cause of peace. It has encouraged the Arab world, and particularly radical movements like Hamas, to fuel fantasies of destroying the Jewish state.
    • Jerusalem, after all, for both Jews and Arabs, symbolizes Israel as a whole. Jerusalem was the capital of the ancient Jewish state, the site of the First and Second Jewish Temples, and the center of Jewish yearning over two millennia of exile. It should be no surprise if many in the Arab world see success in denying Israel recognition in any part of Jerusalem as representing success in the campaign to deny Israel's right to exist.
    • The opposite policy - that of recognizing that Jerusalem is Israel's capital, even if its borders are disputed - would have a proportionately positive effect on the prospects for peace: it would be taken in the Muslim world as further international rejection of the goal of destroying Israel.

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