Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


July 23, 2007

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Hizbullah: We Can Strike at Every Part of Israel - Yoav Stern and Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah told Al-Jazeera Sunday that his organization is able to strike at every part of Israel, and had the same capability during the Second Lebanon War last summer.
    See also IDF Says Hizbullah Hiding Rockets from UN Forces - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Since its reinforced deployment last August, UNIFIL has carried out extensive searches in more than 90% of southern Lebanon's open areas, where UN patrols have found and destroyed Hizbullah arms, including Katyusha launchers, Katyusha rockets and explosives.
    As an alternative, Hizbullah is trying to transfer significant numbers of its short-range Katyusha rockets into built-up areas, mostly in the dozens of Shi'ite villages south of the Litani, to hide them from UNIFIL.

U.S. Spy Chief: Bin Laden Alive in Pakistan - Jitendra Joshi (The Australian)
    Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden is alive in lawless parts of Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan, U.S. intelligence chief Mike McConnell said Sunday.
    McConnell blamed Pakistani President Musharraf's government for allowing al-Qaeda to regroup, but said Musharraf remained a key ally of the U.S.
    A new report by the U.S. intelligence community last week said al-Qaeda had regrouped in its Pakistani "safe haven'' and was determined to inflict mass casualties through new attacks on the U.S.

U.S. Says Chinese Missiles Smuggled through Iran into Iraq (AFX/Forbes)
    The U.S. military has found Chinese-made missiles smuggled into Iraq by groups in Iran in order to arm groups fighting U.S.-led forces, U.S. military spokesman Admiral Mark Fox said.
    Other weapons seized by Iraqi and U.S. forces are clearly of Iranian manufacture, Fox said.

Fatah-Affiliated Fighters Refuse to Hand Over Weapons or Renounce Violence Against Israel (Ma'an News-PA)
    The official spokesperson of the Fatah-affiliated Martyr Abu Ammar Brigades, Abu Mohammad, announced that the group refuses to hand over its weapons or renounce violence against Israel.
    The announcement follows the declaration of the main military wing of Fatah, the Al Aqsa Brigades, last Sunday that its fighters had abandoned the armed struggle against Israel.

Hamas Councilmen Resign After Fatah Threats (Ma'an News-PA)
    Three Hamas members of the West Bank city of Ramallah's municipal council have handed in their resignations as a result of death threats against them and their families, reportedly from "unknown persons from Fatah," they said.

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

  • U.S. Scales Back Other Diplomacy to Focus on Iraq, Mideast - Peter Baker
    President Bush and his Cabinet are scaling back their personal diplomacy around the world to focus more intently on Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. In the past two weeks, Bush canceled a summit with Southeast Asian leaders in Singapore, Secretary of State Rice scrapped a trip to Africa and decided to skip a meeting in the Philippines, and Defense Secretary Gates put off a swing through Latin America. The decisions underscore how much Iraq and the Middle East have come to consume Bush's presidency. (Washington Post)
  • Al-Qaeda Threatens; U.S. Frets - Mark Mazzetti and David E. Sanger
    In the Bush administration's first analysis of what went wrong in the years leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, it concluded that the Clinton administration was sleepwalking as al-Qaeda strengthened its safe haven in Afghanistan. Now, as a National Intelligence Estimate released last week makes clear, the Bush White House finds itself in a similar predicament. Al-Qaeda has reconstituted itself in the wild west tribal areas of Pakistan. It is stronger than at any time in years, and it is actively plotting new attacks. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Saudi Arabia Backs Out of Arab Peace Initiative - Smadar Peri
    Saudi Arabia has dropped its support for a land-for-peace deal between Israel and the Arab world over fears of al-Qaeda attacks, an Israeli official said Saturday. "We estimate the Saudis got cold feet over suspicions of Iran and fears of terror attacks sponsored by Iran and al-Qaeda," the official said. The official added that Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman raised the issue of Saudi Arabia with President Bush during a visit to Washington last week.
        When Bush announced plans to hold a conference in his speech about the Middle East last week, Saudi Arabia failed to announce whether it would attend the regional meeting. The official added that Saudi Arabia feared that isolating Hamas would push it into Iran's arms and exacerbate Tehran's financial support to radical Palestinian groups. Saudi Arabia's stance set alarms ringing in Amman and prompted the Jordanian monarch to seek an emergency meeting with President Bush. (Ynet News)
  • Report: Iran to Fund Syrian Arms Deals - Roee Nahmias
    According to a report published Saturday in the London-based Asharq al-Awsat, Iran will help Syria fund future arms deals with North Korea and Russia. In return, Assad promised Ahmadinejad to refrain from entering peace talks with Israel. The two leaders Thursday signed a comprehensive agreement on strategic cooperation in Damascus, according to which Iran will transfer $1 billion to Syria for the purchase of 400 advanced T-72 Russian tanks, 18 MiG-31 warplanes, eight Sukhoi fighter jets, and eight Mikoyan helicopters. In addition, Iran will help Syria set up a mid-range missile manufacturing plant and equip the Syrian army with Iranian-made armored vehicles and tanks. The Syrian navy will receive C-801 and C-802 missiles, developed by China, which are currently being produced in Iran, as well as training for its air force and navy officers in Iran. Tehran will also assist Syria in developing a nuclear research program and advance its biological weapons capabilities. (Ynet News)
        See also Treat This with a Grain of Salt - Zvi Bar'el
    The report of Iranian opposition figure Dr. Ali Reza Nourizadeh in Asharq al-Awsat regarding the arms deal between Iran and Syria should be read with great caution. In order to procure the weapons and equipment mentioned in the report, especially the MiG-31E fighters and the 400 T-72 tanks, Syria needs four or five times the sum that it is allegedly receiving from Iran. (Ha'aretz)
  • Foreign Ministry Concerned about Iran's Ties with South America - Barak Ravid
    Israel's Foreign Ministry is concerned about Iran's activities in South America including a high number of embassy officials who could be taking part in terror. Iran has opened embassies in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Chile, and has also enlarged its missions in Venezuela, Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia. The Foreign Ministry says these embassies have an "astronomical number" of diplomats, in no proportion to their needs. In Nicaragua there are 30 Iranian diplomats, with a similar number in Venezuela and other countries. Israel fears that these are intelligence operatives also involved in terror.
        Over the past two years, Venezuelan President Chavez has been in Tehran six times and Ahmadinejad has visited Caracas twice. A direct flight between Tehran and Caracas, which refuels in Damascus, has carried thousands of Iranians. According to international media reports, Venezuela intends to sell uranium to Iran. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Rocket Attack Wounds Israeli - Shmulik Hadad
    A Palestinian rocket fired from Gaza injured a woman Sunday in the Sapir College parking lot near Sderot. Another rocket hit a sports field near an elementary school in Sderot. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Byline for Hamas? - Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper
    First, the New York Times and the Washington Post simultaneously ran Op-Ed articles by Ahmed Yousef, a senior leader of Hamas who defended his group's bloody putsch in Gaza. Now, the Los Angeles Times has opened its Op-Ed page to Hamas political bureau deputy Mousa Abu Marzook. Whatever happened to the basic standards that civilized people are expected to live by? Why is the Times conferring a journalistic honoris causa degree on terrorists whose modus operandi is to deliberately target innocent civilians of all faiths on buses, in theaters and in shopping malls?
        Hamas' views deserve real-time coverage, just the way the statements and actions of Hitler and Stalin received coverage. But such people do not deserve the status of a sagely byline, because that destroys the distinction between honorable men and women bound by basic principles of humanity and the despots and terrorists eager to destroy those values. If the criteria is simply because "it is an important story," then would the editors have welcomed articles by Auschwitz's Dr. Josef Mengele justifying his gruesome medical experiments, or by the Virginia Tech killer explaining why he committed mass murder? When will Osama bin Laden's guest column appear? Newspapers don't have the right to bestow editorial credibility on those bent on genocide. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Reading Between the Lines of President Bush's Middle East Speech - Robert Satloff
    In President Bush's July 16 address on the Middle East, gone is any discussion of three phases of mutual and parallel progress; gone is any reference to the idea of a Palestinian state within provisional borders. In its place is a commitment to "intensify" efforts to sketch out a "political horizon" for a Palestinian state and, as progress is made on institutional reform, a commitment "soon [to] begin serious negotiations toward the creation of a Palestinian state" - i.e., phase three of the Roadmap. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • America and the House of Saud: A Failed Alliance - Reza Zarabi
    The billions of U.S. dollars annually spent on Saudi oil seldom reciprocate loyalty, as seen in the fact that roughly 45% of all foreign combatants in the Iraq war theater come solely from Saudi Arabia. For years, many in the West have expressed their outrage at the Wahhabist odium towards religious plurality, the backwards indoctrination of Saudi schoolchildren, the apocalyptic conspiracy theories that are rife in Saudi state-run media, and the profound antipathy that the majority in their religious establishment have towards Western values. For years, successive American administrations have courted Saudi allegiance, yet they have turned a blind eye to the Saudi government's rampant human rights abuses, support for terrorism, and mass indoctrination of Stalinist ideology upon their public. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Damage Control in the Mideast - David Ignatius (Washington Post)

    • The goal of the Bush administration's Middle East conference is to get Arab buy-in before negotiations and thereby give Mahmoud Abbas some political cover. Administration officials complain that in the past, the Arabs verbally supported the idea of a negotiated settlement, only to abandon the process when the bargaining reached sensitive issues that would require compromise.
    • The new talk about negotiations reflects the changed dynamics in the Palestinian territories, following the radical Hamas government's armed takeover in Gaza last month. The unintended consequence of that putsch by the radicals was that it opened the way for Abbas and his moderate allies to intensify their diplomatic contacts with the U.S. and Israel.
    • This amounts to a "West Bank first" strategy, since that's the only territory Abbas now controls. But administration officials hope that as negotiations move forward, those in Hamas who want a Palestinian state will split from more radical allies and form a political party that could draw Gaza into the negotiations.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert