Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 14, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Libya Stalls on Vow to Destroy Uranium Stock - Katherine Griffiths (Telegraph-UK)
    Nuclear experts claim that Libya is sitting on a stockpile of almost 200 barrels of uranium despite agreeing in 2003 to dismantle its nuclear program.
    The uranium, in the form of 1,000 tons of yellowcake ore, is stored at a military base in Sabha.
    See also below Commentary: The Crazy World of Colonel Gadhafi - Youssef Ibrahim (New York Sun)

UK Blocks Israel Arms Deals - George Conger (Jerusalem Post)
    The British government has blocked almost one third of British military exports to Israel this year, citing possible threats to regional stability and fears the equipment might facilitate human rights violations.
    According to official figures, the value of UK military sales to Israel declined by one-third last year, and has fallen by 75% since 2005.

The Strategic Alliance Between Iran and Syria - Y. Mansharof and O. Winter (MEMRI)
    Cooperation between Iran and Syria has recently broadened in a variety of areas, including the military, security, economic and scientific spheres. On June 16, 2006, one month before the 2006 Hizbullah-Israel war, Asharq Al-Awsat reported on a military cooperation agreement between Iran and Syria.
    The agreement stipulated that Iran would fund Syria's purchase of military equipment from Russia, China, and Ukraine, and would train Syrian navy personnel.
    Syria, in turn, would continue to permit the flow of Iranian military aid to Hizbullah in Lebanon to pass through its territory.

PA Pays Prisoners in Israeli Jails (Maan News-PA)
    PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Ashraf Ajrami said Sunday that two-month's allowance for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails were to be paid on Monday.

Jordan Scholar Imprisoned for E-mails - Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times)
    Ahmad Oweidi, 62, author of dozens of books about Jordan and its tribal roots, wrote a letter in April to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid alleging corruption involving the Jordanian Ministry of Interior and the court of King Abdullah II.
    He posted the note on the website of his political party and was arrested on May 3.
    "This is the first time that someone has been arrested in Jordan because of what they posted online," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement.

Jerusalem Dentist, Aged 97, Still Practicing - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
    Dr. Vladimir (Zeev) Lencovski, 97, continues to receive patients in his central Jerusalem dental clinic.
    Lencovski was born in Romania, survived the Holocaust, and immigrated to Israel in 1963.
    "My hands do not shake and my legs are good so why not work?" he asks.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hamas Militiamen Beat Gaza Protesters - Ibrahim Barzak
    Hamas militiamen beat protesters with clubs and rifle butts to try to stop a demonstration by political opponents in Gaza on Monday, but hundreds chanting "We want freedom" defied the ban. Hamas men arrested several demonstrators and confiscated equipment from news photographers and cameramen seeking to cover the arrests. Hamas has banned "all demonstrations and public gatherings" that do not have special permission. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also As Dissent Grows in Gaza, Hamas Tightens Its Grip - Isabel Kershner
    The secular opposition in Gaza, led by Fatah, has been showing signs of an awakening after the initial shock of Hamas' takeover. "It seems that after two months, people in Gaza feel obliged to stand up against the decisions of the [Hamas] Executive Force," said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University in Gaza, which is affiliated with Fatah. (New York Times)
  • In Gaza, Even a Hospital Is a Battlefield - Neil Genzlinger
    "Gaza E.R.," a documentary by Olly Lambert to be broadcast Tuesday on PBS, looks at the goings-on inside Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza, where heavily armed thugs try to bully doctors in the hallways and gun battles are regular occurrences. The film, which picks up a few months after Hamas came to power in early 2006, captures such episodes and more, as various factions and families carry their disputes inside the hospital when their wounded are brought in for treatment. The hospital becomes a battleground even as it is running out of medicine and supplies, Hamas seeming not up to the task of governing. (New York Times)
  • Hizbullah Museum Celebrates "Divine Victory" Over Israel - Borzou Daragahi
    In mostly Shiite southern Beirut, a ruined district subjected to Israeli airstrikes in last summer's war, Hizbullah has opened a museum called the House of the Spider to celebrate its "divine victory" and demonize Israel. It includes the re-creation of a Hizbullah guerrilla base, with mannequins in camouflage uniforms looking at maps of northern Israel and punching Israeli grid coordinates into laptop computers. Visitors navigate past the wreckage of Israeli tanks, captured Israeli walkie-talkies, a downed helicopter and bloodied boots. A television screen loops a video game in which a Hizbullah fighter hunts down enemy armor. Footage of exploding Israeli tanks plays inside a darkened theater. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Hizbullah Exhibit Celebrates War "Heroes" - Ferry Biedermann
    Relatively little space at the exhibition is devoted to the impact of the war on the Lebanese population. Instead, the emphasis lies squarely on what Hizbullah portrays as the heroism of its fighters and the vulnerability of the Israeli soldiers. There is no trace of the operation that kicked off the war: Hizbullah's cross-border raid in which two Israeli soldiers were captured and three others killed. (Financial Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S. Lawmaker Slams Hamas Payments - Herb Keinon
    Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA), the third-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, sent a letter to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayad demanding an explanation for his government's transfer of salary payments to Hamas. "Without further explanation from you, I will feel compelled, upon returning to Washington, to forewarn my colleagues in the Congress that any visits with your government offer little value," said Cantor. "Furthermore, I will help lead opposition in Congress to any proposed call for additional U.S. taxpayer dollars being sent to the Palestinian Authority." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Gaza's Singaporean Dream Turns Afghan - Ali Waked
    Fatah strongman Mohammad Dahlan, who was in charge of coordinating Israel's disengagement, promised to turn the Gaza Strip into the "Singapore of the Middle East." Two years later, the situation in Gaza is a far cry from Dahlan's dream. 70% of the greenhouses left intact by Israel are almost completely destroyed. The plastic covers and steel arcs that once formed the greenhouses have been stolen and sold by looters. Roads and other infrastructure networks are unrecognizable. Palestinian armed groups set up training camps and military bases on lands evacuated by Israel. Many Palestinians believe that al-Qaeda's fundamental Islamic ideology is spreading in Gaza. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Bankrupting Iran Is Not Enough - Caroline Glick
    Unfortunately, the probability that in the foreseeable future Iran's economic problems will cause the regime to moderate its policies or bring regime opponents to power in Iran's parliament is not high. Moreover, Ahmadinejad has responded to his economic failures by further strengthening his control over the economy. Sunday the Iranian media announced that Ahmadinejad had sacked the country's oil and industry ministers. Both men had worked to prevent Ahmadinejad from completing his takeover of the economy. With the two powerful ministries now under his full control, there is little doubt that he will intensify both his consolidation of power and his repression of his critics.
        While it is possible that Ahmadinejad's economic mismanagement may at the end of the day capsize his regime by bankrupting the country, there is no reason to believe that this will occur before Iran acquires nuclear weapons. Today Iran is enriching uranium in some 3,000 centrifuges at its nuclear installation in Natanz. Last month, an Iranian official stated that this is sufficient to make a nuclear bomb. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Crazy World of Colonel Gadhafi - Youssef Ibrahim
    In the mid-1980s, I had an eight-hour session with Colonel Muammar Gadhafi that began at midnight. It essentially consisted of an uninterrupted monologue about his theories on human evolution, relations between males and females, and his belief that Shakespeare was an Arab Bedouin whose original name was Sheik Zubair. (No kidding.) A few years ago, Colonel Gadhafi's daughter famously declared that she was quitting the Sorbonne in Paris because she said political science was a fake Western invention to exploit the world. His sons, who hold the right of life and death over Libya's population, barely completed middle school. The great leader himself is so heavily medicated that his conversations are fittingly out of this world.
        Libya ranks as an ongoing nut case. It was let out of a straightjacket of sanctions a few years ago in return for turning over its security files on the wide variety of terror groups it supported. If anything, the Bulgarian hostage situation demonstrates that a family of unstable thugs has hijacked Libya. Treating Libya as if it were a real country, meriting two visits in the past few weeks from Britain's former prime minister, Tony Blair, and President Sarkozy of France, is simply absurd. (New York Sun)
  • A Window of Opportunity for Israel-Palestinian Peace? - Barry Rubin
    Is there a window of opportunity for Israel-Palestinian peace right now? True, Abbas is less extreme than Arafat, but he is far weaker. He himself has reportedly admitted that his regime cannot stop terrorist attacks on Israel from the territory it supposedly controls. Fatah is so fossilized, factionalized and corrupt that it is incapable of changing course. Nor does most of the leadership want it to. They would prefer to steal aid money rather than use it effectively. And they don't want to be considered traitors to the cause by pursuing moderation. Thus, there is no chance of their agreeing to a peace accord ending the conflict.
        Politicians should not making fools of themselves by racing around to create peace blueprints, conferences and financial give-aways which will fail in a humiliating manner, and they should not pretend that Abbas is a great man of peace or that Fatah is a collection of moderates. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    One Year Since the End of the Second Lebanon War (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)

    • UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed August 12, 2006, created a new situation on the ground in southern Lebanon. For the first time a significant number of Lebanese army soldiers supported by an upgraded UNIFIL force deployed south of the Litani River. Hizbullah was deprived of its status as the dominant force in south Lebanon and restrictions were imposed on its freedom of action.
    • On the other hand, the most essential provisions of Resolution 1701 have been left unattended:
      1. South Lebanon was not demilitarized and Hizbullah and the other terrorist organizations remained and were not disarmed.
      2. Iran and Syria continue replenishing Hizbullah's arsenal and rehabilitating its military force.
      3. The arms embargo has not been effectively enforced and weapons are steadily smuggled into Lebanon from Syria.
      4. No significant progress has been made on the issue of the abducted IDF soldiers.
    • Once Hizbullah has completed its military rehabilitation, it is liable to renew its attacks against Israel. The rehabilitation of Hizbullah's military force again poses a rocket threat for Israel, familiar from the second Lebanon war and perhaps even more serious.

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