Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


September 12, 2007

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

IDF Has Removed Most West Bank Roadblocks (Jerusalem Post)
    In the past year, Israel has dismantled most of the roadblocks and temporary barriers in the West Bank, a senior officer in the IDF's Central Command said Tuesday.
    "In most of the area, Palestinian traffic is flowing and there is an improvement in the economy," he said, adding that the remaining roadblocks were "critical for security needs."
    Israel Radio quoted the officer as saying the IDF was continuing its surveillance of Fatah terrorists who relinquished their weapons in exchange for Israeli amnesty and that many of them had indeed ceased their terrorist activities.
    According to the officer, PA security forces are not targeting Hamas terrorists in the West Bank - as per Israel's request - but are focusing solely on Hamas-affiliated institutions such as charities and summer camps.

Hamas Employs U.S. Arms Against Israel (Israel Today)
    Hamas forces in Gaza are using heavy weaponry provided to the Palestinians by the Bush Administration to combat Israeli counter-terrorism operations.
    Israeli military sources confirmed to Middle East Newsline that Israel Defense Forces Apache helicopter gunships operating against Hamas rocket crews in Gaza have come under fire from U.S.-made heavy machineguns.
    The weapons were originally given to Palestinian security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas.
    Hamas last June took possession of a vast arsenal of weapons and equipment that had either been donated by the U.S. and Western nations or bought with foreign financial aid.
    In repeated assurances to Congress over the past two years, the Bush Administration insisted its security aid to Abbas was of a non-lethal nature.

Report: Hamas Moves Kidnapped IDF Soldier (Jerusalem Post)
    Kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas since June 2006, has been transferred to a new hiding place, Israel television Channel Two reported Tuesday.
    The kidnapping of Hamas official Mohawah al-Qadi may have been the reason for transferring Shalit. Reportedly, Hamas was afraid al-Qadi would disclose details regarding the whereabouts of the soldier.

Iran Ordered to Pay Millions to Family of Terror Victim - Moran Zelikovich (Ynet News)
    A District Court in Washington ordered the Iranian government to pay $12.9 million in compensation to the family of Marla Bennett, 24, of San Diego, who was killed in a bombing at the Hebrew University's cafeteria in July 2002.
    Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that Iran was legally responsible for the terror attack because it supported and sponsored Hamas, the organization that carried out the bombing.
    Nine students and workers were killed in the bombing.

Job Training for Palestinian Terrorists - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
    The UN and the PA are launching a placement project to provide professional training for Palestinian terror suspects recently pardoned by Israel.
     On Sunday, Palestinian Interior Minister Abed al-Razaq al-Yahiya instructed regional governors in the West Bank to work with professionals from the UNDP (UN Development Program), which is developing the program in conjunction with the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR).
    The aim is to bring the men back to normal civilian life, even though a large number are members of the PA's security forces.
    Initial funding for the program will be provided by the EU.

Israeli Expert: Al-Qaeda Penetrating Gaza via Clans (AFP)
    Al-Qaeda is gaining a foothold in Gaza through powerful family clans, an Israeli expert in Islamist movements said on Sunday.
    Reuven Paz cited the Doghmush clan which includes the leader of the Army of Islam, the extremist group that held BBC journalist Alan Johnston hostage for 114 days and which also took part in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June last year.

Hizbullah Bastion Rebuilds after War (AFP)
    A year after the devastating war between Israel and Lebanon's Hizbullah, the Shiite Muslim bastion in Beirut's southern suburbs has been turned into a vast construction site.
    Hizbullah is rebuilding 196 destroyed buildings, said Hassan Jashi, director general of Waad, a project of Hizbullah's reconstruction arm.

Jewish Law Confers Rare Advantage on Palestinian Farmers (AFP/Daily Star-Lebanon)
    Thousands of Palestinian farmers across the West Bank are expecting a surge in business this year thanks to a Jewish biblical law - Shmita - which dictates that once every seven years all Jewish-owned fields in Israel must lie fallow.
    With the new Jewish year just days away, Israel's most strict Orthodox Jews are turning to neighboring Palestinian and Jordanian farmers to supply tons of fruit and vegetables in the coming year.

7.2 Million People Living in Israel (Ynet News)
    Ahead of the Jewish New Year, a Central Bureau of Statistics report released Monday reveals that at the end of 2006, Israel had 7,116,700 million citizens - 5,393,400 Jews (76%), 1,413,300 Arabs (20%), and 309,900 "other" citizens.
    The average life expectancy in 2006 was 78.5 years for men and 82.2 years for women.

Add the Daily Alert Israel News Ticker to Your Website

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert - and want to share it with friends - please click "Forward" in your email program and enter their address.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay
We wish our readers a Happy Jewish New Year
Daily Alert will not appear on Thursday and Friday, September 13-14

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Sources Confirm Israeli Airstrike on Syria - Iranian Weapons?
    Last week, Syria reported that its aircraft fired on Israeli "enemy aircraft" that flew into northern Syria early Thursday. The strike may have targeted Hizbullah weapons coming into Syria or transiting through the country from Iran, according to sources in the region and in the U.S. Sources said the military operation may have also involved Israeli ground forces who directed the airstrike, which "left a big hole in the desert" in Syria. The Israeli government is very happy with the success of the operation, the sources said. Sources in the U.S. government and military confirmed that the airstrike did happen, and that they are happy to have Israel carry the message to both Syria and Iran that they can get in and out and strike when necessary. (CNN)
        See also Israel Eyes Possible Nuclear Installations in Syria - Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper
    One Bush administration official said Israel had recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea. The official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria. (New York Times)
        See also Report: Israel Hit Syria Base Financed by Iran
    Israeli planes last week bombed and destroyed a northern Syrian missile base that was financed by Iran, an Arab-Israeli newspaper reported Wednesday. Citing Israeli sources, Assennara said that Israeli jets "bombed, in northern Syria, a Syrian-Iranian missile base financed by Iran....It appears that the base was completely destroyed." (AFP/Middle East Times-Egypt)
        See also The Airstrike in Syria Is a Secret that Cannot Be Kept - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    It is now a matter of time before the main elements of the story are released to the media. Both the Syrian and the Israeli leadership have been extraordinarily silent about this. According to European diplomats, the Syrians have made it clear that Israeli silence over the incident is "worthy." The Syrians are not talking about the "strategic" target that was bombed in their territory - according to the Lebanese press. (Ha'aretz)
  • In Foiled German Terror Plot, the Detonators Came from Syria - Simone Kaiser, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark
    With the help of the CIA, German investigators foiled what would likely have been the most devastating terror attack of its kind in the country's history. Last October, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted suspicious emails between Germany and Pakistan. This month in the central German Sauerland region two German converts to Islam were arrested: Fritz Gelowicz, 28, the son of a doctor, and Daniel S., 22, who had learned how to handle weapons during his military service. His neighbors in nearby Saarbrucken had noticed that he prayed to Allah "often and very loudly." Adem Y., 28, a Turkish national, was also arrested.
        The trio was caught in the act of mixing chemicals to make explosives at a vacation house. When they searched the house, German investigators found military detonators from Syria that a courier had smuggled into Germany, as well as 60 liters of hydrogen peroxide. The materials were apparently intended for use in three car bombs that the group may have planned to detonate in front of a U.S. military base in Germany, a nightclub or a major airport. (Der Spiegel-Germany)
        See also Plot by German Cell Detailed on Internet - Craig Whitlock
    A terrorist cell broken up in Germany last week was planning to attack the huge Ramstein Air Base, a U.S. and NATO facility, and a U.S. consulate by the end of the year, German authorities reported Tuesday. The Islamic Jihad Union, based in Pakistan and Uzbekistan, asserted in an Internet statement that it was behind the plot, according to the Interior Ministry, which said it considered the statement authentic. (Washington Post)
  • Al-Qaeda Still Plots Another U.S. Attack - Bill Gertz
    Al-Qaeda terrorists continue to plan and train for a major attack against the U.S., but so far, there are no signs that the group's extremists have infiltrated into the country, senior U.S. security and intelligence officials told Congress Monday. "They have committed leadership that can adapt. They have safe haven for training. They have middle management for organization and training and preparation," retired Vice Adm. Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence, told a Senate hearing. Targets include U.S. political, economic and infrastructure elements "with the goal of producing mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction and significant economic shocks," McConnell said. (Washington Times)
  • Board: Charter School Can Teach Hebrew - Matt Sedensky
    The Broward County (FL) School Board voted Tuesday to allow the Ben Gamla Charter School in Hollywood to resume teaching in Hebrew, three weeks after the lessons were halted. The school district will work with the school to ensure the separation of church and state, said Schools Superintendent James Notter. "We have asked this charter school to do a lot of different things," said board chair Beverly Gallagher. "As far as I can see, they have done everything that we have asked them." The school can teach about the Jewish faith, but cannot advocate it. "We never considered crossing that line," said school founder Peter Deutsch, a former Democratic congressman. (AP)
  • Maine Bill Aimed at Terror Promoters
    Maine State Sen. Ethan Strimling announced Tuesday he will introduce legislation directing the state to divest its holdings in companies that operate in countries that support and finance international terrorism. Strimling, D-Portland, said the state has more than $50 million invested in corporations involved in development of nuclear power plants, oil and gas development, ship construction and other projects in countries such as Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria. (AP/Houston Chronicle)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Washington Peace Meeting to Include Show of Support, But Not Negotiations - Aluf Benn
    The U.S. will host a Middle East peace meeting in Washington, D.C., in November, the week before Thanksgiving, but the meeting will not have any negotiating role. Both Israel and the Americans see Saudi Arabia's and the United Arab Emirates' participation at the conference as the primary goal. The Saudis said they would decide whether to take part and at what level on the basis of the agreements reached between Olmert and Abbas. Secretary of State Rice will chair the meeting, which is planned to last two days and to center on a joint Olmert-Abbas statement. (Ha'aretz)
  • Defense Minister: "Every Palestinian Rocket Should Carry a Price" - Barak Ravid
    Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at a meeting Tuesday in Jerusalem with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner that every Palestinian rocket fired at Israel from Gaza should carry a price: "We'll announce that every Kassam is an hour of blackout. That way, whoever launches the Kassam knows he's cutting the power." The eight-member security cabinet will meet Sunday to discuss possible Israeli actions to reduce the rocket attacks from Gaza.
        Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday that regardless of which group was firing the rockets, "all of Gaza is in Hamas hands. They are capable of stopping the fire and they are not doing so." (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues, 40 Remain Hospitalized after Rocket Attack on Army Base - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians from Gaza launched two Kassam rockets at Israel Tuesday night. One rocket landed near Kibbutz Yad Mordechai and the other landed near a kibbutz south of Ashkelon. Forty soldiers remained hospitalized overnight following the attack on the Zikim army base Tuesday morning, out of which one soldier was severely wounded, seven were moderately wounded, and 32 suffered mild injuries. Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the attack, celebrated in its mosques in Gaza, using loud speakers to announce the number of casualties. (Ynet News)
        See also Seven Palestinian Rockets Strike Israel Wednesday - Shmulik Hadad (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Al-Qaeda's Return: The Terrorists Have a Sanctuary Once Again - Editorial
    As the U.S. mourns and commemorates the worst act of terrorism ever carried out on U.S. soil, and reflects thankfully on the fact that it has not been repeated, there are ominous signs that al-Qaeda is back as a coherent, global force capable of inflicting damage. Al-Qaeda is once again able to operate from a consistent haven. According to the National Intelligence Estimate, the organization "has protected or regenerated key elements of its homeland attack capability" inside Pakistan.
        The recently disrupted bomb plot in Germany illustrates what this means. The three men arrested, along with at least two others still at large, had traveled recently to the lawless Pakistani region of Waziristan, where they received explosives training from Uzbek Islamist terrorists allied with al-Qaeda, according to the New York Times. They were allegedly planning to attack U.S. sites in Germany. The organizer of the London massacre, which claimed 52 lives, also trained in Waziristan. From the standpoint of U.S. national security, this situation is intolerable. (Washington Post)
  • "Under God's Sovereignty" Is Not a Solution - Shlomo Avineri
    The ideas resurfacing before the peace meeting in November include the proposal to remove the "sacred basin" in Jerusalem from any sovereign authority, Israeli or Palestinian, and to leave supervision with representatives of the three monotheistic religions. Sovereignty will be "in God's hands." However, this suggestion is far from providing an answer to the problem. The international system - at least since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 - has been built on the principle of territorial sovereignty.
        It is not by chance that no territorial or international conflict has ever been solved by giving sovereignty to supra-national entities. Everywhere such an experiment has been tried, it has failed. Any solution must offer an unambiguous answer to practical questions, such as who will disperse Muslims who try to stone Jews praying at the Western Wall. The writer is Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University and former Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Involvement of Saudi Nationals in Terrorist Activity - Y. Admon
    A public debate has emerged in Saudi Arabia regarding the involvement of Saudi nationals in terrorist activities throughout the world. The Lebanese news agency Al-Markaziyya reported, citing a diplomatic source, that Saudi Arabia had demanded that Syria round up the 980 Saudi al-Qaeda members currently at a refugee camp in Syria, and hand them over to Saudi authorities as a precondition for any negotiations between the two countries. 73 Saudis are imprisoned in Jordan.
        There are also reports of Saudi involvement in terrorist activities in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon. According to Lebanese security apparatuses, Saudi nationals constitute 30% of the members of Fath al-Islam. Saudi Maj.-Gen. 'Abd al-Karim Khalaf told the Saudi daily Al-Watan that 70 Saudi nationals had been arrested in Iraq. He added, "The majority of those arrested acknowledged during interrogation that they had come to Iraq following fatwas issued by 'ulama calling for armed activities there." (MEMRI)
        See also Saudis Said Failing to Crack Down on Al-Qaeda Donors
    Despite six years of promises, Saudi Arabia has failed to pursue wealthy individuals identified as sending millions of dollars to al-Qaeda, the U.S. official in charge of tracking terror financing told ABC News on Tuesday. "If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia," said Stuart Levey, the under secretary of the Treasury. (Reuters)
  • Ahmadinejad's Power Slipping in Iran? - Patrick Clawson and Mehdi Khalaji
    Two intriguing developments have unfolded in Iran: the election of a new Assembly of Experts Speaker on September 4 and the appointment of a new Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander in chief on September 1. Both suggest the growing power of former president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, a powerful politician who is openly critical of Ahmadinejad and his policies. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Rationalizing Israel Out of Existence - Richard Cohen
    In a way, like Israel, Britain is also a strategic liability. Who needs that soggy isle? In a fight, it would be of little consequence. You could argue, therefore, that Britain is a strategic burden - and some made precisely that argument in the run-up to World War II. There are factors, though, that move the scale not at all but have an incalculable weight nonetheless. Who and what are we as a nation if we measure everything by self-interest? Who and what are we as a nation if we abandon our friends, blowing empty kisses to them as we cut them loose? Who and what are we as a nation if we don't calculate the incalculable: Values? Principles? Mearsheimer and Walt's argument is so one-sided - an Israel lobby that leads America around by the nose - they suggest that not only do they not know Israel, they don't know America, either. (Washington Post)
  • UN Resolution 242 (Land for Peace): Setting the Record Straight - Eran Benedek
    Many assume that UN Resolutions 242 and 338 call for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-Six-Day-War lines (the lines of June 4, 1967) and establish the principle of land-for-peace to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Both assumptions are incorrect. The essence of Resolution 242 is that Israel is allowed to remain in the territories it captured in 1967 until such a time as "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" is achieved. The authors of the resolution emphasized time and again that Israel was not required to retreat to the pre-war lines. Indeed, the authors of the resolution fully recognized that Israel needed to establish defensible borders because the pre-war lines were indefensible and invited attack.
        Resolution 242 defined three principles regarding the territorial component of the peacemaking process: 1. Israel is allowed to administer the territories it captured until the Arab states make peace. 2. Peace agreements reached between Israel and the Arab states should demarcate "secure and recognized boundaries." 3. Israel's future boundaries would necessarily be different from the 1949 armistice lines and the lines of June 4, 1967, which are essentially the same. (Henry Jackson Society)
  • The Jews as Contested Ground in Postmodern Conspiracy Theory - Richard Landes
    After World War II, Western culture appeared to have definitively marginalized conspiracy theory. And yet, at the turn of the twenty-first century, there has been an aggressive rise in (traditional) Muslim conspiracism, and a remarkable vulnerability to conspiracy theory in the West. In response to 9/11, a "postmodern" and politically-correct conspiracism has developed that reverses the normal pattern: it accuses "us" and exonerates "them." Thus highly self-critical Westerners acknowledge the accusations of paranoid jihadists. As always with modern conspiracy thinking, the Jews, especially the Zionists, stand at the center of the storm. The writer teaches in the history department at Boston University. (Jewish Political Studies Review)
  • Trolling the Internet for Messages from Terrorists - Joby Warrick
    A small community of individuals and companies troll the Internet for messages from terrorists - as a livelihood, a personal obsession or both. Often, the groups compete to be the first to find and post a new video or message. Frequently, they accomplish their goal several steps ahead of government agencies who turn to them for the material. Since Friday, at least three high-profile video messages have been snatched from al-Qaeda-affiliated Web sites by groups using a combination of computer tricks, personal connections and ingenuity to find and download password-protected content. They said their aim is to undermine support for the cause by disseminating what they consider to be outrageous statements. (Washington Post)
  • Indonesian Pop Star a Soldier in the Culture War within Islam - Mona Charen
    Ahmad Dhani, a devout Muslim and Indonesia's leading pop star, has a tune that topped the charts called "Warriors of Love" The lyrics are derived from the Koran and Hadith: "If hatred has already poisoned you against those...who worship differently, then evil has already gripped your soul, then evil's got you in its damning embrace." Dhani is a soldier in the culture war within Islam. With 190 million people, Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country - but its religious culture is far more tolerant and humane than that of Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim lands. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Lobby as Scapegoat - Tim Rutten (Los Angeles Times)

    • Anyone familiar with the tortured history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will have a hard time recognizing the history Mearsheimer and Walt rehearse. Every hoary old Israeli atrocity tale is trotted out, and the long story of Palestinian terrorism is rendered entirely as a reaction to Israeli oppression.
    • There is nothing here of Palestinian corruption, division and duplicity or even of this unhappy people's inability to provide a reliable secular partner with whom peace can be negotiated.
    • They write that al-Qaeda would hammer its swords into ploughshares and Osama bin Laden would lay down with the lamb if only the United States would come out from under Israel's thrall and create by coercion a Palestinian state. Baloney. If - as was long ago proposed - the Jewish state had been established in Uganda, the Twin Towers still would be rubble.
    • Mearsheimer and Walt go to great pains to proclaim their disinterested benevolence toward all and to attach the word "realist" to their argument. The only adjective that comes to this reader's mind is "sinister."

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert

    Iran's President Ahmadinejad is coming to the UN.
    Will you?
    He funds and supports terror around the world.
    He wants a world without the US and Israel.
    He is developing nuclear weapons.
    He denies the Holocaust.
    YOU can send a different message!
    Join the
    National Rally To Stop Iran Now.
    Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, across from the United Nations
    Monday, September 24th
    12 noon, 2nd Avenue at 47th Street