Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 5, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Arab Plot to Assassinate Jerusalem Mayor Foiled - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
    Three Jerusalem Arabs have been charged with planning a series of terrorist attacks in the city, including the assassination of Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, a suicide bombing and a shooting attack near the Western Wall, security officials said Sunday.
    Mamoun Abu Tir, from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Umm Tuba, corresponded via the Internet with an Islamic Jihad operative from Algeria, who sent instructions on preparing explosives, and in September 2007 connected him with an Islamic Jihad agent in Gaza, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said.

Israel Campus Beat
- November 4, 2007

Point Counter-Point:
    Should Israel Cut Off Power to Gaza?

Widening Signs of Hamas Infighting - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    On Friday, four Hamas leaders in the West Bank met with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, a meeting which caught the Hamas leadership in Gaza by surprise.
    Today it is evident that the West Bank Hamas is different from the one in the Gaza.
    Inside Gaza, sources close to Hamas say that while Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has been pushing for a conciliatory approach toward Abbas and Fatah and a truce with Israel, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar and his followers remain vehemently opposed to any dialogue with Fatah.
    The differences among Hamas leaders are believed to be the main reason behind the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel.

Saudi Arabia Is Hub of World Terror - Nick Fielding and Sarah Baxter (Sunday Times-UK)
    Wealthy Saudis remain the chief financiers of worldwide terror networks. "If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia," said Stuart Levey, the U.S. Treasury official in charge of tracking terror financing.
    According to Levey, not one person identified by America or the UN as a terrorist financier has been prosecuted by Saudi authorities.
    An analysis by NBC News suggested that the Saudis make up 55% of foreign fighters in Iraq. They are also among the most uncompromising and militant.
    In recent months, Saudi religious scholars issued fatwas calling for the destruction of the great Shi'ite shrines in Najaf and Karbala in Iraq.

A Battle Rages in London Over a Mega-Mosque Plan - Jane Perlez (New York Times)
    Tablighi Jamaat, a worldwide evangelical Islamic group based in Pakistan, proposed building what would have been the largest mosque in Europe, smack at the gateway to the 2012 Olympic Games, and within sight of London's financial district, raising a furor about the right of Britain's Muslims to take up a public space commensurate with their growing numbers.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • In Mideast, Rice Pushes Annapolis Talks - Karen DeYoung
    Israel is ready to put "all basic questions, all the substantive problems, all the historical questions" about Palestinian statehood on the table in a U.S.-hosted peace conference later this month in Annapolis, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday. In her second visit to Israel in three weeks, U.S. Secretary of State Rice indicated that she was pursuing less ambitious goals. Rather than a joint declaration of parameters for a final settlement, sources said the document now envisioned for the conference would declare the implementation of the multi-step "road map" first drawn up by the U.S., Europe and the UN in 2003. (Washington Post)
        See also Rice: No U.S. Formula for Annapolis Declaration - Etgar Lefkovits
    The U.S. will not propose its own formula for a joint Israeli-Palestinian declaration for the Annapolis conference, U.S. Secretary of State Rice and Prime Minister Olmert agreed during their meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, Israel Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Sanctions Force World Bank to Halt Some Iran Aid - Steven R. Weisman
    The World Bank, newly caught up in the Bush administration's campaign against Iran, has had to suspend $5.4 million in payments for earthquake relief, sanitation and other projects in Iran in response to new American sanctions on leading Iranian banks, World Bank officials say. The U.S. has barred dealing with four of Iran's largest banks, accusing them of involvement in terrorism, or nuclear or missile programs. The World Bank step, while small, illustrates the extraordinary reach of American sanctions, even though they were imposed unilaterally after the U.S. was stymied in its recent efforts to get the UN Security Council to approve wider penalties. (New York Times)
  • Interpol Weighs Putting Iranians on Most-Wanted List for 1994 Argentine Jewish Center Bombing
    Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman is calling for Interpol to take action at the agency's general assembly that opens Monday in Marrakech, Morocco, to put five Iranians and one Lebanese on the agency's most-wanted list for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • Rice, Others Told to Testify in AIPAC Case - Jerry Markon
    A federal judge Friday issued a rare ruling that ordered Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and more than ten other prominent current and former government officials to testify on behalf of two pro-Israel lobbyists accused of violating the 1917 Espionage Act at their upcoming criminal trial. The opinion by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria directed that subpoenas be issued to Rice, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, former high-level Department of Defense officials Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith, and Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state.
        Attorneys for Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman say Rice and the other officials could help clear their clients because they provided the former lobbyists with sensitive information similar to what they were charged for. Judge Ellis wrote that the testimony could help "exculpate the defendants by negating the criminal states of mind the government must prove.'' "For over two years, we have been explaining that our clients' conduct was lawful and completely consistent with how the U.S. government dealt with AIPAC and other foreign policy groups," lawyers Abbe D. Lowell and John Nassikas said in a joint statement. (Washington Post)
  • Group Spotlights Jews Who Left Arab Lands - Warren Hoge
    With assertions of the rights of Palestinians to reclaim land in Israel expected to arise at an planned Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, a Jewish advocacy group has scheduled a meeting in New York on Monday to call attention to people it terms "forgotten refugees." The group, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, says more than 850,000 Jews left their homes in Arab lands after the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948. The UN says that 711,000 Palestinians left Israel-controlled territory in 1948 and 1949. "We have found evidence that there was collusion among the Arab nations to persecute and exploit their Jewish populations," said Stanley A. Urman, executive director of the group. A draft law composed by the Arab League in 1947 called for measures to be taken against Jews living in Arab countries, ranging from imprisonment, confiscation of assets and forced induction into Arab armies to beatings, officially incited acts of violence and pogroms.
        "This was not just a forced exodus, it was a forgotten exodus," said Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian minister of justice. He said the main goal of the campaign was to raise public awareness rather than to seek compensation. "It's not about the money, it's about the other components of redress, recognition, remembrance and acknowledgment of the wrongs committed." (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Pre-Annapolis Negotiations Stalled Over Road Map Compliance - Barak Ravid
    U.S. Secretary of State Rice met Sunday in Jerusalem with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni, who said that negotiations with Palestinians ahead of the Annapolis meeting have stalled. "There is no tension, but there are problems," Livni said. "There are differences of opinion over the road map. We must reach a basic understanding that the creation of a Palestinian state should occur only after Israel's security is established." Israel insists that any future agreement be put into effect only after the Palestinians meet their obligations according to the road map. The Palestinians claim that 90-95% of their first phase road map obligations have already been carried out, while Israel has failed to abide by its commitments. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Statements by Foreign Minister Livni and Secretary of State Rice (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Report: Hizbullah Conducted Mass Military Drill in Southern Lebanon - Ali Waked
    Hizbullah conducted its largest military exercise ever, south of the Litani River in southern Lebanon several days ago, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Monday. The exercise was three days long and spanned thousands of fighters. Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah was said to have commanded the drill personally. (Ynet News)
  • Israel May Seek Palestinian Compensation for Rocket Damage - Roni Sofer
    A bill approved by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation Sunday would allow Israel to claim compensation from the Palestinian Authority for damages caused by Kassam rockets fired at Israel. The money would be deducted from the tax payments collected by Israel on the PA's behalf. "It is inconceivable that the State of Israel should shoulder the costs of the rocket fire, which the Palestinian Authority is responsible for," the bill states. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Salvo Causes Sderot Blackout
    Palestinians in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at Sderot on Sunday, Israel Radio reported. One rocket hit a house and another hit an electrical line, causing a complete blackout in the town, knocking out the siren system and emergency hotline, as well. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • By Lying about Its Nuclear Activities, Iran Has Forfeited Its Right to Enrichment for Peaceful Purposes - Jim Hoagland
    Iran is working to produce a 20-to-50-pound stockpile of enriched uranium that it can use to build atomic weapons within eight to ten weeks, once it decides to do so - and has consistently lied to the UN about those efforts. The IAEA and the UN Security Council have determined that Iran has lied about its nuclear activities and has therefore forfeited its right to enrichment for peaceful purposes. That Iran has gone to great, secretive lengths to create and push forward a bomb-building capability is not a Bush delusion. But neither is it fantasy to say, as do Russia and China, that the Iranians have had great difficulty in getting their system of 2,952 centrifuges at Natanz, south of Tehran, to work effectively. (Washington Post)
  • Are American Jews Too Powerful? Not Even Close - Ruth Wisse
    Those who accuse modern Jews of having excessive clout are getting it precisely backward. In the real world, Jews have too little power and influence. I am a teacher of Yiddish literature. The Yiddish language, developed by European Jews over almost a thousand years, was practically erased along with them in a mere six, 1939-45. So studying Yiddish literature, almost by definition, concentrates the mind on Jewish political disabilities.
        Israel now has an army, and a formidable one at that. But the Israel Defense Forces did not change the Jews' existential condition as a minority; Israel was now a minority among the nations, contending with Arab states that sought to dominate or destroy it. The Arab war against Israel and radical Islam's war against the U.S. are in almost perfect alignment, which means that resistance to one supports resistance to the other. "We are all Jews now," former CIA director R. James Woolsey Jr. said after the September 2001 attacks. "We should all reflect upon the historic reality that when anti-Semitism raises its head, the rest of us, unless we are willing to live with a foot on our necks, will be the next targets." (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    State Prosecution Defends Israeli Government Decision to Curb Power Supply to Gaza - Yuval Yoaz (Ha'aretz)

    • In a letter to the High Court of Justice, the State Prosecution on Friday defended the government's decision to curb the supply of fuel and electricity to Hamas-controlled Gaza, claiming it is not a form of collective punishment.
    • The State Prosecution argued the measure was appropriate considering that the area is controlled by an organization that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and is used as a base for militants who launch regular rocket attacks against its civilian population.
    • "One can claim that any measure made within the context of an armed conflict is a form of collective punishment of the civilians of that state; a mistaken and absurd argument that counters international law and common practice."
    • "According to such an incorrect argument, imposing a financial boycott or pressure on countries such as South Africa during the Apartheid, or Iran today, would not be possible because any such measure would hurt the populace of the said country."

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