Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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March 25, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Hizbullah Leader: Israel Can Be "Eliminated" - Benny Avni (New York Sun)
    Echoing Iran's threat to wipe Israel off the map, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Monday that the targeting of Israeli civilian centers has made it possible for the Jewish state to be "eliminated."
    "Can Israel be eliminated? Yes and a thousand yeses, Israel can be eliminated," he said.
    Hamas and Hizbullah "are betting on Iran," said former Israeli Foreign Ministry official Jonathan D. Halevi. "People in the region assume that as soon as Iran gets a nuclear bomb it will become a regional superpower, which makes it a hot commodity."
    See also Hizbullah: Mughniyeh Was "Leader of Two Victories" Over Israel (Al-Bawaba-Jordan)
    At a rally in southern Beirut on Monday in honor of slain military commander Imad Mughniyeh, Hizbullah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah called Mughniyeh the "leader of both victories," referring to the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 and the July 2006 war.

U.S. AID for Terror - Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen (FrontPageMagazine)
    Since 1994, the CIA armed and trained thousands of Palestinian "security forces," who subsequently joined every Palestinian terrorist organization.
    CIA Palestinian training success is best described by a member of the PA chairman's own security unit - Force 17 - officer Abu Yusef:
    "The operations of the Palestinian resistance would [not] have been so successful and would not have killed more than 1,000 Israelis since 2000, and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without [American military] training," he boasted in August 2007.

10,000 Syrian Troops Deploy in Kurdish Region (Media Line/ Jerusalem Post)
    The Syrian army has moved 10,000 soldiers into five cities in the country's northern, Kurdish-dominated region, following violence over the weekend which left three people dead in Qameshli.
    Some 10% of the Syrian population is Kurdish, but they lack any political influence and the Kurdish language and flag are both banned.
    The Syrian government has stripped some 20% of the Kurds of their citizenship in an effort to Arabize the population, claiming that many Kurds had infiltrated the country from neighboring Turkey and Iraq.

French Official Sacked for Anti-Israeli Diatribe (AFP)
    A French senior civil servant has been sacked for publishing a violent anti-Israeli diatribe on a web site.
    Bruno Guigue, deputy prefect of Saintes, wrote in an online column this month that Israel was "the only state where snipers shoot down little girls outside their school gates."
    Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie dismissed the official after learning of the column.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Fatah and Hamas Dismiss Yemen Agreement on Palestinian Unity - Sheera Frenkel
    Top officials in the rival Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions dismissed talk of an impending reconciliation Monday, less than a day after their envoys in Yemen signed a proposal to begin deliberations on a single, united Palestinian government. Sources close to Mahmoud Abbas said the PA envoy had signed the agreement only because of a mix-up. Abbas has insisted that any reconciliation with Hamas must include the return of Gaza to his fold. (Times-UK)
        See also Cheney Voices Doubts on Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation - Toby Zakaria
    U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said on Monday he did not believe Mahmoud Abbas would agree to reconcile with Hamas until the Islamist group gave up control of Gaza. (Reuters)
  • Progress Seen in Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks
    Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have made "considerable" headway in their talks aimed at inking a peace deal by the end of the year, a senior Israeli official said on Monday. Chief Israeli negotiator Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart former prime minister Ahmed Qurei "have made considerable progress" in a series of meetings they have held in recent weeks, the official told AFP. Work teams from both sides tasked with discussing the technical details of a future peace deal - such as water, economic ties and environmental questions - have met several times. The official also said that Livni and Qurei are discussing the thorniest issues of the peace talks, namely refugees and the future status of Jerusalem. (AFP)
  • An Unlikely Refuge: Muslims Fleeing Darfur Rebuilding Lives in Israel - Seth Freedman
    "Even though we're Muslim, the Islamic world has done nothing to protect us," said Yassin, one of the first Darfurians to make it into Israel across the border from Egypt and now director of Bnei Darfur [Sons of Darfur], which assists Sudanese refugees to integrate into Israeli society. "All of the Arab countries support the government of Sudan - our problem is with the Arab League," he said. As far as Yassin is concerned, Israel has provided for his people in a way that no Arab country would - and for that he's eternally grateful. (Guardian-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Half of Arab League Leaders Plan to Skip Damascus Summit - Yoav Stern
    The leaders of at least 12 Arab countries will not attend the Arab League summit in Damascus on March 29-30, Arab sources said Monday. The Arab world has not been this fragmented for a very long time. "The real decision-makers are not coming since there is no progress on the Lebanon issue," said one source. Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are demanding that Syria allow the election of a new president in Lebanon. (Ha'aretz)
  • PA Ousts Senior Abbas Adviser Caught Smuggling Phones - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Rouhi Fattouh, former speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a senior adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, who was caught last week trying to smuggle 3,000 cellular phones from Jordan, has been suspended pending an investigation into the case. PA security sources said they did not rule out the possibility that Fattouh was part of a bigger network of smugglers whose members include senior PA and Fatah officials carrying Israeli-issued VIP passes. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The New Israeli Guardsmen of the Galilee - Caroline Glick
    Jewish farmers and ranchers in the Galilee have had their livestock and crops continuously plundered by local Arab criminal gangs, unless they agree to pay protection money. In response, more than a hundred young volunteers - soldiers, college students, and high school students from moshavim in the Lower Galilee - have formed the Hashomer Hayisraeli Hahadash - the New Israeli Guardsmen. The original Hashomer was established in the Galilee in 1909 for the same purpose - protecting Jewish farming communities from Arab marauders who demanded protection money. In just a few months, the volunteer guards have reduced theft by 80%. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire from Gaza Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets that struck Israel on Tuesday morning. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Your Tax Dollars at Work in Gaza - Jonathan S. Tobin
    American officials are again pressing Congress to open up the U.S. aid pipeline to the Palestinian Authority. We are told that unless we help fund the training and the payment of Palestinian security forces, the PA will have no way to cope with terrorists who want to sink any chance of a two-state solution which would enable Israel to live side-by-side with a peaceful Palestinian partner. Reinforcing the PA seems to make sense. But does it really?
        The support by the PA media for attacks against Israelis, such as the slaughter of eight students at a Jerusalem yeshiva this month, as well as the ongoing blitz of southern Israel by Hamas missiles, is reason to doubt the PA's sincerity. The PA also continues to honor the memory of slain terrorists as "martyrs," and plans to celebrate Israel's 60th birthday by having Arab refugees rush Israel's borders to promote a "right of return," which is synonymous with the destruction of the Jewish state. America's attempts to create a Palestinian peace partner have failed. No amount of money will buy us a moderate state that will accept peace with Israel if the Palestinians don't want one. (Philadelphia Jewish Exponent)
  • Iranian Influence in the Levant, Iraq, and Afghanistan - Frederick W. Kagan, Danielle Pletka, and Kimberly Kagan
    Much as Americans might desire to avoid war with Iran, continued Iranian intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout the Middle East might ultimately make that option less repulsive than the alternatives. Stability will not result any more from an American surrender to Iran than from an Iranian surrender to America. America's conflict with Iran is regionwide, complex, and broad-based - it is not a simple misunderstanding over the nature of Iran's nuclear program or the threat Tehran feels from having U.S. troops deployed to its east and west. This report aims to present empirical evidence of Iran's actions in three critical areas: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, and the West Bank and Gaza). (American Enterprise Institute)
        See also American Think Tank Paints Hizbullah as Bought and Paid For by Tehran - Anthony Elghossain (Daily Star-Lebanon)
  • How Al-Qaeda Will Perish - Bret Stephens
    Last year, imprisoned Egyptian radical Sayyed Imam al-Sharif, a.k.a. "Dr. Fadl," the first "emir" of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, published The Document of Right Guidance for Jihad Activity in Egypt and the World, a systematic refutation of al-Qaeda's theology and methods. "The alternative" to violent jihadism, he said in an interview with the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, "is not to kill civilians, foreigners and tourists, destroy property and commit aggression against the lives and property of those who are inviolable under the pretext of jihad. All of this is forbidden." He adds that "it is not permitted to go out to fight jihad without the permission of both parents."
        There really is a broad rethink sweeping the Muslim world about the practical utility - and moral defensibility - of terrorism, particularly since al-Qaeda began targeting fellow Sunni Muslims. Reports of al-Qaeda's torture chambers in Iraq have also percolated through Arab consciousness. Even among Saudis, a recent survey by Terror Free Tomorrow finds that "less than one in ten Saudis have a favorable opinion of al-Qaeda, and 88% approve the Saudi military and police pursuing al-Qaeda fighters." (Wall Street Journal)
  • Observations:

    Why Do Palestinians Get Much More Attention than Tibetans? - Dennis Prager (FrontPageMagazine)

    • The long-suffering Tibetans have been in the news. Tibet, at least 1,400 years old, is one of the world's oldest nations, has its own language, its own religion and its own ethnicity. Over 1 million of its people have been killed by the Chinese, its culture has been systematically obliterated, 6,000 of its 6,200 monasteries have been looted and destroyed, and most of its monks have been tortured, murdered or exiled.
    • Palestinians have none of these characteristics. There has never been a Palestinian country, never been a Palestinian language, never been a Palestinian ethnicity, never been a Palestinian religion in any way distinct from Islam elsewhere.
    • Indeed, for most of the first half of the 20th century, "Palestinian" almost always referred to the Jews of Palestine. The United Jewish Appeal was known as the United Palestine Appeal.
    • Compared to Tibetans, Palestinian Arab culture has not been destroyed nor its mosques looted or plundered, and Palestinians have received billions of dollars from the international community. Unlike the dying Tibetan nation, there are far more Palestinians today than when Israel was created.

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