Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 13, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Israel Pursuing Kidnappers of Cpl. Gilad Shalit - Ronen Solomon and Arik Weiss (Maariv-Weekend-10Oct08-Hebrew)
    "People are disappearing from the streets of Gaza," a former senior officer in the PA Preventive Security Services who fled recently from Gaza said this week.
    According to Palestinian sources, on 7 Sep. 2007, Muhawash al-Kadi, one of the senior Hamas leaders involved in the kidnapping of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, was driving in the evening with his family to his home in Rafiah.
    After the car reached the city cemetery, the street was blocked by a Peugeot with its hood up. As al-Kadi turned into a side street, an old man seemed to fall in the street and al-Kadi stopped to help him.
    At this point, IDF soldiers dressed in Hamas uniforms sprayed something in al-Kadi's face while other soldiers removed the family members from al-Kadi's car. Taking al-Kadi, both cars sped toward the Dahaniya airport where two helicopters flew them to Israel.
    A month after the event, the PA Interior Ministry announced the arrest of collaborators who helped Israel in capturing al-Kadi.
    Israel currently holds at least two Palestinians connected to the kidnapping. Publication of details on additional arrests has not been permitted.

Fake Report about Lehman Brothers Moving Billions to Israel - Anshel Pfeffer (Ha'aretz)
    Dozens of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli web sites have been distributing a news report over the last few days claiming that on the eve of Lehman Brothers' collapse last month, the firm transferred $400 billion to Israel.
    The story names three Israeli banks that allegedly received the money and charges American law-enforcement authorities with having knowledge of the transfer.

Israeli Step-on Scanner Lets Air Passengers Keep Shoes On (Reuters-Washington Post)
    Israel has introduced a step-on scanner that spares airline travelers the nuisance of having to remove their shoes so they can be X-rayed for hidden weapons.
    Only the shoes of passengers deemed suspicious are removed. Most people can now keep their shoes on.

Fatah Clan that Fled Gaza Returns (Maan News-PA)
    Fatah leader Ahmad Hillis revealed that at least 20 of his relatives have returned to Gaza, from which they fled during the 2 August street battle between Hamas forces and the Hillis clan.
    Speaking from Jericho, Hillis said that by the end of the month all 80 of his family members will have returned to the area and that he too will return to Gaza shortly.

Hebrew University Makes London Times List of 100 Top Schools - Ofri Ilani (Ha'aretz)
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was ranked 93 in the world this year by the London Times Higher Education survey, a jump of 35 places since last year.
    The Technion ranked 109, while Tel Aviv University ranked 114.

Israel Ranks High in Ease of Doing Business - Ron Dagoni and Eran Peer (Globes)
    The World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) Doing Business 2009 report ranks Israel 30th out of 181 countries for ease of doing business.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. and EU Plan Iran Sanctions without UN - Daniel Dombey and James Blitz
    The U.S. and its allies are discussing a "coalition of the willing" that would impose sanctions on Iran's energy and financial sectors without UN backing as concerns increase about Tehran's accelerating nuclear program. A European diplomat told the Financial Times that European countries and the U.S. were planning to impose sanctions on Iran's energy sector as "like-minded countries" - rather than through the UN - and were discussing targeting exports of engineering products for Iranian refineries as well as refined oil itself. He said that Western countries had concluded: "If there is another [UN resolution], it will take a lot of time and there will be very little substance in it." (Financial Times-UK)
        See also Iran Interfering in U.S.-Iraq Security Pact, General Says - Ernesto Londono
    Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said Sunday that American intelligence reports suggest Iran has attempted to bribe Iraqi lawmakers in an effort to derail a bilateral agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after the end of this year. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Officials Fear Islamic Terrorist Links with Drug Lords - Curt Anderson
    There is real danger that Islamic extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and Hizbullah could form alliances with wealthy and powerful Latin American drug lords to launch new terrorist attacks, U.S. officials said Wednesday. Extremist group operatives have already been identified in several Latin American countries, mostly involved in fundraising and finding logistical support. But Charles Allen, chief of intelligence analysis at the Homeland Security Department, said they could use well-established smuggling routes and drug profits to bring people or even weapons of mass destruction to the U.S. "The presence of these people in the region leaves open the possibility that they will attempt to attack the United States," said Allen, a veteran CIA analyst. "The threats in this hemisphere are real. We cannot ignore them." (AP)
  • Dubai Is the "Hole in the Net" of Sanctions on Iran - Damien McElroy
    Iran is evading UN sanctions by running a global network of merchants prepared to supply equipment that could be of military use. Dubai, the Gulf's largest port and Iran's crucial economic outlet, is central to this effort. A company indicted in America for allegedly exporting "dual-use" electronics to Iran remains open for business in Dubai. Meanwhile, people named in American courts for conspiring to deal in banned items are living normally in the city. Iran relies on Dubai in the manner that Communist China once depended on Hong Kong: as a free port for an isolated regime. A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani scientist who helped build his country's nuclear arsenal and covertly aided Iran and Libya as well, channeled banned components through Dubai.
        "The UN sanctions and the U.S. pressure to cut off the banks is hurting. But Iran's end runs, chiefly setting up shelf companies and so forth in Dubai, are a significant hole in the net," said Mark Fitzpatrick, an expert on Iran's nuclear program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hunt for Acre Mosque Inciter Intensifies - Yaakov Lappin
    In the wake of rioting in the northern Israeli city of Acre, Israeli police said they were hunting for a Muslim man believed to have taken control of the speaker system of a mosque in the Old City on Wednesday evening, at the beginning of Yom Kippur, and who wrongly broadcast that an Arab driver had been killed by a Jewish mob, causing hundreds of Arabs armed with axes and sticks to march on Jewish east Acre.
        Acre's mayor, Shimon Lancry, told the Jerusalem Post he heard the incitement being blared from the mosque's speakers. "He said one man had been killed and another injured. He called on the [Arab] youths to march on the eastern part of the city," Lancry recalled. "Because of him, 200 masked youths with axes ruined an entire area, and this is unforgivable." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Alert IDF Soldier at Checkpoint Prevents Palestinian Terror Attack
    The IDF nabbed three Palestinians carrying nine pipe bombs at a checkpoint west of Nablus on Sunday, averting a planned terror attack. When a female soldier at the checkpoint asked a Palestinian to open his bag, he refused. The soldier insisted, prompting the Palestinian to remove a shirt and pants from the bag before closing it again. However, then the soldier opened the bag herself, and found three pipe bombs inside it. At that point, the suspect's two friends were also searched and were found to carry three pipe bombs in each of their bags. (Ynet News)
  • "Lost" Synagogue Reopens in Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter - Matthew Wagner
    The Ohel Yitzhak Synagogue in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City - which was abandoned in 1938 in the wake of waves of Arab violence - is closer than any other Jewish house of prayer to the Temple Mount, according to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz, rabbi of the Western Wall. On Sunday, the synagogue, located about 100 meters from the Temple Mount, was reopened.
        Ohel Yitzhak was built in 1904 by Hungarian Jews. The courtyard was purchased by the Hungarian Jewish community from the Muslim Khaladi family. Rabbi Yitzhak Ratsdorfer, a Belz Hassid and diamond merchant, financed the building of the synagogue. In its heyday, about 5,000 Jews lived in the neighborhood. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Failing Markets' Impact on Diplomacy - Herb Keinon
    The disappearance of trillions of dollars worldwide will make it difficult for the international community to pay for an Israeli-Palestinian, or Israeli-Syrian, agreement, even if they miraculously appear. Who would pay for the tens of billions of dollars worth of new early warning systems Israel would have to set up following deep withdrawals from the West Bank and Jordan Valley, or a complete withdrawal - as the Syrians are demanding - from the Golan Heights?
        Who would pay compensation to Palestinian refugees if an agreement were reached that would deny them a "right of return" to pre-1967 Israel, but would recognize their right to compensation? Who would pay for the Palestinian security services or fund the infrastructure if a Palestinian state were agreed upon? The U.S.? After this month, forget about it. With the governments of the world now preoccupied with their own economies, the importance of solving the Israeli-Palestinian issues right now will likely fade. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Financial Crisis Seen Dooming Mideast Accord - Joshua Mitnick
    Whatever glimmer of hope remained for a Middle East peace accord is being snuffed out by the financial crisis, which is likely to preoccupy the White House into the next administration and sap financial resources to bolster an accord, analysts in Israel say. "We are being shelved for the moment," said Hanna Siniora, co-president of the Israel-Palestinian Center for Research and Information and a veteran Palestinian interlocutor with Israel and the U.S. (Washington Times)
  • Israel and the Palestinians: Ending the Stalemate - Caroline B. Glick
    Until the Palestinians and the larger Arab world accept Israel's right to exist, there is no way to resolve either the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or the Arab-Israeli conflict of which it is a component part. It can only be stabilized and then managed until such a time as the Palestinians, with the support of the wider Arab world, accept Israel's right to exist and abandon their efforts and designs to see the Jewish state eradicated. In this state of affairs, it is clear that policies aimed at immediately resolving the conflict must be discarded in favor of more modest efforts that seek to end Palestinian terrorism and the links between Palestinian terror groups and outside state sponsors of terror. Similarly, these policies must be aimed at encouraging Palestinian society to accept Israel's right to exist and coexist peacefully with the Jewish state. (Journal of International Security Affairs)
  • The One-State Solution? - Sari Nusseibeh
    Today, with over half a million Jews living across the 1949 Armistice Line, it's almost too late to reverse the process. It is therefore time for action, not words. Practically, this means pushing within the next few months for a fair deal both parties can live with. And that means a two-state deal; the Israelis will never agree to anything else. Many Palestinians think a single state might be ideal - since it would involve the defeat of the Zionist project and its replacement by a binational country that would eventually be ruled by its Arab majority. But many ships have been wrecked on such rocks before. The writer is president of Al-Quds University. (Newsweek)
  • Observations:

    Imperative to Stop the Spread of Nuclear Weapons Now - Henry Kissinger (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    • [During the Cold War], nuclear weapons were held by countries that had more or less comparable analogies of risks. Nuclear weapons are now spreading into the hands of countries in which suicide bombing is considered a strategy and in which the judgment of the value of human life has a different dimension and is geared toward what happens in the next life and not in this life. Also, it is moving toward societies that cannot safeguard nuclear weapons as the more advanced countries could. For these reasons, to stop the spread of nuclear weapons now is an absolute imperative.
    • I think that the present course - where three European countries, in effect, backed by the United States, are conducting negotiations with marginal proposals followed by marginal sanctions - really plays into the hands of the people who are proliferating.
    • Jihad extremism is often presented as exclusively or primarily as related to Israel. That is not correct. I think, in many ways, they use Israel as a rallying point for a much more fundamental concern, which is to spread the notion of a universal Islamic empire. In the medium term, a successful jihad will threaten India as much as it threatens Israel, because the 160 million Muslims who live in India cannot be unaffected by a wave that is spreading through the Islamic world.
    • The central problem that we now face is Islamic extremism, for which the only real solution is to arrest it and to demonstrate its incapacity to achieve its objectives. Otherwise, the momentum is going to become stronger and stronger.
    • Iran is not a strong country. Iran is a country with a reasonably strong ideology and a long history. Our relations with the shah showed that America can live with a strong Iran that is a major player in the region, provided it conducts itself as a nation and not as a cause. We must not let ourselves get mesmerized by the rhetoric. The majority of the countries in the region are on our side, and the extremists really do not have a strategy for achieving their objective.

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