Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 19, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Israel Worried about Possible German Sub Sale to Egypt - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel is increasingly concerned that Germany might sell Dolphin-class submarines to Egypt, top defense and political officials told the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. Cairo has opened talks with Berlin aimed at purchasing several such submarines.
    Israel currently operates three Dolphin-class submarines made in Germany. The construction of two more submarines is scheduled to be completed by 2010.

Significant Erosion of Gaza Lull Arrangement (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    A series of events which began on Nov. 4 with the prevention of a Hamas abduction signals a significant erosion in the lull arrangement and leaves its continuation in doubt.
    Theoretically, Israel and Hamas, each for its own reasons, seem interested in having it continue.
    However, for the first time since the lull arrangement went into effect, the dynamics of the escalation on the ground make it difficult for the parties involved to restore the status quo ante.

Hamas Opens Second Satellite TV Channel (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    Hamas' second satellite TV channel, Al-Quds, joined Gaza-based Al-Aqsa TV on Nov. 11.
    Hamas also has a daily newspaper (Felesteen), several news agencies, and over twenty websites and online forums in eight languages.

Report: Iranian Blogger Who Visited Israel Arrested in Tehran - Dudi Cohen (Ynet News)
    Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian blogger who recently visited Israel, was arrested in Tehran, an Iranian website reported on Monday.
    The Iranian site Jahan reported that Derakhshan was questioned by the authorities and admitted to spying for Israel.

British Muslims Visit Israel - Sally Lowe (Ilford Recorder-UK)
    23 British Muslims took part in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, led by Imam Dr. Mohammed Fahim of the South Woodford Community Center.
    Fahim was particularly impressed by a visit to an Israeli hospital, which he has pledged to raise funds for. "I saw a hospital where the doctors, nurses and staff were Jews or Palestinians, yet all worked together and there was no discrimination against any patients," he said.
    "We saw how people are living together. There might be problems among a minority of people, but it is largely peaceful," he added.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Britain Reestablishes High-Level Intelligence Links with Syria - Richard Beeston, Catherine Philp and Oliver August
    Britain reestablished high-level intelligence links with the Syrian authorities as British Foreign Secretary David Miliband visited Damascus Tuesday, according to senior Syrian officials. The move was a key objective of the Syrian visit. Syria is known to have one of the best intelligence-gathering systems in the Middle East. (Times-UK)
  • Egyptian Court Annuls Natural Gas Deal with Israel - Mona El-Naggar
    An Egyptian court on Tuesday ordered the government to stop piping natural gas to Israel, saying the 15-year contract was improperly awarded because it was not approved by Parliament. The government said it would appeal the decision, and officials in Cairo and Israel said gas would continue to flow. The case has raised difficult political issues for Egypt. Officials must walk a tightrope between maintaining relations with their neighbor and mollifying public opinion, which is often hostile to the Jewish state. Under an agreement signed in 2005, Egypt agreed to deliver 1.7 billion cubic meters of gas to Israel over a 15-year period. The gas began to flow in May. (New York Times)
  • Iran Students Protest Against Israel-Arab Ties
    University students in Tehran protested outside the embassies of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar Monday against what they called some Arab countries' moves to normalize ties with Israel, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported. Protestors carried placards which read: "No compromise, no submission, fight until collapse," and "Israel must be wiped from the page of time." "The viewpoints of the heads of some countries on relations with Israel is not the perspective of the Islamic Ummah, but rather, tribal and ethnic viewpoints and, as Imam Khomeini said, they are the viewpoints of American Islam," said Isma'il Tahmurasi, a student representative. The students also denounced a Saudi-sponsored interfaith conference held last week at the UN in New York. (IranVNC)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Peres: Damascus Must Cut Ties to Hizbullah for Peace - Jonny Paul
    Making peace with Syria depends on whether it is prepared to rein in Hizbullah, President Shimon Peres said on Tuesday. Damascus cannot expect Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights while Syria continues to help Iran further its influence in Lebanon, Peres said in a BBC radio interview. Israel is not prepared to tolerate an Iranian presence on its border, he said, referring to Hizbullah. If Syria "wants the Golan Heights back and keeps her bases in Lebanon - which are really controlled and financed by the Iranians - no Israeli will agree to have Iranians on our borders," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Criticizes UN Remarks Urging End to Gaza Blockade - Barak Ravid and Amos Harel
    Israel reacted angrily to comments made Tuesday by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who called for an immediate end to the blockade of Gaza. Israel imposed a blockade of Gaza because of rocket fire at Israeli towns. Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, accused Pillay of being utterly shortsighted and repeating blatant misinformation. "Overall responsibility for the situation in the Gaza Strip lies with Hamas, which invests all of its resources in arms and terrorism instead of providing for the civilians that it brutally controls," said Leshno-Yaar, adding that Palestinians had fired more than 170 rockets and mortars at Israel during the past ten days. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel Responds to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • PA: "Hamas Is Staging Gaza Blackouts" - Khaled Abu Toameh
    PA officials in Ramallah accused Hamas on Tuesday of staging the latest blackouts in Gaza in a bid to win sympathy and incite the Palestinian public against Israel and the PA. The officials said that contrary to Hamas' claim, there is no shortage of basic goods, medicine, and fuel in Gaza, largely thanks to the many underground tunnels along the border with Egypt. "There's no shortage of fuel in Gaza and the Electricity Company is continuing to function normally," said a PA official. "Our people in Gaza have told us that the blackouts are all staged as part of Hamas propaganda."
        The Fatah-controlled Pal-Press Web site on Thursday quoted a senior official in the Gaza Electricity Company as saying that Hamas has been stealing fuel supplies intended for the power grid. "Hamas has seized more than 220,000 liters of fuel that was intended for generators belonging to our company," he revealed. "There's no shortage of fuel and as such there is no reason for a crisis." The official said Hamas militiamen had been forcing the company to cut off power supplies to some areas to create the impression that the outage was due to a lack of fuel caused by the ongoing closure of the border crossings. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israeli Analyst Proposes New Mideast Plan: Deal with Jordan, Egypt - Oakland Ross
    "I think it is a big illusion that something like (a two-state solution) can happen," Giora Eiland, former head of Israel's National Security Council, told a gathering of diplomats, academics and journalists at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Monday. Eiland advanced a complex arrangement involving three-way land swaps, an enlarged Gaza Strip, and the direct involvement of both Jordan and Egypt in a peace deal that would look very different from any under consideration today.
        "The maximum a government of Israel can offer to the Palestinians and still survive politically is less, far less, than any proposal that would be accepted by any Palestinian government," Eiland said. Regarding the West Bank, Jordan might consider reclaiming the sovereignty it exerted between 1948 and 1967, in order to head off the likely alternative - an eventual Hamas takeover. Under this arrangement, Palestinians there would be granted autonomy in all areas except foreign affairs and state security, which would be administered by Amman.
        As for Gaza, he said, the territory is too small and too crowded to be viable. He proposes a series of land swaps, in which Israel would retain 600 km. in the West Bank, where 270,000 Israelis now live. In exchange, Gaza would receive an equivalent tract of land in Egypt's Sinai, and Egypt would gain 600 km. of Israel's Negev, along with the possibility of a land route to Jordan (via a tunnel). All this would likely leave Hamas in control of Gaza, but Eiland said, "I believe Israel and Hamas can find a way to live together."  (Toronto Star-Canada)
        See also Video: The Future of the Two-State Solution - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Money Trail: Finding, Following, and Freezing Terrorist Finance - Matthew Levitt and Michael Jacobson
    In this new Washington Institute Policy Focus, senior fellows Matthew Levitt and Michael Jacobson - both former officials in the Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, now with the Institute's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence - explore the critical role that money plays in the success of terrorist organizations, and why countering financial flows must be an integral part of the U.S. government's counterterrorism strategy. They analyze how terrorist financing has matured since 2001, with case studies on al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hizbullah. They also assess the effectiveness of U.S. and international responses to this evolving threat, focusing on the performance of governments throughout the Middle East.
        Download the Study (84 pp., pdf) (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Observations:

    UK Foreign Secretary Sums Up the Trouble with Syria - Editorial (Telegraph-UK)

    • British Foreign Secretary David Miliband accurately summed up the West's perennial conundrum over how to deal with Syria after his talks on Tuesday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
    • The Syrian regime, he said, "can be a force for stability or it can be a force for instability," and more often than not it has chosen the latter course through its active support for Islamist-inspired terrorism and nuclear proliferation.
    • The Syrian government plays host to radical Palestinian movements such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad that are not averse to employing terror tactics to achieve their goals, and actively supports the Iran-backed Hizbullah militia that constantly threatens Israel's northern border, while the Assad regime itself was implicated in the murder of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
    • Syria's main regional ally is Iran, with which it is suspected of collaborating in developing nuclear weapons, and it also has close ties with North Korea, which supplies Damascus with ballistic missiles.
    • If the Syrians really are serious about bringing stability to the region, they could make a good start by ending their involvement in their many rogue activities.

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