Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


April 14, 2009

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli, U.S. Intelligence Tips Led to Egypt's Capture of Hizbullah Cell in Sinai - Yossi Melman, Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
    Foreign intelligence services, including the Israeli Mossad and the CIA, contributed information to Egypt that led to the uncovering of a Hizbullah terror cell in that country, Philippe Vasset, editor of Intelligence Online, said Monday.
    The head of the ring operating in Egypt, Lebanese citizen Sami Shihab, had been in touch for some time with Hizbullah.
    Following the death of Hizbullah's terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh, its special branch has been led jointly by Nawaf al-Mussawi, Wafic Safa and Sheikh Ali Dugmush.
    The three operate in coordination with Gen. Faisal Bagherzadeh, head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard mission to Lebanon.

Daily Alert Needs Your Support
Daily Alert is the work of a team of expert analysts who find the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy.
    No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and thousands of people who want to stay on top of the news.
    To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

European Telecoms Sell Spy Technology to Iran - Eli Lake (Washington Times)
    Two European companies last year installed an electronic surveillance system for Iran that human rights advocates and intelligence experts say can help Iran target dissidents.
    Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), a joint venture between the Finnish cell-phone giant Nokia and German powerhouse Siemens, delivered a monitoring center to Irantelecom, Iran's state-owned telephone company.
    A spokesman for NSN said the servers were sold for "lawful intercept functionality" to tap phones, read e-mails and surveil electronic data.
    In Iran, a country that frequently jails dissidents and where regime opponents rely heavily on Web-based communication with the outside world, a monitoring center could provide a valuable tool to intensify repression.

Hamas Waits to Be "Discovered" - George Giacaman (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    Hamas does not perceive itself as having lost in the Gaza war, despite the tremendous price the Palestinians paid. The movement is still in control of the territory and assumes that realpolitik will ultimately prevail.
    An additional factor is the uncertain regional policies of the West. Both the U.S. and the UK have altered their classification of "terrorist organizations," so that Washington has discovered there is a "moderate" wing to the Taliban that can be negotiated with, while the UK discovered a "political" wing to Hizbullah.
    Hamas, too, has a political wing, as well as "moderates," waiting to be discovered.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
We wish our readers a Happy Passover holiday!
Daily Alert will not appear on Wednesday, April 15

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. May Drop Key Condition for Talks with Iran - David E. Sanger
    The Obama administration and its European allies are preparing proposals that would shift strategy toward Iran by dropping a longstanding American insistence that Tehran shut down nuclear facilities during the early phases of negotiations over its atomic program, according to officials involved in the discussions. Iran would be allowed to continue enriching uranium for some period during the talks. However, administration officials said any new American policy would ultimately require Iran to cease enrichment, as demanded by several UN Security Council resolutions. (New York Times)
        See also Report: Iran Candidate Rules Out Enrichment Suspension
    Iranian presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi has ruled out suspending uranium enrichment but would work to verify Iran was not diverting its nuclear program for weapons, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. "No one in Iran would accept suspension," he said. (Reuters)
        See also Interview with Mirhossein Mousavi (Financial Times-UK)
  • Lebanon Faces June Election - James Kirchick
    "They are the martyrs. You are the witnesses," proclaims one of Beirut's ubiquitous political billboards sponsored by the country's anti-Syrian "March 14th" coalition, and features the faces of ten men murdered in the last four years, most likely by the Syrian government or its accessories in Lebanon. A March 14th celebration flew the banners of the many constituent camps that make up the diverse coalition - ranging from the Christian Lebanese Forces to the Druze Progressive Socialist Party - but the Lebanese flag was ubiquitous.
        At a Hizbullah rally, only the emblem of Hizbullah was displayed. In June, Lebanese will head to the polls for the first time since the March 14th coalition won its parliamentary majority in 2005. "Both the majority and the opposition believe they can win," says Nassib Lahoud, a former ambassador to the U.S. and a leading anti-Syrian politician. (City Journal)
        See also The Swastika and the Cedar - Christopher Hitchens (Vanity Fair)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Ahmadinejad to Attend Durban 2 Anti-Racism Conference
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will attend the UN anti-racism conference in Geneva in late April, Iran's state-run media reported Monday. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Conference of Presidents Calls on Delegates to Durban 2 to Be Absent When Ahmadinejad Speaks
    Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called on all delegations to the upcoming Durban 2 conference to absent themselves or walk out when Iran's radical president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addresses the conference. "Rather than address racism, bigotry and xenophobia as was intended, the conference has been hijacked by those seeking to use it as a platform for their extremist views. The presence of President Ahmadinejad underscores the wisdom of the decision of the United States...not to participate. It is our hope that other democratic states will pull out."  (Conference of Presidents)
        See also Sharansky, Wiesel to Help Counter Durban 2 Conference - Yitzhak Benhorin
    Prominent members of the Jewish community and survivors of racially-motivated torture from Africa, Cuba and Burma have joined an unprecedented campaign, led by a coalition of 40 human rights groups from around the world, to present human rights and discrimination issues that the world community should address at the Durban 2 conference. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Eli Wiesel, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy and former prisoner of Zion and Israeli minister Natan Sharansky are expected to attend events on the sidelines of the conference. (Ynet News)
  • Israel's North Sea - Amiram Cohen
    During the 1960s, Britain emerged from an economic crisis when it discovered large oil and gas deposits in the North Sea. This year, Israel discovered its own North Sea in the Mediterranean in two undersea gas fields, called Tamar and Dalit. Searches at as many as 20 other offshore sites are expected to accelerate. But even if there are no more finds, the deposits already uncovered have transformed Israel, guaranteeing gas reserves for at least two decades. In addition, electricity companies will no longer rely on coal-fired power plants. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Hamas Hate Industry
    Hamas' on-going battle for hearts and minds often contains clearly anti-Semitic elements. A play put on at the Islamic University in Gaza City to mark the anniversary of the death of Hamas founder sheikh Ahmed Yassin, broadcast on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV on April 3, preached hatred of the Jews, claiming that Jews drank and washed their hands in Arab-Muslim blood, insinuating it was part of their religious rituals. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hamas Never Accepted a Two-State Solution - Uriel Heilman
    In a Monday op-ed in the New York Times, Paul McGeough wrote: "Over the long term, Hamas accepts the concept of two states in the Levant, which arguably puts [Hamas leader Khalid] Meshaal's terrorist movement closer to Washington than Netanyahu is - he now proposes only 'economic peace' between Jews and Palestinians." I'm mystified as to what led McGeough to conclude that Hamas accepts the two-state solution over the long term, or what led the Times' editors to let this factually incorrect line run. Hamas has indicated support for a long-term cease-fire with Israel, but at every turn has made clear that its ultimate goal is conquest of all of historic Palestine, even if it takes 100 years.
        Netanyahu didn't try to kill Meshaal in the 1990s because he didn't like Meshaal; he did so because Meshaal was the leader of a terrorist group carrying out suicide bombings in Israeli malls, buses and hotels. Meshaal's main objection to Netanyahu isn't personal; it's because he's the leader of an entity, Israel, that he's sworn to destroy. (JTA)
        See also Hamas Comes Out of Hiding - Paul McGeough (New York Times)
  • Russian Roulette with Iranian Nukes - Michael J. Totten
    There's a theory floating around that Iran doesn't want to use nuclear weapons against Israel. Rather, Iran wants nuclear weapons so it can transform itself into a true regional superpower. President Obama said a nuclear Iran would be a "game changer." He's right. The worst case scenario - the incineration of Tel Aviv - isn't likely. I don't expect it will ever actually happen. But I don't live in Israel. I'm safe and can afford to be wrong. The Israeli government won't make the same risk calculations I make. If I'm wrong, they're dead, and so is their country.
        Let's assume, for the sake of discussion, that it's 90% likely Iran's threats of annihilation are just bluster. And let me ask this: How would you feel if your doctor diagnosed you with an illness and said there's a 10% chance it will kill you? Would you sleep peacefully and do nothing and hope for the best? Those odds, for me, are prohibitive. Those odds are almost as bad as the odds in Russian Roulette, and you couldn't pay me enough to play that game even once. (
  • Jerusalem Mayor: If Arabs Can Live in Jewish Neighborhoods, Why Can't Jews Live in Arab Neighborhoods? - Tuli Fikrash
    During Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's recent visit to the U.S., Maariv headlined a story: "Barkat Enables Jewish Building in Eastern Jerusalem." After hearing about it, the mayor didn't quite understand the controversy. From his perspective, Jews are permitted to live in any section of Jerusalem.
        "The Israel Supreme Court has ruled that in the State of Israel and in Jerusalem in particular, Arabs may live in Jewish neighborhoods," he said last week. "Arabs live in the [Jewish] French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem and the Supreme Court approved this. I'm adopting the perspective of the Supreme Court. Jews are also allowed to live in any part of the city, including the eastern part. It is their democratic, Jewish, and ideological right to live wherever they want." Mayor Barkat heads a coalition that includes 30 of the 31 members of the Jerusalem City Council. (Makor Rishon-Hebrew, 8Apr09)
  • Observations:

    The Jewish People's Ties to the Land of Israel - Allen Z. Hertz (Jerusalem Post)

    • There is an enormous body of archeological and historical evidence demonstrating that the Jewish people - like the Greek people or the Han Chinese people - is among the oldest of the world's peoples. The Jewish people has more than 3,500 years of continuous history, with a national identity that, in each century, has kept a link to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The Jewish Bible, the Christian Gospels and the Koran all specifically testify to the connection between the Jewish people and its historic homeland.
    • Like other peoples, the Jewish people has a right to self-determination. Though the self-determination of the Arab people is expressed via 21 Arab countries, Israel is the sole expression of the self-determination of the Jewish people, which of all extant peoples, has the strongest claim to be considered aboriginal to the territory west of the Jordan River. Thus, the Jewish people is aboriginal to Israel in the same way that, in Canada, certain First Nations are deemed aboriginal to their ancestral lands.
    • Though some Western thinkers are now uncomfortable with the idea of a nation-state as the homeland of a particular people, the overwhelming majority of modern states are the homeland of a particular people, e.g., Japan, Italy or the 21 countries of the Arab League.
    • At the 1919-1920 Paris Peace Conference at the end of World War I, a powerful international searchlight was trained on the self-determination of peoples, including the claims of the Arab people. However, no one there had ever heard anything about a distinct Palestinian Arab people. The international decision to create Palestine "as a national home for the Jewish people" was made in recognition of the Jewish people's aboriginal title and continuing links to the land. The Paris decision-makers strongly believed that they had also done justice to the claims of the Arab people via the creation or recognition of several new Arab states.
    • Moreover, the decision to create a Jewish national home in Palestine did not result in the displacement of any Arabs. To the contrary, from 1922 until 1948, the Arab population of Palestine almost tripled. The later problem of Arab refugees only emerged from May 1948, when local Arabs allied with several neighboring Arab states to launch a war to exterminate the Jews.
    • This analysis does not deny the current existence of a distinct Palestinian Arab people; nor does it claim that such a Palestinian Arab people is without rights. Rather, the conclusion is that there are rights on all sides, and that there should be a peaceful process that respectfully reconciles the rights of the Palestinian Arab people with the prior rights of the Jewish people.

      The writer was formerly senior adviser in the Privy Council Office serving Canada's prime minister and the federal cabinet.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert