Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Via Smartphone
  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
March 24, 2011

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Children's Graffiti Sparked Wave of Syrian Protests - Roula Khalaf (Financial Times-UK)
    Inspired by the images of Arab revolutions incessantly shown on pan-Arab satellite TV, schoolchildren in Daraa wrote on walls some of the anti-regime slogans they were hearing, only to find themselves detained by the police.
    Their families took to the streets last week to protest against the arrest of their children, leading to a Syrian government crackdown.

Israel Can Say Farewell to Peace - Ari Shavit (Ha'aretz)
    With the great Arab revolt threatening his regime, there is no chance that President Bashar Assad will choose the path of peace with Israel.
    The Assad of 2011 lacks the legitimacy to negotiate for peace as well as the minimal maneuvering room needed to make peace.
    With the great Arab revolt sweeping up PA President Mahmoud Abbas, there is no chance that he will pay the price needed to reach peace.
    Abbas cannot tell three million Palestinian refugees that he has forged a compromise on the right of return, or that he has compromised on Jerusalem.

Dear Reuters, You Must Be Kidding - Jeffrey Goldberg (Atlantic Monthly)
    A Reuters story on Wednesday's Jerusalem bombing reported: "Police said it was a 'terrorist attack' - Israel's term for a Palestinian strike."
    Those Israelis and their crazy terms! I mean, referring to a fatal bombing of civilians as a "terrorist attack"?
    Who are they kidding? Everyone knows that a fatal bombing of Israeli civilians should be referred to as a "teachable moment." Or as a "venting of certain frustrations." Or as "an understandable reaction to Jewish perfidy."
    I suppose Reuters will mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by referring to the attacks as "an exercise in urban renewal."

Egypt Air Removes Israel from Map - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Egypt Air, the largest airline in Egypt, has removed Israel from the map. On its website, Jordan's land reaches the Mediterranean Sea.
    Other airlines based in Muslim countries, such as Turkish Airlines and Royal Jordanian, include Israel and Tel Aviv on its maps.
    The omission is especially odd since the airline flies to Israel four times a week.

Four Charged in Plot to Export Jet Engines to Iran (AFP)
    Four Colombians face charges linked to an attempt to illegally export 22 F-5 fighter jet engines to Iran, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Under Airstrikes and Missiles, Gaddafi Forces Roll Back
    From Ajdabiya in the east to Misrata in the west, coalition aircraft on Wednesday targeted Libyan mechanized forces, mobile surface-to-air missile sites, and lines of communications. Neither the rebels nor Gaddafi has mustered the force for an outright victory, raising concerns of a prolonged conflict. NATO nations remained deadlocked over the alliance's possible role in enforcing the UN-authorized no-fly zone. Meanwhile, NATO warships started patrolling Wednesday to enforce the UN arms embargo against Libya. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Gaddafi Shells Towns, Rebels Pinned Down in Libya's East - Maria Golovnina and Michael Georgy (Reuters)
  • Syria Cracks Down on Protests, 25 Killed - Garrett Therolf and Meris Lutz
    25 people were killed by Syrian security forces Wednesday in the southern city of Daraa, witnesses said, when hundreds of government security agents raided the Omari mosque where anti-government demonstrators had sought refuge. Security forces used live ammunition against supporters of the protests from nearby villages attempting to join them. "There are hundreds of wounded and injured in the streets," a human rights activist reported. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also At Syrian Hospital, Casualties "All Had Bullet Holes"  (MSNBC)
  • Jewish Leaders Demand Increased Protection at Mount of Olives Cemetery
    Israelis and American Jewish leaders are demanding that the Israeli government increase protection to ensure that those buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem can rest in peace. Israelis claim Palestinians from surrounding east Jerusalem neighborhoods attack visitors two to three times a week, sometimes stoning funeral processions. They accuse Arabs of building illegally on top of graves, using tombstones as goalposts for soccer games and lobbing firebombs to desecrate the cemetery.
        At a recent visit to the cemetery, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said he's heard from hundreds of families in the U.S. who can't visit buried relatives without protection from armed guards. "In Jerusalem, Jews can't go and visit an ancient burial site that is supposedly sacred?" Hoenlein asked.
        At least 150,000 graves line the hill opposite the Temple Mount. Between 1948 and 1967, when the Mount of Olives was under Jordanian control, some 40,000 graves were destroyed. In some parts of the cemetery, vandalism has reduced many gravestones to piles of shattered shards. Arabic graffiti blots some of the walls. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Bomb Explodes in Jerusalem; 1 Dead, 30 Hurt - Nir Hasson
    A bomb exploded Wednesday at a crowded bus stop outside the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, just opposite the central bus station. A British woman was killed and at least 30 people were wounded in the incident, three of them seriously.  The bomb was apparently hidden in a bag next to a telephone pole. (Ha'aretz)
        See also "Jerusalem Explosion Victims Were Completely Covered in Blood" (Ha'aretz)
        See also "There Were 20 Seconds of Silence, Then Screams Began" - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
  • Islamic Jihad Commanders Go into Hiding - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza ordered all its commanders to go into hiding for fear that the IDF will aim to kill the group's leaders, reinforcing the estimate that Islamic Jihad was behind the bombing in Jerusalem Wednesday. (Ynet News)
        See also PA Police Arrest Two Islamic Jihad Members for Jerusalem Attack - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Air Force Strikes Rocket Launchers after Attacks from Gaza - Yaakov Katz
    Israeli airstrikes hit rocket-launching terrorists, smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border and a Hamas training camp following rocket attacks in Beersheba and Ashkelon. On Wednesday, seven mortar shells containing white phosphorous struck Israel. All schools were closed on Thursday in Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon as a result of the security situation. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Shock and Fear Returns to Beersheba - Ben Hartman
    Hours after a Grad rocket crashed into a Beersheba neighborhood Wednesday, schoolchildren walked around collecting ball bearings and other shrapnel that had been packed into the rocket to maximize its destructive power. Mordechai Saani's house was pockmarked with holes, and there was shattered glass all over. Ball bearings were still lodged in the interior walls in each of the house's four rooms. "We heard the alarm and grabbed the kids from their beds and took them to an interior room only moments before the missile struck," Saani said.
        The neighborhood was the boyhood home of Vice Premier Silvan Shalom. The strike blew out several windows of the synagogue built by Shalom in honor of his late father. Shimon Tsiboni, 33, was at the synagogue when the sirens went off. "It was a serious miracle, look at where it struck, literally between two houses," Tsiboni said. "Only a few meters this way or that and it would have killed everyone inside those houses."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The West's Revenge on Gaddafi - Benny Morris
    Ostensibly, Western air and naval units have been attacking Libyan military facilities in order to protect the rebels and surrounding civilian populations from Gaddafi's murderous onslaught. Many observers suspect that the West's real aim is to topple the Gaddafi regime. An element of revenge is surely at play here, and rightly so.
        On April 5, 1986, Gaddafi sent a team of terrorists to bomb a West Berlin nightclub, La Belle, frequented by American servicemen. In the explosion, three died and 230 were injured. On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 passengers and 11 villagers of Lockerbie. The bombing was carried out by two Libyan intelligence agents, tried and convicted in a Scottish court in 2001. On September 19, 1989, a team of Libyans planted a bomb on a French DC-10 airliner flying between Chad and Paris, killing all 171 on board.
        The U.S., France and Britain have never forgiven Gaddafi for these outrages. What we are seeing now is the long-delayed, but sweet, payback. (National Interest)
  • British Columnist Melanie Phillips Being Investigated by Police for Referring to Arab "Savages" Who Murdered Jewish Family - Robin Shepherd
    Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, reported Friday that Bedfordshire Police are investigating the magazine because a group called "Muslims4UK" took exception to a piece by Melanie Phillips on her blog in which she referred to the Arabs who had murdered five members of a Jewish family in Itamar the week before as "savages." The story was reported in the media, but if you'd blinked you'd have missed it. Melanie's column was a typically robust effort to point out the moral depravity of news outlets which, if the situation had been reversed - if five Arabs including a three-month-old baby had been knifed to death in their beds by Jews, for example - would have given it saturation coverage.
        A prominent British columnist does what prominent British columnists are supposed to do - she attempts to shift the terms of the debate back on to a more rational and principled footing - and the net result is that the police have been called in because she has offended Muslim sensitivities. (Robin Shepherd)
        See also A Family Slaughtered in Israel - Doesn't the BBC Care? - MP Louise Bagshawe (Telegraph-UK)

U.S. Must Take Sides to Keep the Arab Spring from Islamist Takeover - Ray Takeyh (Washington Post)

  • Islamism is very much a relic of the 20th century, a discredited orthodoxy of limited appeal to the Arab masses. History has shown, however, that well-organized parties of circumscribed appeal can nevertheless assume greater influence by exploiting the disarray of transition periods and divisions within democratic camps.
  • The problem is compounded by the temptation among many in the West to appeal to the "political" wing of militant organizations such as Hizbullah or to reach out to "moderate" elements of Islamist parties. The challenge for Washington today is not to cling to some kind of ecumenical spirit but to actively choose sides and fortify the political center against forces of intolerance.
  • Many in the West presume that once Islamist parties are integrated into the political order, the burdens of governance will inevitably lead them to dispense with their ideological past. This does a disservice to the Muslim Brotherhood and its many offspring, denigrating their commitment to their dogma.
  • The moderation that these groups have exhibited in the past few decades in places such as Egypt was pragmatism born out of compulsion, not some kind of intellectual evolution. Relieved of the constraints of Arab police states, they are free to advance their illiberal, anti-Western agendas.

    The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert