Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 2, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Egypt's New Leader Wants U.S. to Release Sheik Convicted in 1993 World Trade Center Attack - David D. Kirkpatrick (New York Times)
    In a televised speech to tens of thousands of supporters in Tahrir Square on Friday, President-elect Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood promised to work for the release of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian-born militant Islamist convicted after the 1993 World Trade Center attack of plotting to bomb several New York City landmarks.

What Now for Egypt's Uneasy Peace with Israel? - Nervana Mahmoud (Telegraph-UK)
    Mohamed Morsi's victory in the Egyptian presidential election has triggered fear regarding the future of the Camp David peace treaty.
    There is an air of hostility in Egypt toward Israel; the public is in no mood to establish warm relationships with what many still describe as the "Zionist entity."
    This description is widespread across society, and recent polls from the Pew Research Center have shown that most Egyptians favor overturning the 1979 peace treaty.
    If militant groups succeed in infiltrating Israel from Sinai and manage to cause widespread casualties, they could drag the Egyptians and the Israelis into an undesired confrontation.
    The survival of the treaty may depend on how Morsi's Egypt controls the security situation in Sinai, and how he will handle the "brothers" in Gaza.
    Even if Egypt under Morsi's leadership can maintain the treaty, the peace is gone, and it won't be back for a long time.

UNESCO Adds Nativity Church in Bethlehem to Heritage List - Isabel Kershner (New York Times)
    The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was added on Friday to UNESCO's World Heritage List in a 13-to-6 vote of the World Heritage Committee, a move hailed by Palestinians as a significant political and diplomatic achievement.
    Israel and the U.S. lobbied strongly against the church's listing, just as they had opposed Palestine's UNESCO membership, viewing it as part of a contentious, wider campaign for international recognition of statehood in the absence of an agreement with Israel.
    See also Palestinian Crimes against Christian Arabs and Their Manipulation against Israel - Justus Reid Weiner (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    See also Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society - Justus Reid Weiner (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    See also Palestinian Terrorists Desecrate Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Israel Bombs Gaza Terror Cell Firing Rockets (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel air force aircraft struck a terror cell in Gaza early Monday as it was attempting to fire rockets into Israel, the IDF Spokesman's Unit announced. The aircraft registered a direct hit against the targets.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • World Powers Reach Syria Compromise - Nour Malas
    An international meeting in Geneva on Saturday on Syria's crisis agreed, with support from Russia, to support a political transition. However, officials at the meeting said any chance for a political transition to succeed rests on the willingness of the Syrian regime to cooperate. President Assad said ahead of the meeting that he would not accept any solution imposed by international powers. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Forging a Peace Plan for Syria - Kofi A. Annan (Washington Post)
        See also Syria Transition Plan Falters? - Sam Dagher
    At the core of the latest initiative is the creation by "mutual consent" of a new transitional government. In his news conference after the Geneva meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted there was nothing in the proposed plan stipulating that Mr. Assad should leave power and said his country succeeded in blocking the inclusion of language that would have called for making the plan obligatory under the UN Chapter 7 provision.
        Nadim Shehadi, an associate fellow at the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs, called the Geneva meeting "a flop" except for the opportunity it gave Russia to once more flex its muscles as a key player in Syria and the Middle East. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also In Syria, at least 85 Killed by Car Bombing at Funeral (Los Angeles Times)
  • Muslim Brotherhood's Ascent in Egypt Has Profound Implications for Syria - Liz Sly
    Former political prisoner Mohamed Morsi was sworn in Saturday as the first democratically elected president of the Arab world's most populous country. The impact is likely to be deeply felt in Syria, where the Syrian branch of the Brotherhood is emerging as a key player in the political opposition to Assad. In his inaugural speech, Morsi pledged to "spare no effort" to support the Syrian revolutionaries in their struggle against Assad.
        Members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood are planning to meet with Morsi in Cairo soon to explore how Egypt can help the Syrian effort to overthrow Assad, said Molham al-Drobi, a senior figure in the Syrian movement. A key request will be for Egypt to prevent passage through the Suez Canal for Russian and Iranian ships supplying weapons to the Syrian government. (Washington Post)
  • Israel Sought $1 Billion IMF Loan for Palestinians
    Israel sought a $1 billion IMF bridging loan for the Palestinian Authority earlier this year, but was turned down, Ha'aretz reported Monday. Israel's central bank chief Stanley Fischer approached the IMF after discussing the PA's financial crisis with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad. Israel was to have taken the loan on the Palestinians' behalf and then transfer the money to the PA, which would then repay Israel. The IMF turned the proposal down because it feared setting a precedent of making IMF money available to non-state entities which cannot directly request or receive IMF funding. (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Urges Egypt's Morsi to Honor Peace Treaty with Israel - Greer Fay Cashman and Tovah Lazaroff
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter Thursday to newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi emphasizing the importance of maintaining the two countries' 1979 peace agreement. Diplomatic sources said the document expressed Netanyahu's desire to see the continuation of cooperation and peace between the nations. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir Dies at 96 - Alexander Zvielli
    Yitzhak Shamir, a leader of the pre-state Lehi underground movement, who served as prime minister of Israel in 198384 and 198692, died Saturday at age 96. Even his political detractors credited him with being a public figure of iron integrity, rare modesty, fearless courage, a genuine family man and a true Israeli patriot.
        A former Mossad agent, Likud MK and Knesset Speaker, he was serving as foreign minister when parachuted into the prime minister's office in 1983 following the sudden resignation of Menachem Begin. Shamir become the first prime minister to negotiate directly with the Palestinians when pressured by the U.S. to attend the 1991 Madrid conference. During the Gulf war of 1992, Shamir refrained from retaliating against Iraq, which sent Scud missiles against Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Shamir (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Video: Israelis Pay Last Respects to Yitzhak Shamir at the Knesset - Boaz Fyler (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Lessons of Yitzhak Shamir - Jonathan S. Tobin
    The victory of the Zionist movement to create the State of Israel was won despite long odds, desperate hardships and grievous costs in blood. The men and women who battled those odds did so in the face of the conventional wisdom of their day that told them they had no chance of forcing the British Empire to make good on its promise to create a National Home for the Jews or to defeat an Arab and Muslim world determined to crush the newborn state. They needed not only courage but also an iron will and the patience to bear great suffering while never losing sight of their goal. No person embodied those attributes more than Yitzhak Shamir.
        As one of the leaders of the Lehi (the acronym in Hebrew for the Freedom Fighters of Israel) but better known abroad as the Stern Gang, it is true Shamir participated in and ordered terrorist attacks on British soldiers and civilian leaders who were carrying out the policies that were preventing Jews seeking to escape the Holocaust from coming to Palestine. Yet by the end of World War II, the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine was united in their determination to fight the British, who were determined not to let the Jewish state emerge.
        After the War of Independence, Shamir's underground skills were made good use of by the country's Mossad intelligence agency where, among other exploits, he helped lead those who killed some of the former Nazi rocket scientists who were working in Egypt to create new weapons to kill Jews. (Commentary)
        See also Man Made of Steel - Ehud Olmert
    Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir did not anticipate a political career. He was never involved in any sort of maneuvering that characterizes party politics, and felt quite uncomfortable in this environment. The toughness and self-control he demonstrated during times in which others panicked never ceased to amaze me.
        Shamir told me that when his father was warned in Poland that the extermination of all the Jews - himself included - was imminent, he replied: "I have a son in the Land of Israel, and he will exact my revenge on them." He was made of steel, determined and decisive; modest but proud of his Jewish heritage and, most of all, completely dedicated to the mission entrusted to him by his father, who died knowing that his son Yitzhak Shamir (Jeziernicky) would never let the Jewish nation suffer the same fate as his parents and many of his relatives did. The writer is a former prime minister of Israel. (Ynet News)
        See also The Stubborn Embodiment of Jewish Self-Reliance - Matti Friedman (Times of Israel)
        See also The Shortest Giant: The Legacy of Yitzhak Shamir (1915-2012) - Karl Vick (TIME)
  • Syria Action Group Plan May Only Add to Muddle - Aaron David Miller
    It's hard to imagine that the new Kofi Annan plan for a national unity government leading to a political transition in Syria will have any more success than his last six-point initiative. As much as we'd all like to see a settlement negotiated, the killing end, the Assads depart, and a new democratic Syria born, it's unlikely to happen through the UN special envoy's plan. These kind of conflicts usually end when one side prevails or third parties intercede to tip the balance and force a solution. Neither is likely to happen anytime soon.
        Forget Kofi Annan. Not even Superman could unwind the current mess playing out in Syria. The conflict in Syria is less amenable to outside persuasion and intervention precisely because it's owned - as only a struggle for survival can be - by the parties waging it. And those who sit in Geneva, for all their good intentions, seem strangely irrelevant despite their collective power. (Al Monitor)

Muslim Brotherhood Preaching Israel Destruction after Election - Steven Emerson (Investigative Project on Terrorism)

  • "Every Muslim will be asked about the Zionists' usurpation of al-Aqsa Mosque. Why did he not seek to recover it, and wage Jihad in His way? Did he not care about the fatwa of the ulema [scholars] of the Muslims, 'Jihad of self and money to recover al-Aqsa is a duty on every Muslim?'" asked Mohamed Badie, General Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, in a June 14, 2012, speech.
  • "How happy would be the Muslims if all Muslim rulers made the Palestinian cause a pivotal issue, around which Muslims, rulers and the ruled, would line up," to make "the sole goal for all of them the recovery of al-Aqsa Mosque, freeing it from the filth of the Zionists, and imposing Muslim rule throughout beloved Palestine."
  • "The Lord of Glory has threatened these murdering Zionist criminals with a penalty of a kind which operates in this world before the Hereafter," he said, before referencing a Quranic quote calling Jews "apes, despised."
  • "We say to our people and our brothers in Palestine (all of Palestine): Unity, unity, persistence, persistence, reconciliation, reconciliation, and patience, patience. Make your motto and your starting point be in confronting the Zionists."

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