Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 9, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Arafat Suffered from Leukemia, Medical Treatment Exasperated His Condition - Amir Rapaport (Israel Defense)
    In October 2004, IDF intelligence received news regarding severe deterioration in the physical health of Yasser Arafat in the Mukata building in Ramallah where Arafat was besieged.
    Spanish diplomat Javier Solana, then in charge of foreign and defense matters for the EU, phoned Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's bureau to request the release of Arafat from the siege to allow him to receive medical treatment in Europe.
    A senior PA official told Sharon's bureau chief Dov Weisglass that "Arafat only had a few weeks left to live. If he dies in the Mukata, you will be perceived as responsible for his death."
    Arafat arrived on October 29 in Paris in serious condition. According to information revealed here for the first time from sources that had first-hand knowledge of the full picture, he suffered from complications stemming from leukemia.
    Arafat's condition had begun to improve at the French hospital. Then, according to Israeli sources, the French doctors performed a dramatic measure - a full body blood transfusion.
    The process put Arafat in a state of shock and into a coma, one from which he never recovered. He died on November 11, 2004.
    The direct cause of Arafat's death was the medical treatment he was given. The heads of the PA and the widow, Suha Arafat, knew the truth all along, and they know it just as well today.

European Security Group Rejects PA Membership (Jerusalem Post)
    The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on Saturday rejected a Palestinian application to join the organization as an observer in a 28-21 vote, Israel Army Radio reported Sunday.
    The U.S., Germany, Italy, and Turkey were among those opposed to the application.

German Firms Still Ship Dual-Use Goods to Iran - Benjamin Weinthal and Maximillian Kiewel (Jerusalem Post)
    Germany's multi-billion euro bilateral trade relationship with Iran continues unabated. The Jerusalem Post has obtained a list from late 2011 showing hundreds of German and Iranian enterprises in a flourishing trade relationship.
    German equipment could be used to build more underground nuclear facilities. Baden-Wurttemberg-based engineering giant Herrenknecht AG appears to be delivering heavy tunneling equipment to Iran - some of which is promoted as having the capability of "drilling down to depths of 6,000 meters."

Man Sentenced for Selling Israelis Land - Nasouh Nazzal (Gulf News-Dubai)
    A 62-year-old Palestinian from Al Jeeb, northwest of Jerusalem, identified as A.Kh., has admitted to the Ramallah Court of First Instance that he was responsible for passing several plots of land to the Israelis.
    Sources in Ramallah said the suspect had provided the Israeli buyers with all the necessary official documents to prove their claims to the land.
    The Ramallah court sentenced the suspect to five years of hard labor.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Egyptian President Morsi Defies Ruling Generals, Orders Parliament to Reconvene - Amina Ismail and Hassan El Naggar
    Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Sunday ordered the country's dissolved Parliament back in session in his first public challenge to the ruling military council. (McClatchy-Miami Herald)
        See also Obama Invites Egyptian President for U.S. Visit
    Egypt's new President Mohammad Morsi has received an invitation from U.S. President Barack Obama to visit the U.S. and attend the UN General Assembly session in September. The invitation was delivered by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency Dr. Yasser Ali said in Cairo Sunday. During his meeting with President Morsi, Burns reaffirmed Washington's support for Egypt's democratic transition and economic recovery, Ali said. (KUNA-Kuwait)
        See also Egypt's Morsi to Make Saudi Arabia His First Foreign Visit (VOA News)
  • Syria: United Rebels Gain Ground as Slow War Comes to Aleppo - Ruth Sherlock
    In the countryside north of Aleppo, the rebels of the Free Syrian Army reign. FSA fighters launch frequent attacks on checkpoints and Syrian army military bases that defend the city.
        The rebels' most forward position of Hraytan lies only three miles from the city's fringes. "We can get inside Aleppo now, and we are supplying guns to FSA units in the city center," said Wassim, 23, a fighter in Anadan.
        Free Syrian Army units, which until recently had largely been made up of disparate militias protecting their own territories, are joining forces, bringing more military success. Last week, fighters in Der Tazzeh attacked a Syrian army position. "The base was giving helicopters coordinates of where to fire missiles," said the local commander. "Almost every attack we make, we already know that many soldiers in the target will defect," he added. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Syrian Rebels Use Tank for First Time - Avi Issacharoff
    On Sunday, Syrian rebels used a tank for the first time in attacking government forces. "The brigades of the (rebel) Military Revolutionary Council in the eastern region carried out the attack against an artillery camp with the use of a tank seized earlier from the regular army," said the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Panel Recommends State Legalize West Bank Outposts, Says Territory Not Occupied
    A government-appointed committee has recommended that Israel legalize dozens of unsanctioned West Bank settlement outposts, a member of the panel said Monday. The panel of jurists, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, also concluded that the West Bank is not occupied territory and therefore Israel has the legal right to settle it, according to committee member Alan Baker, a former legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry. Baker said the area is not sovereign territory and therefore, "the actual act of settling the West Bank is not illegal."  (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Won't Cooperate with UN Settlement Probe - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israel does not plan to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission into West Bank settlement activity that was appointed in Geneva on Friday. "The fact-finding mission will find no cooperation in Israel and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the territories," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. "Its existence embodies the inherent distortion that typifies the UNHRC treatment of Israel and the hijacking of the important human rights agenda by nondemocratic countries."
        "Putting the disproportionate focus on Israel while systematically ignoring massive human rights violations in the very countries who bear responsibility for this focus, only leads to the contempt and degradation of the important cause of universal human rights," Palmor said. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel: UNHRC's Action Is Flawed and Biased (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Abbas to Attend Tehran Summit, Following Invitation by Ahmadinejad - Avi Issacharoff
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Tehran in late August to attend a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, after he was invited by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Palestinian officials said on Sunday. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Abbas Decision to Attend Iran Parley Irks Israel - Herb Keinon
    Israeli officials on Monday slammed PA President Mahmoud Abbas for accepting an Iranian invitation to attend a conference in Tehran. "Abbas has to get off the fence and decide whom he is with," one official said. "He cannot on the one hand say he believes in peace and reconciliation, and on the other hand embrace Hamas and the Iranian leadership." The official said Abbas could not tell Israel he was a partner for peace "if he is a partner with these extreme elements."
        One diplomatic official in Jerusalem said the question should not be as much why Abbas is attending, but rather why the Non-Aligned Movement is holding a meeting in Iran in the first place. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran Has No "Right" to Enrich Uranium - Michael Makovsky and Blaise Misztal
    A central Iranian negotiating demand is acknowledgment of its "right" to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) grants no such right. If the world accedes to Iran's terms and allows continued enrichment - even as an interim "confidence-building measure" - international powers would cede any legal basis for demanding further concessions or continuing to impose sanctions.
        Iran's legal transgressions should be exposed for what they are: further evidence of Tehran's unwillingness to stop a nuclear program that violates international law. Mr. Makovsky, a former Pentagon official, is director of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Foreign Policy Project, of which Mr. Misztal is associate director. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Oil Sanctions Against Iran Will Not Be Enough - Michael Singh
    Iran's oil exports have declined from 2.5 million barrels per day to 1.5 million. But Iran is still one of the world's top oil exporters, from which it earns billions in hard currency. And nothing suggests that the drop in earnings has stunted Iran's nuclear program. Iran is enriching uranium faster and to higher levels than ever before. Numerous examples - including Gaddafi's Libya, Saddam Hussein's Iraq and present-day North Korea - demonstrate that such regimes can hold out for a long time in the face of sanctions.
        To meaningfully increase the pressure, policymakers should identify and exploit the regime's other vulnerabilities. Bolder international efforts to oust the regime of Bashar al-Assad would considerably weaken Tehran's position, as would greater emphasis on interdicting arms and funding flowing to and from Iran. Finally, Washington should bolster the credibility of its military threat. The writer, managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, worked on Middle East issues at the National Security Council from 2005 to 2008. (Washington Post)
  • Israel's Arab Spring Problem - David Ignatius
    Most top government officials in Jerusalem think that relations with the Arabs are gradually going to get worse, perhaps for decades, before democracy really takes root and the Arab public, perhaps, will be ready to accept the Jewish state. The challenge for Israel is how to avoid inflaming Arab public opinion, a newly important factor, while protecting the country.
        Some of the officials who know the Arab world best think that for at least the next several years, as Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders try to consolidate power, they may appear cooperative. But at the core of the Brotherhood's ideology is rejection of Israel, and any compromises with Israel will be tactical moves, rather than real peace. Israel's existence, never easy, has gotten more complicated and unpredictable. (Washington Post)

Narrow BDS Defeat Nothing to Celebrate - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)

  • By the narrowest of margins, 333-331, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA defeated a resolution calling for divestment from companies that do business with Israel's security forces. The narrow margin is a virtual guarantee that divestment advocates will be back next year at the Presbyterian conclave as well as other gatherings of mainline Protestant groups.
  • A narrow majority of Presbyterian delegates still understands that a vote for such a resolution involves the church in what amounts to an economic war against the Jewish state and a potential break in relations with American Jews. Motorola and Hewlett-Packard produce devices that help the Israel Defense Forces monitor security checkpoints for terrorist explosives and other dangers. Caterpillar vehicles help construct Israel's defense barrier that keeps out suicide bombers as well as demolish structures that shield terrorist activities.
  • This divestment resolution amounts to an endorsement of the actions of Palestinian terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank that Israeli security forces seek to prevent. Far from being a neutral sentiment aimed at conveying sympathy for oppressed Palestinians, such a divestment vote would have been a declaration that a major American church group thinks Israel doesn't have the right to defend itself against terrorism.
  • That American Christians who profess to care about human rights would stand aloof from the dozens of other conflicts around the world where humanitarian catastrophes exist while concentrating their energy on trying to punish Israel is a shocking statement of their bias. Those who judge the Jewish state differently from other nations are engaging in a form of prejudice that is indistinguishable from anti-Semitism.
  • This close call is nothing to celebrate. The vote is an ominous portent of the shift among liberal Protestants against Israel and in favor of an anti-Semitic war on the Jewish state. The fight against divestment is just beginning.

        See also Yes, It's Personal - Editorial
    The one continuous message many Presbyterian leaders have sent in the run-up to the vote in Pittsburgh to divest from companies doing business in Israel and to brand practices of the region's only democracy as "apartheid," is that it's nothing personal. They say they really have a deep respect for the Jewish community and that they hope these measures will promote a lasting peace. Sorry, but we don't buy that - not if they adopt these resolutions.
        To lay the blame for the failed peace effort squarely at Israel's feet is to ignore way too many facts on the ground, not to mention facts of history. And to banter the word "apartheid" around, when the term clearly bears no resemblance to what's happening in Israel and the Palestinian territories, is nothing more than incitement by the Presbyterian Church USA. This is personal to the Jewish world, and the PC (USA) needs to know that. (Jewish Chronicle-Pittsburgh)

        See also U.S. Presbyterians Boycott Israeli Cosmetics Company Ahava - Ran Dagoni
    The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA voted 457 to 180 to boycott Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories Ltd. and Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers Co-operative Ltd. because the companies are based beyond the Green Line. One delegate said he opposed the boycott because his dermatologist highly recommended Ahava products. In another vote, the commissioners voted 463-175 against labeling Israeli policy toward the Palestinians "apartheid."  (Globes)

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