Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 7, 2014

In-Depth Issue:

ISIS Already in Gaza Strip - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
Despite denials by Hamas, there is growing evidence that the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] -- also known as "The Islamic State" -- has begun operating in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Authority [PA] and Israeli security sources are convinced that followers of ISIS in the Gaza Strip are responsible for some of the recent rocket attacks on Israel. Hamas, they say, seems to be losing control over the dozens of terror cells belonging to ISIS and other jihadi groups.

India, Israel Discuss Increased Defense Cooperation - Vivek Raghuvanshi (Defense News)
India and Israel may reach a new level of defense cooperation under the new government in Delhi, with both sides discussing a list of defense items that could be supplied to India on a government-to-government basis.
The weapons wish list includes unspecified numbers of Sword Fish high-powered radars for ground tracking, and purchase of unspecified numbers of 1,000-kilogram new generation precision guided munitions, and a variety of missiles.
India also wants to purchase two additional airborne warning and control systems from Israel, in addition to the four already contracted in 2005. India urged Israel to speed up the delayed Indo-Israeli Long Range Surface to Air Missile project for its recently acquired Russian aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya.

U.S. Company Signs $1.175bn Iran Energy Deal (AFP/Times of India)
A U.S. company has signed a preliminary agreement to invest $1.175 billion in Iran, in a rare joint commercial project to turn rubbish and human waste into electricity.
California-based World Eco Energy told AFP it plans to produce 250 megawatts daily by burning trash and by processing algae and salt and waste water into power. Iran will match the U.S. investment, the company said.

Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari Re-elected to UN Women's Committee (Ha'aretz)
For the third year in a row, the United Nations' Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will have an Israeli representative on its panel as it opens its fifty-eighth session on Monday.
One of the 23 experts on the committee is Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, a law professor from Bar Ilan University and head of the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women.

U.S. Seen as Biggest Oil Producer after Overtaking Saudi Arabia - Grant Smith (Bloomberg)
The U.S. will remain the worlds biggest oil producer this year after overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia as extraction of energy from shale rock spurs the nations economic recovery, Bank of America Corp. said. U.S. production of crude oil, along with liquids separated from natural gas, surpassed all other countries this year with daily output exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter, the bank said.
The country became the worlds largest natural gas producer in 2010.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Netanyahu: Murderers of Palestinian Teen to Face Full Weight of Law
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged following arrests in the murder of a Palestinian teen that the killers will face the full weight of the law. Israels Shin Bet security service announced Sunday that it had arrested several Jewish suspects in the kidnap and murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, whose body was found July 2 in the Jerusalem forest.
    Sending his condolences to the victims family, Netanyahu said Sunday, I pledge that the perpetrators of this horrific crime, which must be resolutely condemned in the most forceful language, will face the full weight of the law. I know that in our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers. And thats the difference between us and our neighbors. They consider murderers to be heroes. They name public squares after them. We dont. We condemn them and we put them on trial and well put them in prison, he said. We do not differentiate between the terrorists and we will respond to all of them, wherever they come from, with a firm hand. (JTA)
    See also Netanyahu: Broad Israeli Action against Gaza Not Imminent
    In remarks to his cabinet on Sunday, Netanyahu pledged "to do whatever is necessary" to restore quiet to southern Israeli communities that have come under rocket attack from the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is the dominant force. But he also cautioned against any rush toward wider confrontation with the group, whose arsenal includes long-range rockets that can reach Israel's heartland and its business capital, Tel Aviv. (Voice of America)
  • American Jewish Leaders' Statement on Israel's Arrest of Suspects in Arab Teen Murder
    Robert G. Sugarman, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued the following statement on the reported arrest in connection with the killing of Arab teen Muhammed Abu Khdeir: We learned with anguish and sorrow that the investigation by Israeli authorities appears to have determined that the perpetrators of the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir are Israeli citizens. There is no justification for such an heinous attack by self-styled vigilantes. We condemn this attack, as we did the murder of the three Israeli youths by Arab terrorists last week and we extend our sincere condolences to the Khdeir family.
    We urge Israeli Arab and Palestinian leaders to work with Israeli officials to stop the violence that has been escalating over recent days. We commend the Israeli government and services for their intensive investigation that has led to these arrests and urge that the perpetrators be brought to the bar of justice as soon as possible. (Conference of Presidents)
  • Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Calls Father of Murdered Palestinian Teen
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday spoke with the father of the Palestinian teenager who was burned alive in Jerusalem last week, expressing shock at what he called an "abhorrent" murder.
    As anger continues to boil over the killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, Netanyahu spoke by phone with the father, Hussein Abu Khdeir, telling him that the killers will be brought to trial and "will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.... The murder of your son is abhorrent and cannot be countenanced by any human being," Netanyahu told him. (CNN)
  • Arson, Firebombs, Rocks and Rockets: 48 Hours of Terror Across Israel - David Bender
    Israelis over large swaths of the country underwent a harrowing weekend of Arab violence, sparked, in part, by the killing of an Arab youth in Jerusalem last Wednesday by a group of suspected Jewish extremists.
    Israelis were assailed by violent expressions of anger; by Arab rioters in Wadi Ara in the Lower Galilee who stoned public buses, to motorists caught and dragged from vehicles near Nazareth, which were then torched, to massive rioting in Jerusalem, to poolside Kassam rocket alerts near Gaza. (Algemeiner)
  • Meet The Proud Mother Of Palestinian Man Accused In Death Of Israeli Teens - Maurizio Molinari
    Amer Abu Aisheh is one of the two Palestinians that Israel accuses of having kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens. Amers mother Nadia says "I am the mother of a Palestinian martyr, perhaps two because I will probably never see Amer again."
    Nadia says that she is "proud and strong because of what her sons have achieved," and wishes Amer a "victorious Ramadan," underlining that she feels they are "respected by their people and by Allah." For Nadia, the definition of a martyr is "one who chooses to give their life to kill the Jews," and being victorious means "achieving this." (La Stampa - Italy)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Israel Returns Fire as Gaza Rockets Pound South
    Gazan terrorists launched some 30 rockets at Israel Sunday, causing little damage but fraying nerves as a marked uptick in missile fire showed no signs of abating. Most landed in open areas. One rocket caused a fire and another damaged an agricultural building, the Israeli military said. There were no reports of injuries. (Times of Israel)
    See also Rocket Fired at Beersheba as Israel Prepares for Possible Gaza Operation - Ron Ben Yishai
    Rocket fire at southern Israel continued on Monday morning when a rocket was fired at Beersheba. The rocket fell in an open area, and no injuries or damages were reported. Defense officials estimated on Monday that Hamas was interested in escalation in the south, and that the Egyptian mediation efforts were not bearing fruit. (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Says IAF Airstrike Kills 7 Militants in Gaza - Yaakov Lappin
    Israel launched a series of air strikes on Gaza early on Monday to quell Hamas rocket fire, and the Islamist group's armed wing said seven of its gunmen were killed, making it the deadliest day for Hamas since a 2012 cross-border war with the Jewish state. The IDF confirmed the strikes, saying they "responded to rocket attacks against southern Israel," targeting 9 "terror" sites and concealed rocket launchers. They said the attacks had made "direct hits." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Mahmoud Abbas Must Choose between Hamas and Peace - Con Coughlin
    Whatever action Israel takes against Hamas, the militant Islamist movement will only have itself to blame if there is a full-scale resumption of hostilities. If Washington struggled to convince the Israelis to move to the negotiating table, its dealings with the Palestinians have proved even more problematic especially when it became clear that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, was more interested in playing to the gallery of Arab opinion than hammering out a peace deal.
    Mr. Abbass real objective has been to harness the Palestinian cause to the wave of popular uprisings that has been sweeping the Arab world. If protesters can overthrow tyrannical regimes in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, he believes, then surely the Palestinians must soon be able to rid themselves of their Israeli oppressors.
    The big question now, of whether the deepening tensions between Hamas and Israel result in a third intifada-style conflict, depends to a large extent on whether Mr. Abbas remains committed to his pact with Hamas, or responds positively to Israels demand that he abandon his ties with the militants, and returns to the negotiating table. (Telegraph - UK)
  • The Man and the Myth, The Many Faces of Hassan Rouhani - Ali Alfoneh and Reuel Marc Gerecht
    In his turban and clerical robe, softly speaking of peace, Irans president, Hassan Rouhani, resembles a spiritual guide more than a modern politician. Western statesmen, scholars, and journalists have been impressed by the differences between the cleric and his predecessor: Rouhani is everything Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was notintelligent, eloquent, elegant, sophisticated.
    Persian sources unavailable in English provide important insights into Rouhani's life and thought. This material needs to be treated with care.
    Rouhanis journey from dusty Sorkheh to the Office of the President has been long. He has matured, and his mentors like may even have made a pragmatist out of the once radical theologian; but pragmatism does not equal moderation.
    Those who argue that Rouhani has abandoned the nuclear ambitions that he has so proudly defended and advanced would be well advised to consider more closely the clerics words, deeds, associations, and pride. Most probably Rouhani wants the nuke as much as any officer in the Revolutionary Guard or Saeed Jalili, the one-legged, shrine-loving war veteran who so enjoyed ignoring and belittling European and American diplomats as Ahmadinejads nuclear negotiator. Rouhani just wants to be cleverer about how the regime becomes a nuclear state. (Weekly Standard)
  • Observations:

    The Tragedy of the Arabs (Economist)

  • Why Arab countries have so miserably failed to create democracy, happiness or (aside from the windfall of oil) wealth for their 350m people is one of the great questions of our time. What makes Arab society susceptible to vile regimes and fanatics bent on destroying them (and their perceived allies in the West)?
  • Islam, or at least modern reinterpretations of it, is at the core of some of the Arabs deep troubles. The faiths claim, promoted by many of its leading lights, to combine spiritual and earthly authority, with no separation of mosque and state, has stunted the development of independent political institutions.
  • Arab countries have not yet succeeded in fostering the institutional prerequisites of democracythe give-and-take of parliamentary discourse, protection for minorities, the emancipation of women, a free press, independent courts and universities and trade unions.
  • Economic stagnation bred dissatisfaction. Monarchs and presidents-for-life defended themselves with secret police and goons. The mosque became a source of public services and one of the few places where people could gather and hear speeches. Islam was radicalized and the angry men who loathed their rulers came to hate the Western states that backed them.
  • These wrongs cannot easily or rapidly be put right. Only the Arabs can reverse their civilizational decline, and right now there is little hope of that happening. The extremists offer none. Today the outlook is bloody. But ultimately fanatics devour themselves. Meanwhile, wherever possible, the moderate, secular Sunnis who comprise the majority of Arab Muslims need to make their voices heard.

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