Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Kassam Terrorists Captured on Film (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Saddam Wants to Run in January Iraqi Elections
(Times of India)
Report: Saddam "Bought UN Allies" with Oil -
Robert Winnett (Sunday Times-UK)
Pilotless Strikes on Iraq by RAF - Stephen Grey (Sunday Times-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israel demanded Sunday the UN investigate whether Palestinians filmed in the Gaza Strip were militants using a UN van to transport rockets for use against Israel. The pictures showed men running toward a vehicle with UN painted on the roof, carrying a long thin object which Israeli officials said was a Kassam rocket. Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Gillerman, demanded that Secretary-General Kofi Annan order a full investigation. "This is a totally unacceptable situation...in which the UN, which is supposed to keep the peace, is cynically used by murderers to transport Kassam rockets in UN vehicles," Gillerman said.
Peter Hansen, the UNRWA commissioner-general, said he believed the object was a stretcher, since a Kassam rocket weighs "some 30 to 50 kg." Israeli military officials countered by saying the footage had been analyzed by aerial experts and they were certain it was a rocket. (Reuters)
According to the IDF website, the Kassam 1 rocket is about 2 meters long and weighs on average 5.5 kg. Acting IDF spokesperson Amit Livni said Sunday that most of the Kassam rockets fired at Sderot are of the Kassam 1 type. (Jerusalem Post)
The UN Security Council is due to hold an emergency session on Monday to discuss the Israeli operation in Gaza. In the past, Israel's military incursions have met with severe international criticism that has curtailed Israel's activities against terrorists and their infrastructure. But Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman David Saranga said he did not think it would happen this time "because the world understands that the reason [for the operation is to end] the launching of rockets." (CNS News)
The Canadian federal government is promising to look into the possibility that a UN agency Canada backs is employing members of Hamas, a Palestinian group Canada has defined as terrorists. UNRWA head Peter Hansen told CBC TV, "I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don't see that as a crime. Hamas as a political organization does not mean that every member is a militant and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another." (CBC News-Canada)
See also Members of Hamas "on UN Payroll" (National Post-Canada)
See also Hansen: Kofi Annan Backs Me Entirely
UN Secretary General Koffi Anan has spoken with Peter Hansen, the commissioner-general of UNRWA in Gaza, and has conveyed to him his full support and empathy, Hansen said Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
See also UN Collaborating with Terrorists
This is not the first time the UN has been caught with its hands in the cookie jar. UN personnel have accepted bribes from Hamas, and are believed to have collaborated with Hizballah in the operation in which Hizballah terrorists kidnapped three IDF troops who subsequently died in captivity. Hamas controls the union of UNRWA workers, following its victory in union elections held 15 months ago. Since the salaries of UNRWA workers are paid through contributions from 38 contributing countries, the bottom line is that U.S. and EU taxpayers are footing most of the bill for terrorists' salaries on the UNRWA payroll. (Maariv International)
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict wasn't even mentioned in last week's presidential debate and has been little discussed during the campaign. "They're not anxious to spend a lot of effort debating it because it's not on the agenda for the American public," said Shibley Telhami, a Middle East specialist at the University of Maryland. Public attention to the conflict has faded and today the focus of Americans' attention in the Middle East has shifted to Iraq and the fight against terrorism. Both Bush and Kerry mentioned Israel in the debate, but only in the context of Iraq. The Palestinians weren't mentioned. (AP/ABC News)
Palestinians refer to the Israeli victory over the Arab nations in 1948 as al nakba, or the catastrophe. Some Palestinians, who thought they were on the brink of statehood four years ago, now say that the second intifada has been a second nakba.
An analysis of Palestinian administration published last week by the International Crisis Group, an independent Brussels-based organization, found that "today's Palestinian predicament is decidedly domestic.'' "Recent power struggles, armed clashes, and demonstrations do not pit Palestinians against Israelis so much as Palestinians against each other; the chaos is a product not solely of Israel's policies, but of Palestinian ones as well. The political system is close to the breaking point, paralyzed and unable to make basic decisions."
At least 74% of 130 attempted or successful suicide bombings originating from the West Bank so far this year were "directly controlled by Hizballah's apparatus in Beirut, with Iranian money, know-how, and weapons systems," a senior Israeli military officer said. A suicide bombing effort costs about $4,000, including payments, usually negotiated in advance, to cover the expense to a family of a funeral for the bomber, as well as payments to those willing to provide transport, documents, or shelter. (New York Times)
See also Who Governs the West Bank? Palestinian Administration under Israeli Occupation (International Crisis Group-Brussels)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Recent IDF operations in Gaza have dealt a serous blow to the human infrastructure of the terrorists, with 70 terrorists killed, a senior IDF officer from the Southern Command said Monday. He noted that the IDF had so far eliminated seven Kassam rocket crews, seven groups laying mines, and five anti-tank units. If international pressure doesn't prevent it, "we can strike a serious blow to the Kassam infrastructure," the officer concluded.
Palestinian rocket fire is continuing. One man was wounded by a Kassam rocket near Sapir College in the western Negev, while another rocket landed in the Sderot industrial zone. (Maariv-Hebrew)
Prime Minister Sharon said Saturday that the IDF will continue to operate in the northern Gaza Strip until all Palestinian rocket fire against Israeli towns is halted. "The IDF is taking needed measures to ensure the peace of Israel's citizens. That's what it has to do, and that's what will be done," he said. (Ha'aretz)
Hamas on Saturday censured the PA for failing to order its security forces to join the fight against the IDF in northern Gaza. PA security officials in Gaza confirmed that they had instructed their security forces to stay away from the fighting. (Jerusalem Post)
IDF troops killed four Palestinian terrorists carrying Kalashnikov rifles Saturday who had crossed the Israeli border with Gaza near the Nahal Oz area, in the western Negev. The terrorists had crossed a security fence under a thick fog. Their infiltration triggered the fence's alarm system, and security forces rushed to the area. (Ha'aretz)
See also Attack on Gaza's Erez Crossing Thwarted - Arieh O'Sullivan
Seven Palestinian gunmen on Friday took over a PA police position adjacent to the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. One of the terrorists was killed by IDF troops and the other six were captured. The attackers carried a bomb weighing 30 kilograms and were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and grenades. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
During the course of the military operation in the northern Gaza Strip, using precise fire and its intelligence supremacy, the IDF is striving to increase the number of fatalities among the Hamas men. Taking control over the northeastern part of the Gaza Strip isn't enough to stop Hamas from launching rockets. Therefore, the IDF is making an effort to up the fatalities sustained by Hamas.
Hamas is believed to be in possession of 100-200 Kassam rockets with a range of 8 km. It is highly likely that a large number of Kassam rocket production workshops have been moved into underground structures. If the entire rocket production infrastructure isn't toppled, including the engineers, technicians, and chemists, it's only a matter of time before Hamas manages to increase the range of the rockets and then be able to fire them from deeper inside the Gaza Strip. (Ha'aretz)
Sharon knows that the results of the fighting in the northern Gaza Strip will influence his chances of securing approval for and implementing the disengagement plan. In Sharon's opinion, Israel must change the situation in Gaza - stop the firing of rockets on Sderot, and deal a blow to the terror organizations and arms industry - and create the conditions that will facilitate the evacuation next year. Sharon doesn't want to leave Gaza in flight, under fire, and to appear to have fled from a few Hamas cells. Sources in Jerusalem say, in general, there is international understanding for the operation. (Ha'aretz)
Why They Continue to Murder - Avraham Tal (Ha'aretz)
To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message to:
To unsubscribe, send a blank email message to: