Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

February 15, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Military Intelligence: Iran Aims to Destroy Israel - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    Iran's goal is to eliminate the State of Israel, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, the new head of Military Intelligence, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.
    Yadlin stressed that statements by Iranian President Ahmadinejad about the need to "wipe Israel off the map" were not mere slips of the tongue, and should be taken seriously.
    Iran is likely to acquire the capability for manufacturing enriched uranium in industrial quantities within six months to a year, Yadlin said.
    If its nuclear program suffers no disruptions, it will have its first nuclear bomb in three to four years.


Hamas Admits Receiving Support from Hizballah - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
    Hamas has admitted for the first time that it received financial aid and training from Hizballah.
    On Wednesday, the Hamas Internet website published an account of the founding of the organization's first cell in the Ramallah area at the beginning of the intifada.
    "Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades members trained with the Hizballah in Lebanon and brought back funds."


Shin Bet: Family Reunifications Prove to Be Terror Threat - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    25 Palestinians, all holders of Israeli identity cards through the family reunification program, were arrested between 2001 and 2004 for involvement in terror attacks inside Israel.
    Since 2000, Palestinians with reunification residency were involved in 16 suicide bomb attacks, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said.
    See also "Life Higher Value than Family Rights" - Dan Izenberg (Jerusalem Post)
    The rise of Hamas to power in the territories makes all the more necessary a law prohibiting Palestinian men aged 18 to 35 and Palestinian women aged 18 to 25 from obtaining Israeli citizenship by marrying an Israeli spouse, state's representative Yochi Gnessin told the High Court of Justice on Tuesday.


Iraqi General: WMD Went to Syria - Ryan Mauro (Global Politician)
    Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a personal friend of Saddam Hussein, commanded units that dealt with chemical and biological weapons.
    He defected to the U.S. shortly before the Gulf War in 1991.
    In a recent interview, Tikriti said: "I know Saddam's weapons are in Syria due to certain military deals that were made going as far back as the late 1980s that dealt with the event that either capitals were threatened with being overrun by an enemy nation."
    "I have [also] discussed this in-depth with various contacts of mine who have confirmed what I already knew."


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. and Israel Deny Plans to Drive Hamas from Power - Steven R. Weisman
    American and Israeli officials warned again Tuesday that they would cut off aid to a Hamas-led Palestinian government if it did not renounce violence and recognize Israel, but said they had no plans to oust such a government, as had been reported in the New York Times. "There is no U.S.-Israeli plan, project, plot, conspiracy to destabilize or undermine a future Palestinian government," said Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman. (New York Times)
        "There's no plot," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "We have the same conversations with the government of Israel that we have with Arab governments and European governments and others." "There is a free and fair election that took place. The Palestinian people spoke very clearly," McClellan said. "Palestinian officials, for years, have recognized Israel's right to exist and worked in negotiation toward peace. If the Palestinians were to change that decade-old policy, then their relations with the international community would change as well," he said. (Xinhuanet-China)
        Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said, "Israel doesn't make or break Palestinian governments - that is not our job."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iran Restarts Uranium Program - Molly Moore
    Iran announced Tuesday that it had resumed uranium enrichment efforts in defiance of international pressure to curb its nuclear program and said it will no longer comply with voluntary measures designed to enhance international inspectors' access to its nuclear facilities. "The order to resume uranium enrichment has been issued," said Javad Vaeidi, deputy head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. This was confirmed by monitors from the International Atomic Energy Agency during inspections Tuesday. (Washington Post)
  • Egypt Postpones Local Elections
    The Egyptian parliament Tuesday postponed local elections for two years despite opposition from the U.S. and the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Gomhuria newspaper reported Wednesday. The Brotherhood made a strong showing in legislative elections last year, and some saw the new law as an effort to block the group's ascendance. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rocket Lands Near Strategic Facility - Arnon Regular
    Palestinians in Gaza launched a rocket Tuesday that landed near a strategic facility in the Ashkelon industrial area, causing light damage. Military officials did not identify the installation, but said several power plants exist in the area. Another rocket hit a Carlsberg beer production factory. Earlier Tuesday, two other rockets were launched at Israel but landed inside the Gaza Strip. (Ynet News/Ha'aretz)
  • No Negotiations with Hamas-Led PA - Aluf Benn and Arnon Regular
    Speaking before the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Acting Prime Minister Olmert said, "the day Abbas will appoint a Hamas representative to head a government, we will review all contacts" with the authority. "We will not negotiate and we will not deal with a PA that will be dominated wholly or partly by a terrorist organization," he said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Leader in Cairo: "Hudna" Is a Pause on the Way to Liberating All of Palestine - Jonathan D. Halevi
    The head of Hamas in Gaza, Mahmoud A-Zahar, revealed at a meeting with University of Cairo faculty the true intentions of his movement toward Israel and a permanent solution. According to A-Zahar, Hamas policy denies any possibility of coexistence with a Jewish state on Palestinian land. He emphasized that Hamas recognizes Israel's existence as an existing fact, but Hamas would never accept Israel's right to exist. (NewsFirstClass-Hebrew)
  • U.S. Jewish Leader Accuses West of Not Supporting Iranian Reformers - Hilary Leila Krieger
    Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, slammed the U.S. and Europe Tuesday for not doing more to back Iranian reformers. "If we want to see change in Iran, we have to support the people in Iran who will bring about change. And what we have done is everything possible to dissuade them," said Hoenlein. He singled out the need to highlight Iran's human rights abuses, pointing to hundreds of public executions on "spurious charges" each year. "The West as a whole has failed to stand up to the murder of Christians, Baha'is, and Muslims."
        "The world makes a mistake to dismiss [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad's comments about Israel and the Holocaust as the rantings of a madman. They are not. They are part of his nuclear program. This is a deliberate, well-thought-out strategy to mobilize the Muslim world," he said. To help encourage moderate Muslims to reject Holocaust denial, the Conference is working with Yad Vashem on a new program to bring Muslim teachers to Israel to learn about the Holocaust. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Chinese Consul Protests Dalai Lama Visit to Israel
    The Chinese Consul in Israel, Lu Chin, said on Wednesday that China requested that the Israel Foreign Ministry prevent the Dalai Lama's planned visit. Although official Israeli state representatives would not meet with him, the consul said that was not enough. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israeli Aid Group Greets Dalai Lama in Israel
    The non-government group Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People is coordinating the Dalai Lama's visit to Israel starting Wednesday. He was invited by Avishay Braverman, former president of Ben-Gurion University, as part of celebrations marking the centennial of David Ben-Gurion's birth. (IsraAID)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Great Misunderstanding About the Hamas Victory - Fiamma Nirenstein
    I went to the West Bank to report on and interview Palestinian Arabs before, during, and after the elections. In the market of Hebron, a pretty woman, Raeda, 22, with a veil down to her eyebrows, told me she prefers Hamas because it's a religious party that will reestablish Islamic rule on all the land occupied by the Jews. With a lovely smile she also told me that she wouldn't mind if her son becomes a martyr. A group of children told me, almost singing, that: "Religion says that there is no peace with the infidels." Where did they learn that? At school. What do they think about martyrs? All of them want to be one.
        It's a pathetic joke to try to launder the Hamas victory as if the Palestinian Arabs simply wanted to vote against PA corruption. From what I saw and heard, it was an Islamist and violent vote, with deep cultural roots in the Palestinian education system and in the messages of the Palestinian Arab leadership during the intifada. The reality is that secularism has declined since the 1970s. No statement renouncing violence or terror or acknowledging Israel's right to exist can cancel out the religious and violence-oriented education of the past decade that culminated in the election. (New York Sun)
  • Extremism in the Name of Islam - Editorial
    Maybe the blazes and bloodshed of this week were spontaneous outrage. Or maybe they were a calculated response. Either way, they are an ugly reminder of extremism too often practiced in the name of one of the world's great religions. What has done more harm to Islam this week: a bunch of cartoons? Or the rioters who burned embassies in retaliation for the cartoons? (Chicago Tribune)
  • Observations:

    Friends of Hamas - Editorial (Wall Street Journal, 15Feb06)

    • The government of Hugo Chavez will receive representatives of Hamas "with pleasure" should they visit Venezuela on a forthcoming tour of South America. Vladimir Putin has announced he will host a meeting with the Palestinian terrorist group/political party next month in Moscow. "We have never considered Hamas a terrorist organization," says the Russian president.
    • Already, Spain and France have endorsed Putin's invitation to Hamas, and both governments are reported to be working to have Hamas removed from the European list of terrorist organizations.
    • Which brings us to yesterday's reports that the U.S. and Israel are trying to "destabilize" Hamas by squeezing the Palestinian Authority for funds - which was played as front-page news. Neither President Bush nor acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has made any secret of their intention to isolate Hamas and deprive the Palestinian Authority of funds once Hamas assumes the reins of government.
    • Nor is there any shame in doing so: Donors have the right to impose conditions on their beneficiaries, and so far Hamas has rejected international calls that it disarm, forswear terrorism, and accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
    • Palestinians need to understand that the exercise of self-government carries consequences. For too long, the international community has failed to extract a price for the Palestinian recourse to terror. That failure has not brought peace, but far worse it has produced the "Palestine" we have now: destitute and savage against both Israelis and moderate Arabs.


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