Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Iran Missile Production Increases (AP/Scotsman-UK)
Iran Tests Missile with 4,000-Km Range (Middle East Newsline)
- March 2, 2006
Issue of the Week:
Hollywood and Israel
Israeli Agent: Soviet Mole Framed Pollard (UPI/Washington Times)
Christians Under Cover - Lauren Gelfond Feldinger (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli Arab Players Refuse to Boycott Game with Denmark (AP/Washington Post)
Israel's Population Tops 7 Million - Ron Paz (Globes)
Collective Psychological Processes in Anti-Semitism - Avner Falk (Jewish Political Studies Review)
Landfill Gas Gains Popularity in Israel - Leah Krauss (UPI)
The Hamas Charter (Yale University)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
A Hamas delegation arrived in Moscow on Friday for three days of talks aimed at denting the militant Palestinian group's international isolation. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was scheduled to receive Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal. Russia says it will insist that Hamas renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist. However, "Hamas won't listen to Russia because Moscow has no real levers of influence over them," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the foreign policy magazine Russia in Global Affairs. "This is not the time of the Soviet Union, when we had real clout in the region." (AP/Washington Post)
See also Hamas Expects Resumption of Military Training in Russia
"[We] hope that the program to train our military staff in Russia will resume," Hamas prime minister designate Ismail Haniya told Russia's Mayak radio Thursday. (RIA Novosti-Russia)
See also Hamas, in Moscow, Firm on Not Recognizing Israel - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters/ABC News)
The U.S. will continue providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people but Washington will not give any financial help to a Hamas-led government, David Welch, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told Congress Thursday. "We have not, do not, and will not provide assistance to Hamas - in government or out of government," he said.
Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), a survivor of the Holocaust, said he was sickened by contacts between Hamas and countries such as Russia and Turkey. "We should make clear that we strongly oppose meeting with Hamas," said Lantos. "It is sickening hypocrisy." "The blood of dozens of Americans and hundreds of Israeli men, women, and children is on those hands," he said. (Reuters)
"Iran must not have a nuclear weapon," U.S. President Bush said Wednesday during a visit to Afghanistan. "The world is speaking with one voice to the Iranians that it's OK for you to have a civilian nuclear power operation, but you shall not have the means, the knowledge to develop a nuclear weapon," he added. "The most destabilizing thing that can happen is for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and we will work with friends and allies to convince them not to." (AFX/Forbes)
See also Shah's Son Urges Aid to Resistance - Nick Timiraos
Reza Pahlavi, 45, the son of the late shah of Iran, said Wednesday that military strikes would only rally support for Iran's hard-line rulers and that continued diplomacy and negotiations would give Tehran time to pursue nuclear weapons. Instead, he urged the international community to help support and unify opposition groups inside and outside Iran to increase pressure on the nation's ruling Islamic clerics.
"The problem with these negotiations all along was the false assumption that the other side wants a solution to avert a crisis," Pahlavi told the National Press Club. "Increasingly unpopular, the Islamic Republic needs an atmosphere of crisis to justify its increased militarization." Pahlavi opposes punitive measures such as economic sanctions, instead urging steps such as freezing assets and restricting travel for the ruling clerics. (Los Angeles Times)
See also Pre-empting Iran's Ambitions - Ilan Berman (Washington Times)
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami Wednesday described the Holocaust as a "historical reality." "One of the crimes of Hitler, Nazism, and German national socialism was the massacre of innocent people, among them many Jews," he said. Meanwhile, the prominent Iranian newspaper Shargh complained that "the Holocaust has, as wished for by the president, become a topic of our foreign policy." "Don't we have enough with the nuclear question, human rights, free elections, and political in-fighting," the paper asked. (AFP/Yahoo)
Holocaust survivors and relatives of those who died sued France on Thursday seeking compensation for taking personal property during World War II. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeks class-action status for Jews and others imprisoned in holding camps in France including Drancy, where prisoners were stripped of personal property like cash and jewelry before being transported to Nazi concentration camps. Defendants named in the suit are the Republic of France, French national railway SNCF, which ran trains from holding camps to Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and the French state-owned financial institution CDC. According to the suit, the CDC is still holding money taken from plaintiffs or received from the sale of their property. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
A Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza hit a strategic facility in the Ashkelon area Friday, wounding one person. "This time the rocket fell much further inside," said a worker at the facility, which was lightly damaged. Facilities in the Ashkelon area include a power station. Palestinians fired four additional Kassam rockets at Israel on Friday. (Ha'aretz/Ynet-Hebrew)
In cooperation with the Syrians and Hizballah, Iran has built an array of some 12,000 Katyushas and rockets in southern Lebanon that could harm Israel over long ranges. The Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets have ranges of 70 kilometers, meaning that Hizballah and, in effect, Iran can shoot at targets south of Haifa. (Ha'aretz)
See also Rocket Alert System to Be Set Up in North - Hagai Enav
"Our assessment is that Hizballah is not interested in escalation, at least until the elections in Israel at the end of the month," an officer of the IDF Northern Command said. "But Iran and Syria's increasing cooperation to assist Hamas and Hizballah raises the potential for escalation and we are preparing for this scenario appropriately." (Ynet News)
A senior Palestinian source revealed on Thursday that Palestinian security forces located several operatives spreading al-Qaeda ideology and arrested one such extremist in Gaza. Only last week the head of IDF Central Command, Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, revealed that global Jihad and al-Qaeda cells based in Jordan have stepped up their attempts to infiltrate Israel and are in close contact with Palestinian terror cells based in the West Bank. "Hamas is gathering strength and a dangerous axis starting in Iran, continuing through Iraq and Jordan, is in the process of conception," Naveh said. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Is Al-Qaeda Active in the Palestinian Territories? - Claude Salhani (UPI)
See also Al-Qaeda Terrorists Arrested in Jordan Planned to Blow Up Major Power Plant - Suleiman al-Khalidi
A group of al-Qaeda militants arrested in Jordan had planned to blow up a major power plant that feeds the whole country, Jordanian security sources said Thursday. In addition to two Iraqis and a Libyan arrested last week, another Iraqi linked to the group was detained in Jordan on Wednesday. Two more Iraqis and a Saudi were believed to have fled to neighboring Syria. "There have been smaller plots but this is by far the most serious in the last few months given the number of people involved, the weapons confiscated, and (the nature) of the target," government spokesman Naser Joudeh said.
"Zarqawi now is depending on the Jordanian arena as a sphere of influence that is not less important than Iraq," said Mohamed Najjar, an Amman-based expert on Islamists. Security experts noted that in his latest attacks Zarqawi was using non-Jordanian Arab militants, primarily Iraqis, who came with battle-hardened experience to undertake operations inside Jordan. (Reuters)
See also Al-Qaeda, Zarqawi, and Israel: Is There a New Jihadi Threat Destabilizing the Eastern Front? - Dore Gold and Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi (JCPA)
On Thursday, Hassan Khader Khudeir, 21, and Mohammad Khader El-Louh, 20, from Beit Lahya in the northern Gaza Strip were injured by shrapnel from a home-made grenade. On Wednesday, Mohammad Fathi Wahdan, 7, and Rami Isam El-Wehedi, 11, were injured by a youth playing with a gun in the Sheikh Zayed housing project. (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Palestinians still live with the illusion, shared with some other Arabs and with Iran, that Israel is an epiphenomenon that will somehow come undone by the force of Palestinian resistance against it. For many Palestinians, and perhaps even most, the murder of Jews is a routine, and should be. For the Israelis, it cannot be so.
The EU has decided to transfer $143 million to the PA. Why has Europe become the paymaster of the Palestinian movement? Given Hamas' deeds on buses and in cafes, in malls and at hotels, what will we make of the West's war with the terrorists if it supports them once they win a vote? Maybe it's that Hamas simply targets Israeli civilians, which must be much less evil than targeting passengers on the London underground. Europe hints that if you don't want Tehran to be writing the checks to Hamas, let us do it. Yet that's what Europe has been doing for two generations and more, without influence or sway. The Europeans have been and still are suckers. (New Republic)
In an article in the London Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi on Jan. 30, Dr. Muhriz Al-Husseini, editor of the U.S.-published Al-Minassa Al-'Arabiya, warned that religious extremism is spreading among the young generation of Muslims in the U.S. "Some imams are working in an organized manner to brainwash adolescents in the Muslim community and to plant bogus ideas in their minds concerning Islam, jihad, [and] takfir [accusing other Muslims of apostasy]." "[The youths] spend their time watching videotapes and listening to audio tapes - most of which are given to them for free - on ways to train Muslim youth in military and ideological jihad, along with reports on the suffering of Muslims in some Muslim countries, as well as Koranic verses and sermons that encourage jihad, martyrdom, self-sacrifice, and the striking of terror into the hearts of the enemy." (MEMRI)
Moscow's position on Hamas undercuts the strategy of U.S., European, and Israeli officials who had hoped that isolation would encourage moderation. The Russian government has sold high-end surface-to-air missiles to Syria - a rogue nation which supports Hizballah operations out of Lebanon. Of even greater danger, Russia continued construction of a nuclear reactor in Bushehr, Iran - even after Iranian President Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be "wiped out from the map of the world." As Putin remained steadfast in his refusal to recognize Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist organizations, Russian officials sought help from Israeli intelligence services in dealing with their "Chechen problem." If there is any silver-lining to Putin's invitation to Hamas, it is the exposure of Putin's true colors. (National Review)
What peace there was in Iraq before the U.S. invasion of 2003 was the peace of the graveyard. Saddam Hussein's forces conquered Kurdistan in 1975 and launched a genocidal campaign against the Kurds in 1987. The Shiite south was the target of mass murder throughout the following decade. That history of violence lives on in today's bomb blasts destroying Shiite shrines and the "retaliatory" butchering of Sunni civilians. When Sunnis kill Shiites on a wholesale basis, official American policy statements and news broadcasts call it insurgency. When Shiites kill Sunnis, we call it imminent civil war.
The Kurds want to be left alone. The Shiites increasingly see autonomy and separation as the answer as well. A genuine decentralization of power - a loose federalism that maintains Iraq as a concept for today and a real possibility for tomorrow - is both inevitable and desirable at this point. To promote an enforced phony national reconciliation built on concessions to Sunni extremists to wean them from violence, as Washington has repeatedly attempted, is self-defeating. (Washington Post)
See also Growing Friction Separates Shiite, Sunni - Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor)
Globalization and other dynamic forces will continue to rid the world of dictatorships. Political change is nothing we need to force upon people; it's something that will happen anyway. What we have to work toward is not democracy but normality. Stabilizing newly democratic regimes, and easing the development path of undemocratic ones, should be the goal for our military and diplomatic establishments. The writer, a national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, is the author of The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War. (Washington Post)
The Stern Gang, derisively named by the British for its founder, Abraham Stern, called themselves LEHI, the Hebrew acronym for the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel. One of their underground leaders, Yitzhak Shamir, went on to become Israel's prime minister. Some analysts draw a parallel between Hamas and LEHI, yet the old fighters I interviewed were outraged at the comparison. They insist that the perceived parallel ignores the most critical and morally significant distinction between the two groups: Only Hamas uses indiscriminate terror against women and children as a regular instrument of war, and encourages its followers to commit acts of martyrdom to aid its cause.
Amos, now 92, told me: "We didn't blow up cinemas in London. We could have, but we didn't want innocents to die. We never willingly killed the innocent." Irit, now 76, explained: "We never touched the families of high officers and we knew exactly where they were. It simply never entered our minds. It was important to hit only those who continued British policies, stopping us from establishing our nation." Eyal, 83, insisted that many LEHI operations were canceled when there was a risk to innocent civilians.
Yasmine, 78, recounted that by age 17, she had pasted forbidden LEHI posters on Jerusalem billboards, smuggled arms past British sentries, traced the movement of His Majesty's soldiers through Jerusalem streets, and ridden troop trains throughout Mandatory Palestine, recording their timing and movements in an effort to assist the sabotage campaign against the railroads. But "we didn't kill even one child," she told me.
Hamas has carried out dozens of bus and restaurant bombings in Jerusalem and all over Israel, targeting not soldiers and policemen, but families out to dinner or kids going home from school. The writer was a district court judge in Boulder from 1977 to 1996. (Daily Camera-Boulder, CO)
Where to Draw the Line on International Assistance to the Palestinians? - David Makovsky, Michael Herzog, and Elizabeth Young
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