Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Al-Qaeda's Zawahri Calls for Strikes Against West - Firouz Sedarat (Reuters)
Israel Campus Beat
- March 5, 2006
Is a Two-State Solution Still Viable?
Teheran Park "Cleansed" of Traces from Nuclear Site - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
See also Iranian Bombshell? - Elaine Shannon (TIME)
Attack on Students at University of North Carolina "To Avenge Muslims" (Reuters)
France to Develop Libya's Civilian Nuclear Program - Emmanuel Jarry (Reuters)
CIA Gave Flawed A-Bomb Design to Iran (Toronto Star)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The man who for two years led Iran's nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France, and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic program. In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear program was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002. He boasted that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process. (Telegraph-UK)
The Bush administration, preparing to take Iran's case to the UN Security Council, is seeking a 30-day deadline for Tehran to halt its nuclear program and cooperate with international inspectors or face severe diplomatic pressures, according to several senior U.S. and European officials. But Russian officials, unwilling to give up on talks with the Iranians, which have not yet yielded results, are unlikely to go for such a tough start. Russia and China have said they are committed to seeing Iran freeze its nuclear enrichment activities to assure the international community it has no intention of pursuing a nuclear weapon. But they both firmly oppose punitive measures to compel Iran to do so. (Washington Post)
Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man, spent the last weeks of his life tormented and tortured by his captors and splashed with acid in a low-ceilinged pump room in Bagneux, France. "I knew they had someone down there," said a young French-Arab man in the doorway of a building adjacent to the one where Mr. Halimi was held. "I didn't know they were torturing him." But it is clear that plenty of people did know, both that Mr. Halimi was being tortured and that he was Jewish. The police think at least 20 people participated in his abduction and the subsequent negotiations for ransom. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Palestinians fired six Kassam rockets at Israel Sunday, Army Radio reported. Palestinians have fired at least two rockets a day at Israel since January. (Ha'aretz)
The Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council was forced to postpone a session scheduled for Saturday in Ramallah after Fatah gunmen threatened to storm the building and beat the newly-appointed speaker, Aziz Dweik. A session set for Monday may also be delayed because of threats by Fatah gunmen, said sources close to Hamas. On Thursday, twenty gunmen from Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, fired into the air at the PLC compound for about 30 minutes, sending employees and pedestrians fleeing for their lives, Dweik said. The gunmen accused Dweik of trying to dismiss some Fatah-affiliated employees of the council. (Jerusalem Post)
Israelís Northern Region police chief Cmdr. Dan Ronen has called for increased security at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth following riots in the town on Friday, which were sparked by a man throwing firecrackers in the church. The incident was related to a private family dispute with government social workers and had no connection to politics. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
America cannot bankroll a Hamas government that preaches and practices terrorism, denies that Israel has any right to exist, and refuses to abide by peace agreements signed by previous Palestinian governments. That should be blindingly obvious. America is engaged in a global armed struggle against terrorism. It is firmly allied with Israel and is committed to Israel's survival.
The Palestinian Authority is having a genuine financial crisis, but it is not America's responsibility. Continuing U.S. subsidies while Hamas is in power will not move the region one step closer to a fair and sustainable peace. The U.S. would make a resounding diplomatic and moral point by cutting off aid. It would demonstrate in the clearest possible terms that the American people are not prepared to support governments, elected or unelected, that proclaim the annihilation of other nations as their goal and embrace terrorism as an acceptable tactic for achieving it. (New York Times)
Will the new Hamas government create a new center for global terrorism in the West Bank and Gaza? Hamas has maintained critical links with al-Qaeda, and last week, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said he was concerned that al-Qaeda had infiltrated the West Bank and Gaza. Bin Laden sent emissaries to Hamas in September 2000 and January 2001; Israel arrested three Hamas militants in 2003 after they had returned from an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda operations chief Abu Zubaydah entered the world of terrorism through Hamas. And according to a 2004 FBI affidavit, al-Qaeda recruited Hamas members to conduct surveillance against potential targets in the U.S.
Hamas is not the PLO of 1993 that lost its collapsing Soviet patron, and hence had to moderate its behavior in order to obtain Western diplomatic and financial support. The patrons of Hamas today are pushing it in a completely opposite direction. Rather than accommodate Hamas, the West should seek ways to contain its spread. Palestinian society will eventually seek another path, but in the interim, it would be a cardinal error to assume that Hamas is about to change. (San Francisco Chronicle)
As an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas has strong ties with the Brotherhood in Jordan and its political party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF). Azam Hunaydi, the leader of the IAF's 17-member bloc in the Jordanian Parliament of 110, is now saying that the Jordanian Islamic movement is "mature enough to take over government responsibilities." The IAF has strong support in Jordan's major urban areas that are heavily populated by Palestinians.
On the other hand, the Palestinian population in Jordan is socially stratified and politically diverse and certainly does not constitute a monolithic block of opposition to the regime. And the dichotomy between Jordanians and Palestinians is less sharply defined than it used to be. Intermarriage between Jordanians and Palestinians is very common. Since the civil war of 1970, many Palestinians have made their peace with the monarchy and would rather be part of the ruling elite than be ranked forever with its opponents. Indeed, the original Jordanians, fearful of competition, are less favorably disposed to integration of the Palestinians than are the Palestinians themselves.
Should confrontation nevertheless prove unavoidable, Jordanian resilience should not be underestimated. In 1958, just after the bloody overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy in Iraq, former British Minister Anthony Nutting said of King Hussein of Jordan: "However much one may admire the courage of this lonely young king, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion his days are numbered." In fact, Hussein continued to rule forty more years. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
Does Democracy End Tyranny? - Natan Sharansky (Los Angeles Times)
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