Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

March 29, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Palestinians Fire Longer-Range Katyusha Rocket from Gaza - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    For the first time, Palestinians fired a 122mm Katyusha rocket, a much longer-range projectile than the Kassam rocket, from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the IDF confirmed Tuesday.
    Military sources said the range of the Katyusha is 15 km - 6 km more than the Kassam.
    This would place a much larger number of Israeli towns and villages in rocket range, including the city of Ashkelon.
    It is believed that the rocket, a model used by Iran, was smuggled across the Gaza-Egypt border.

    See also Palestinians Fire Five Rockets at Israel - Shmulik Haddad (Ynet News)
    Palestinians fired five Kassam rockets at Israel on Wednesday morning.


Strategies for a Global Counterinsurgency - Jonathan Morgenstein and Eric Vickland (Boston Globe)
    In Iraq and around the world, we will never peacefully dissuade those dedicated to violence against us. They must be captured or killed.
    This global insurgency can only be defeated by severing the insurgents' connections to populations that sustain them.
    We have to convince those who passively support the insurgency that we are not their enemy.
    Comprehensive reconstruction and information efforts win hearts and minds; the best sources of actionable intelligence are local populations; and indigenous law enforcement facilitates smaller U.S. footprints.


Schools, Kids Becoming Targets in Iraq - Abbas Fayadh (AP/Yahoo)
    In just two days, at least 150 people have died in violence in Iraq.
    Bombs, rockets, mortar and machine-gun fire killed 64 school children in the four months from November to February, according to the Education Ministry. At least 169 teachers and 84 other employees died during the same period.
    The violence was concentrated in Baghdad and the provinces of Anbar, Diyala, and Babil.


Russia Will Sell Arms to PA Only With Israel's Consent (MosNew)
    Russia will not supply military hardware to the PA if Israel disapproves, Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Tuesday.
    Negotiations were once held on sales of armored personnel carriers, he said, "but the situation is different today. A change of power has taken place in the Palestinian territories."


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Sharon's Party Is Winner in Israel - Scott Wilson
    The Kadima party led by acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert won 28 seats in the 120-seat Knesset elections Tuesday, in a vote that hinged on his plan to draw the country's final borders through unilateral withdrawals from the Palestinian territories. But the election, which drew one of the lowest voter turnouts in Israeli history, left Kadima with an uncertain mandate to move ahead. Olmert will have to enlist other parties to form a coalition government. The Labor Party finished second with 20 seats, while the religious Shas party finished third with 13 seats. The party Israel Is Our Home led by Avigdor Lieberman, an immigrant from Moldova, won 12 seats, while the Likud Party, led by former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, won 11 seats. Entering the Knesset for the first time with 7 seats is the Pensioners Party led by Rafi Eitan, a former Mossad agent involved in the 1960 capture of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann. (Washington Post)
        See also Additional Election Results
    National Union-National Religious Party - 9 seats, United Torah Judaism - 6, Meretz - 4, three Arab parties - 10 (Ynet News)
  • Olmert Pledges to Compromise, But Says Israel Won't Wait Too Long - Ravi Nessman
    Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday: "In the coming period, we will move to set the final borders of the State of Israel, a Jewish state with a Jewish majority....We will try to achieve this in an agreement with the Palestinians." "The time has come for the Palestinians...to relate to the existence of the State of Israel, to accept only part of their dream, to stop terror, to accept democracy, and accept compromise and peace with us." (AP/Forbes)
        "It is time for the Palestinians to change their ethos, to accept compromise as soon as possible. If they manage to do this soon, we will sit and work out a plan. If not, Israel will take control of its own fate, and in consensus among our people and with the agreement of the world and U.S. President George Bush, we will act." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Head of Arab League Pushes Nuke Programs - Salah Nasrawi
    Speaking at an Arab summit in Khartoum, Sudan, Arab League head Amr Moussa called on Arab states Tuesday to work toward "entering the nuclear club" by developing atomic energy - a new concern for a Western world already trying to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions and fretting about a possible Mideast arms race. (AP/Chicago Tribune)
        See also Top Arab Leaders Skip Summit
    Egyptian President Mubarak, Saudi King Abdullah, and Jordan's King Abdullah II decided to skip the Khartoum meeting. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hamas Cabinet Approved in 71-36 Vote - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The new Hamas cabinet headed by Ismail Haniyeh was ratified on Tuesday by the Palestinian Legislative Council. Immediately after the vote, several Hamas legislators began shouting the famous Islamic battle cry of "Allahu Akbar." Holding high a copy of the Koran, legislator Hamed Bitawi shouted: "The Koran is our constitution, Mohammed is our prophet, jihad [holy war] is our path, and dying for the sake of Allah is our biggest wish." His remark drew a thunderous applause from all his Hamas colleagues. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas Government Approved, Vows to Fight Israel - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    "We cannot recognize Israel," Hamas' newly-approved Minister of Information, Youssef Rizka, told one cheering crowd in Gaza. "The land of Palestine is ours and not for the Jews."
        "I hope the sort of remarks we heard today help to dissolve any possible illusion that might exist as to the true character of this new Palestinian leadership," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev. (Reuters)
  • Hamas Won't Accept Future Borders Defined by Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh lashed out at acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to withdraw unilaterally from some areas in the West Bank, saying the Palestinians would not accept the future borders of a Palestinian state as defined by Israel. Incoming Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar declared on Sunday, "Even if the U.S. gave us all its money in return for recognizing Israel and giving up one inch of Palestine, we would never do so."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hamas' "Moderation" - Editorial
    Hamas has not retreated from its objective of destroying Israel one iota, nor has it begun to comply with the international requirements to end terrorism, accept Israel, and accept previous agreements. The U.S. is to be commended for refusing to accept Hamas' bid for talks with the Quartet before Hamas has accepted the Quartet's conditions. Even Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, on March 20 expressed his "disappointment" that Hamas had not fulfilled the Quartet's conditions and stated that Hamas "is not reasonable. If it were, other parties would have joined them" in the new PA government.
        The reality on the ground is that the number of attempted terrorist attacks has been growing since disengagement and since Hamas' elections victory. Just last week, six Palestinians were caught smuggling weapons and two Palestinian suicide bombers were intercepted - one who had already reached the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. (Jerusalem Post)
  • An End of U.S. Role in Pushing for Peace? - Richard Beeston
    Thirty years of intense U.S.-led diplomacy, aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, could draw to an end in the wake of Tuesday's Israeli elections and the confirmation of a new militant Palestinian government. Ever since Washington brokered the Camp David agreement in 1979, successive U.S. administrations have dispatched envoys to the region and produced dozens of plans in the search for an elusive peace. Now, however, the "peace process" could be coming to an end.
        For the time being there is no question of direct official contact between the new Palestinian government and the West at any senior level until the movement fundamentally changes its policies. America and the EU insist that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist and abandons the use of violence. Western diplomats concede that in the present climate the chance of any real negotiations is virtually nil. (Times-UK)
  • A Victory Over Terrorist Media - Editorial
    The Treasury Department struck a blow against one branch of Iran's propaganda network on Thursday, designating Hizballah's al Manar satellite television operation as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization. The designation prohibits transactions between Americans and U.S. entities and al Manar, and freezes any assets al Manar may have under American jurisdiction. As the Treasury Department made clear, the issue is al Manar's role in facilitating the activities of Hizballah, an organization that has killed more Americans than every other terrorist group save al-Qaeda.
        "Any entity maintained by a terrorist group - whether masquerading as a charity, a business or a media outlet - is as culpable as the terrorist group itself," said Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey. The Treasury Department cited an incident in which an al Manar employee carried out operational surveillance for Hizballah while acting under cover of employment by al Manar. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    Power Will Not Moderate Hamas - Martin Kramer (bitterlemons.org)

    • Hamas entered parliament with an absolute majority in its first election with its militia, its guns, and its ideology intact. Its speedy and sweeping ascent has simply validated its past militancy.
    • It has achieved, in 20 years, what the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has not achieved in 80 years.
    • The Hamas concept of victory through "resistance" delegitimizes Israel's peace with Egypt and Jordan.
    • Hamas will devote its rule to achieving three goals:
      1. It will seek to consolidate its grip over the institutions of the Palestinian quasi-state, at the expense of Fatah.
      2. It will move gradually to Islamize Palestinian life. (Last year, a poll showed that two-thirds of Palestinians believe Islamic law should be the sole source of legislation.)
      3. It will write its own "roadmap" in Palestinian consciousness, leading away from a two-state solution. For that purpose, Hamas will make the media and the schools into extensions of the mosques.


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