Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Israel's Lessons for Fighting Terrorists and Their Implications for the United States - Daniel L. Byman and Avi Dichter (Saban Center-Brookings Institution)
- March 30, 2006
Issue of the Week:
Nineteen Charged with Racketeering to Support Hizballah (U.S. Department of Justice)
FBI Stops Ring Smuggling Hizballah Operatives into U.S. (JTA)
Al-Qaeda's Zarqawi Shifts Tactics Toward Killing Iraqis - Michael Georgy (Reuters/ Washington Post)
Pentagon to Test a Huge Conventional Bomb - Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post)
Hamas Parliament Members Shout for Jihad (MEMRI TV)
Ex-Mossad Chief Amit Urges West to Unite Against Muslim Attacks (WorldNetDaily)
Israel's Defense Burden Three Times Higher than Western Average - Hadas Manor (Globes)
UK Navy Ship Docks in Haifa (Ynet News)
Grenade Injures Ten in Gaza Clan Dispute (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
Road to Temple Mount Uncovered - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
International mediators have told the new Hamas-led Palestinian government that it must recognize Israel if it wants to be guaranteed continued aid. The Quartet said in a statement Thursday that aid would "inevitably" be affected as long as Hamas failed to renounce violence. (BBC News)
U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton told the UN Security Council Thursday that acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has expressed a willingness to pursue compromises with the Palestinians in the interest of peace, while Hamas has done nothing to change the U.S. view that it is a terrorist organization. He said Hamas has been responsible for the murder of hundreds of innocent civilians and that the group "has harmed the Palestinian peoples' aspirations for statehood." (State Department)
See also Bolton: Palestinian Foreign Minister Off to Bad Start for Slandering U.S. - Irwin Arieff
The new Palestinian foreign minister, Hamas member Mahmoud al-Zahar, got off to a bad start by slandering the U.S., UN Ambassador John Bolton said on Thursday. Zahar said America was committing "big crimes" against Arab and Islamic countries.
Bolton said Washington had decided to redefine the duties of Maj.-Gen. Keith Dayton, who was appointed last November to oversee Israeli-Palestinian security coordination efforts. Dayton was asked to end all contact with Palestinian security forces reporting to any member of the Hamas cabinet. (Reuters/Washington Post)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday: "We're not going to fund a Hamas-led government, provide funding to a Hamas-led government, but we are going to see what we can do to increase humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people and what mechanisms we can use to do that to make certain that the money is not indeed supporting the Hamas-led government."
"Of course everyone would like to see a negotiated solution. That's what the roadmap is all about. I would note that the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was supported by the United States and ultimately by the international community....I wouldn't on the face of it just say absolutely we don't think there's any value in what the Israelis are talking about [a unilateral withdrawal], but we can't support it because we don't know. We haven't had a chance to talk with them about what they have in mind." (State Department)
Hamas dismissed Israel's plan to withdraw from part of the West Bank Thursday and gave warning that it was likely to stir yet more violent resistance from Palestinians. "Unless the future status of the West Bank is agreed by both parties, there can be no long-term solution,'' said Riad Dayeh, a senior figure in the Islamist group. (Telegraph-UK)
See also Hamas Rejects Talk of Recognizing Israel
In a column in London's Guardian newspaper on Friday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh ruled out any talk of the Hamas-led government he heads recognizing Israel or ending the fight against the Jewish state until Israel commits to withdrawing from Palestinian land. (Reuters/ABC News)
Increased repression and unrest affecting Iran's numerous ethnic and religious minorities are providing new opportunities for the U.S. as it steps up efforts to destabilize the hardline Islamic government of President Ahmadinejad. Kurdish sources say persecution of Iran's estimated six million Kurds has intensified since Ahmadinejad came to power.
Amnesty International reported in February that "minorities, believed to number about half Iran's population, are subject to an array of discriminatory laws and practices." Ethnically Arab Khuzestan province in southwest Iran has witnessed several recent bomb attacks. Sistan-Baluchestan's large ethnic Baluchi Sunni population has long protested about discrimination by the Persian Shia majority, and there are stirrings of discontent in the northeast, home to two to three million ethnic Turkmen. (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Four Israelis were killed when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated explosives in a car Thursday night at the entrance to the West Bank settlement of Kedumim. The Israelis had apparently picked up the suicide bomber, who was likely dressed as an observant Jew, as he was hitchhiking. A group linked to Fatah claimed responsibility. Two of the victims were identified Friday as Ilana and Rafi Levy, both 60, from Kedumim. The other fatalities are a 16-year-old boy from Kedumim and Reut Feldman, 20, from Herzliya. (Ha'aretz)
See also Bomber May Have Meant to Blow Up in Kedumim - Efrat Weiss (Ynet News)
Leaders of Hamas and Hizballah pledged Thursday in Beirut to keep their weapons and continue armed resistance against Israel, threatening to "cut off the hand and the head" of any who try to take the resistance's weapons, and to "rip out their soul." Hizballah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah spoke at the Fourth General Arab Conference to Back the Lebanese and Palestinian Resistance, held in Beirut, which was also attended by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Meshaal said: "The Islamist movement, which heads the new Palestinian government, will continue to lead its armed struggle against Israel while in power." He argued that Arab leaders must change tactics after failing to achieve anything through the peaceful approach. (Daily Star-Beirut)
Nasrallah said that the resistance in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq will continue to confront the Israeli-American plot against Arab countries, peoples, and riches, adding that eventually the resistance will prevail. (Al-Manar [Hizballah]-Lebanon)
Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets Thursday at southern Israel. One rocket landed in a soccer field in Kibbutz Karmiya, south of Ashkelon. One person sustained light injuries. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. (Ynet News)
A commander of the militant Popular Resistance Committees, Abu Yousef Abu Quka, was killed on Friday in Gaza City after his car exploded. The militant group he belonged to has been responsible for many rocket attacks against Israel. The Israel Defense Forces denies responsibility for the incident. "It wasn't us," said an army spokeswoman. (Ha'aretz)
Last July, just before disengagement, Yousef Abu Safiyya, head of the PA's Environment Quality Authority, charged that Israel buried 50,000 tons of waste in Gush Katif and was polluting water wells and spoiling crops with concentrated sewage. However, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) issued a report Thursday that disputed these allegations and gave "the Gaza pullout an environmental clean bill of health."
The study, "Environmental Assessment of the Areas Disengaged by Israel in the Gaza Strip," was conducted at the request of the Palestinian Authority, with Israel's cooperation, and looked at water quality, soil/land contamination, hazardous waste, asbestos, and coastal zone issues. "The assessment did not find contamination of water, land, or buildings that pose a significant risk to the environment or public health," the UNEP report said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Mr. Olmert, denounced by those in Israel who fear he is about to cede more Jewish territory, said: "We firmly stand by the historic right of the people of Israel to the entire Land of Israel. Every hill in Samaria and every valley in Judea," he said, referring to the West Bank, "is part of our historic homeland." Olmert made clear that the only reason Israel was prepared to accept the creation of a Palestinian state was for its own benefit. A Jewish majority in that same Land of Israel could not be assured as long as Israel maintained its control over the Palestinian population of the territories. Just as Israelis had been forced to abandon some of their cherished national dreams, so would the Palestinians, he said.
It is an option that pragmatists in Hamas have not entirely ruled out. As one of its leaders graphically stated, it is difficult to ignore the existence of a neighbor who drives his tanks down your streets. Olmert has pledged to fix Israel's borders, unilaterally if necessary. The victory of the Islamists reinforces his argument that he has no partner for peace as he proceeds to consolidate Israel's hold on West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley. "For those in Israel who want to continue unilaterally, the Hamas victory is a great opportunity," said an official close to Mahmoud Abbas. (Financial Times-UK)
Some of the consequences of the Hamas victory in the PA elections are beginning to fall into place. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas appears to be steadily backpedaling after presenting a set of impressive conditions for Hamas to qualify to form a government. Abbas' commitments and conditions, which are impressive when viewed out of context, ceased long ago to be credible. By the same token, there is little chance of a renewed peace process, or roadmap process or even serious negotiations in the coming months. We must constantly remind ourselves that, at the end of the day, Hamas has a single, overriding mission: Islamization of Palestinian society. (bitterlemons.org)
Efraim Halevy, the former Mossad chief, has some simple advice for the victor of this week's Israeli elections: do nothing. Don't give the Palestinians any money, don't provide services, don't talk to them, and above all don't give them any more territory until the new Hamas-led government in the Palestinian territories recognizes Israel. If Hamas does not moderate its Islamist radicalism, then it will fail to meet its promises to improve the lives of Palestinians, Halevy said. (Telegraph-UK)
Assuming Hamas proves itself inalterably opposed to peace, it can be expected that the new Israeli government will explore the idea of further unilateralism in the West Bank, reflecting a growing Israeli despair over the prospects for a negotiated settlement. To be effective, this should be made contingent on a major U.S., EU, and international quid pro quo, including recognition of its "consolidation" policy as the fulfillment of all steps required of Israel under the Roadmap, pending final status negotiations, and of the vacated area in the West Bank and Gaza as the Roadmap's provisional Palestinian state for the future.
There should also be explicit EU recognition of the 2004 Bush letter which states that Israel's future borders will reflect demographic realities, that the refugee issue can only be resolved within a Palestinian state, and that Israel has the right to defensible borders. The author, formerly Israeli Deputy National Security Adviser, is now a Senior Fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. (ICA/JCPA)
Hamas was responsible for 60 suicide bombings during the latest Palestinian uprising, which is why Canada and the United States are right to pull the plug on their financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority and to cut off contact with its officials. Until Hamas leaders renounce violence, recognize Israel's right to exist, and meet the other prerequisites set by the international community, its administration simply cannot be treated as a legitimate negotiating partner in the pursuit of peace. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
Hassan Abbasi has a dream - a helicopter with the last of the "fleeing Americans," forced out of the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) by "the Army of Muhammad." Abbasi is "professor of strategy" at Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps University and the principal foreign policy voice in President Ahmadinejad's new radical administration. For the past several weeks Abbasi has been addressing crowds of Guard and Baseej Mustadafin officers in Tehran with a simple theme: The U.S. does not have the stomach for a long conflict and will soon revert to its traditional policy of "running away," leaving Afghanistan and Iraq, indeed the whole of the Middle East, to be reshaped by Iran and its regional allies.
However, almost all of the American leadership elite realized that the 9/11 attacks have changed the way most Americans see the world and their own place in it. Running away from Saigon, the Iranian desert, Beirut, and Mogadishu was not hard to sell to the average American because he was sure that the story would end there; the enemies left behind would not pursue their campaign within the U.S. itself. The enemies that America is now facing, however, are dedicated to the destruction of the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)
It has been three weeks since the Security Council was undeniably seized of the case of Iran's nuclear ambitions. At the end of it, the Council could only manage to produce a non-binding presidential statement. They could not agree to adopt a Security Council resolution. They could not agree to state clearly that Iran was in violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They could not agree that Iranian behavior constituted a threat to international peace and security.
How about confidence in the Security Council? The Council did not adopt a single penalty for noncompliance with Iran's treaty obligations. The only concrete action the Council took was to ask the IAEA to produce another report in 30 days. (National Review)
Now that the U.S. and its allies are considering sanctions on Iran, the experience of sanctions imposed on Iraq, which I helped engineer and maintain as a British diplomat at the Security Council, offers some lessons. First, no sanctions regime is effective unless its objective is widely shared, especially by the neighbors of the targeted state. There was considerable evasion of the sanctions by Iraq's neighbors. Second, oil sanctions are a double-edged sword and could cause damaging spikes in global oil prices.
Third, thanks to the control over food rationing that the oil-for-food program placed in the regime's hands, they arguably helped reinforce Hussein's rule. This mistake must not be repeated. Fourth, any sanctions regime requires a long-term, patient, and detailed effort to succeed. Although there was lots of rhetoric, sanctions enforcement on Iraq was sporadic, as the U.S. and its allies allowed Iraq's neighbors, particularly Jordan and Turkey, to import oil illegally. (Washington Post)
This week's pledge of solidarity with the Palestinians at the Arab League summit in Khartoum belongs under the rubric of idle chatter, as they refused to increase last year's commitment to contribute $55 million per month to the PA. The Palestinians are asking for $170 million. (Boston Globe)
You may have seen these incredible pictures on the Internet: ski slopes built in the middle of the Dubai desert. The Dubai ski slopes are really an amazing engineering feat: a massive indoor freezer, the size of three football fields, in the middle of the desert. They maintain a 6,000-ton snow base for five different slopes kept at a constant temperature well below freezing. The cost of building and maintaining something like this is well into the billions. Take a look at the Burj Al Arab hotel, also in Dubai, where you can't get a decent room for less than a few thousand a night. All this got me to thinking about the Palestinians and the money we've been sending there.
Why don't we ever hear about the obligations of rich Arabs to take care of their own? They've obviously got billions of petro-dollars to throw around. Why aren't they told off for not giving more to their Palestinian brothers? We get creamed for not subsidizing dishonest terrorists and oil-rich Arabs hear not a word about spending money on toys while their brother Arabs are starving. (FOX News)
"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," a "faculty research working paper" recently produced for Harvard's Kennedy School of Government by Stephen Walt, its academic dean, and John Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, weighs in at nearly 35,000 words. The word "oil," however, appears in the document exactly seven times - all of them generic or trivial.
This is nonsense scholarship. "It is really the stuff," Fouad Ajami told me this week, "of easy chatter in the coffeehouses of Ramallah and Nablus, Cairo and Amman. The lurid fantasies endemic to the Arab world have been given a false but sustaining authority with the imprimatur of two great universities, Harvard in particular. The conspiracy of the Jews and their American friends against the Palestinians, and against Arabs generally, has now been demonstrated by two eminent professors. Intrigue and plot have been certified as the real engines of history." (New Republic)
The post-Holocaust pattern of muted anti-Semitism in accepted European discourse has all but dissolved. In Germany, too, a new "uninhibitedness" has emerged that fuses old tropes of antipathy toward Jews and Israel with the current Europe-wide hostilities toward America, Israel, and Jews. In today's Europe and Germany, it has been an anti-Semitism of the liberal and radical Left, almost exclusively derived from its hatred of Israel. A 1990 study of the German Left demonstrated that its animosity toward Israel often displayed an anti-Semitic tone and content. (Jewish Political Studies Review)
In May 2003, a Washington lawyer was cleaning her basement when she came upon fragments of an old diary. Archivist Stephen Mize at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., found it to be a treasure trove: more than 10,000 pages chronicling one man's desperate attempts to help Europe's Jews escape the Nazis. James G. McDonald, high commissioner for refugees for the League of Nations and America's first ambassador to Israel, details meetings with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini as well as with Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who would become Pope Pius XII. McDonald writes that he feared the Nazis were planning as early as 1933 to annihilate the Jews of Europe.
"You really hear McDonald's frustration," Mize said. "He's going country to country trying to find safe haven for Jews and others who were persecuted by the Nazis. Time and time again he runs into leaders willing to offer sympathy but not action." McDonald pleads with Hitler himself to let the Jews emigrate. "Hitler responds by saying, look, other countries including the U.S. have shut Jews out of their country," Mize said. McDonald began his post as high commissioner for refugees in 1933, just as Hitler was coming to power. He resigned two years later after offering a "scathing collective indictment of the world for their indifference to the extirpation of the Jews from Europe," Mize said. (Chicago Tribune)
Israel at the Polls - 2006
Israel's Surprise Issue - E. J. Dionne Jr. (Washington Post)
See also The Economy Took (Temporary) Precedence - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Post)
See also A Referendum that Endorsed Withdrawal - Uri Savir (Jerusalem Post)
See also What the Elections Mean - An Array of Views (Jerusalem Post)
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