Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference: click here
Palestinian Groups Seek Relief from Court Order in Terrorism Case - Toni Locy (AP/Boston Globe)
Iranian Diplomats Killed in 1982 by Lebanese Christian Phalange (Naharnet-Lebanon)
Call Islamic Terrorism By Its Rightful Name - Nick Cohen (Observer-UK)
Israel Appointed to UN NGOs Committee - Rafael D. Frankel (Jerusalem Post)
Program Titles Considered Anti-Semitic by Some at UC Irvine - Kimi Yoshino (Los Angeles Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Pentagon is invoking the prosecution of two pro-Israel lobbyists and a Defense Department analyst for illegal use of classified information as a basis for stripping security clearances from government contractor employees who have dual citizenship in America and Israel or family members living in the Jewish state. In at least three instances, Defense Department attorneys have used or attempted to use the AIPAC case to justify withdrawing a security clearance or denying one in the first place, according to Virginia lawyer Sheldon Cohen.
Cohen, who recently completed a study of the Israel-related security clearance cases, found that "an unusually large number" of the public cases involving concerns about foreign influence appear to relate to Israel. One case involved a Lockheed employee who was born in Israel but emigrated to America 25 years ago. More than 7 years ago he was granted a "secret" clearance for work on the F-22 fighter jet project. A few months ago, defense department officials moved to revoke his clearance, citing his possession of an Israeli passport and the fact that his mother and siblings live in Israel. (New York Sun)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is deeply annoyed about a visit to Germany by a Hamas minister in the Palestinian government and would have preferred he had not come, government spokesman Thomas Steg said on Wednesday. "The German government rules out any contact with Hamas members. The Hamas minister who came to Germany is an unwanted person for the German government," Steg said. Palestinian Minister Atef Odwan traveled to Germany on a Swedish-issued EU "Schengen" visa. A German government official said Berlin had formally protested against Sweden's decision to issue Odwan an EU visa. (Reuters)
See also Norway Grants Visa to Hamas Lawmaker (AP/Jerusalem Post)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday named Gregg Rickman, a dogged investigator who has tracked the Swiss banks' role in the Holocaust, as the first special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism. He will head the State Department's office monitoring anti-Semitism, created in late 2004, and will deal both with official anti-Semitism and encouraging nations to combat anti-Semitism in their societies. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Fuad Shubaki, Arafat's finance person, who was apprehended on March 14 at Jericho prison, has admitted that upon the outbreak of the current round of Palestinian violence and terrorism in the autumn of 2000, Yasser Arafat ordered him to purchase large quantities of weapons, as much as the various funding sources would allow. Shubaki also financed the independent production of war materiel for the PA, including grenades, explosives, and RPGs.
According to Shubaki, the financing for this war materiel came from international assistance, tax revenues from the Gaza Strip, customs revenues transferred by Israel, and funds from Arab countries. Shubaki said that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Tanzim used weapons supplied by the PA security services, with Arafat's knowledge. Shubaki and Arafat were also directly involved in the Karine A weapons ship affair, which was financed and guided by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah. (Prime Minister's Office)
PA officials in Ramallah on Wednesday warned that Hamas' launching of a new security force in the Gaza Strip undermined PA Chairman Abbas and was seen as a declaration of war on Abbas' Fatah party. The force is led by Jamal Abu Samhadana, a former commander of the Popular Resistance Committees who has long been wanted by Israel because of his involvement in terrorism. PA officials said the new force was actually a Hamas army, noting that over 90% of its members belonged to Hamas' armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam.
The launching of the new force comes amid mounting tensions between Hamas and Fatah, whose supporters have been fighting almost daily battles in Gaza. Hamas gunmen are believed to be responsible for a series of shooting attacks on the homes and cars of several PA security officers over the past few days. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Abbas to Hamas: Remove Your Police - Khaled Abu Toameh
Mahmoud Abbas has told the Hamas-led government it must immediately remove its new security forces from the streets of Gaza, top Abbas aide Saeb Erekat said Thursday, as thousands of Palestinian police loyal to Abbas paraded in the streets of Gaza in a show of force. (Jerusalem Post)
See also The Popular Resistance Committees: Hamas' New Partners? - Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi (ICA/JCPA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
After its humiliating defeat in the January 25 legislative elections, Fatah leaders attempted to obstruct the new Hamas-led government's ability to function. To increase internal pressure on Hamas, Fatah has declared that the Hamas government is responsible for the international isolation of the PA and the deteriorating economic situation, and has encouraged public employees to hold sit-ins and protests over delays in the delivery of salaries. Fatah members, who comprise the majority of public sector employees, have suffered the most as a result of the financial crisis, while Hamas supporters benefit from a social service network that continues to function.
The international isolation of Hamas has increased the polarization of Palestinian society and exacerbated the rivalry between Fatah and Hamas. On May 7, Hamas activists responded to the assassination of one of their members by launching a shoulder-fired missile at a truck belonging to the Fatah-dominated Preventive Security Service, killing two of its passengers. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Certainly, the victory of Hamas has been a cautionary tale. Far from moderating their positions to accommodate the burdens of leadership, Hamas officials have toed their hard line and used the power of the state to back it up. Despite pressure from the West and other Arab governments to renounce violence, Hamas has appointed murderers to senior positions and applauded terrorist acts against civilians in Israel. The writer is vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. (Washington Post)
The world is faced with the nightmarish prospect that nuclear weapons will become a standard part of national armament and wind up in terrorist hands. A failed diplomacy would leave us with a choice between the use of force or a world where restraint has been eroded by the inability or unwillingness of countries that have the most to lose to restrain defiant fanatics.
An indefinite continuation of the stalemate would amount to a de facto acquiescence by the international community in letting new entrants into the nuclear club. In such a world, all significant industrial countries would consider nuclear weapons an indispensable status symbol. Radical elements throughout the Islamic world and elsewhere would gain strength from the successful defiance of the major nuclear powers. Iran, and eventually other countries of similar orientation, would be able to use nuclear arsenals to protect their revolutionary activities around the world. (Washington Post)
Right from the start of the current crisis over Iran's nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration has pursued three main objectives: to prevent the formation of a unified international front opposed to Tehran; to present the nuclear issue as the most pressing topic in Iran's domestic politics; and to transform the nuclear issue into a duel between the Ahmadinejad administration and the Bush administration in Washington.
The disappearance of the various brands of Communism as challenger to the Western model has left a vacuum that other radical ideologies including Khomeinism are trying to fill. Ahmadinejad is forcing everyone in Iran and all those outside who are interested in Iran to take a side. (Asharq Alawsat-UK)
Blaming Hamas Sidesteps Regional Realities - Hala Mustafa (Financial Times-UK)
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