Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

June 16, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

PA Fears EU Border Monitors Will Leave - Yoav Appel (Jerusalem Post)
    EU monitors stationed at the Rafah border crossing have protested Hamas' using it to transfer millions of dollars in cash into Gaza in the suitcases of Hamas cabinet ministers.
    Palestinian legislator Saeb Erekat said Thursday he feared the monitors would withdraw and the PA's only international border would be closed.
    Israel's Foreign Ministry said it is increasingly concerned the incoming cash will be used to fund Hamas' military wing.
    "It's not enough to fund the PA government, but unfortunately it is enough to keep a terrorist infrastructure very much alive," said ministry spokesman Mark Regev.
    Using government officials as couriers to hand-deliver funds means the money flow into the PA can't easily be tracked, said Dore Gold, an expert on terrorism financing and a former ambassador to the UN. "There's no money trail," he said.

    See also Abbas, West Seek to Stem Flow of Hamas Cash - Adam Entous (Reuters)
    Major Palestinian banks said they would not deposit or transfer the cash brought into Gaza by Hamas, making it difficult for the government to distribute the money to the Palestinian workforce in the West Bank.
    "This will certainly not be deposited in the Bank of Palestine, no way," its chairman, Hani Shawa, told Reuters. "We must know the source and the source must be approved by us."
    Diplomats said paying cash to workers in Gaza but not those in the West Bank could fuel tensions.
    "The $20 million (brought in by Foreign Minister Zahar) will not help anyone. It will finance the Hamas opposition to the referendum," said a security source.
    An Arab diplomat said: "We all know where this money is going - to arms or to strengthen the Hamas force."
    The head of the EU's Rafah monitoring mission sent a letter to senior aide to Abbas, Saeb Erekat, to protest at the flood of unaccounted for funds.
    The spokesman for the EU monitors, Julio De La Guardia, said the letter warned of "consequences" if the rules were not changed "so that the luggage of everybody is checked in order to have proper control over the inflow of money."


Israel HighWay
- June 15, 2006

Issue of the Week:
    Prime Minister Olmert's Peace Plan

UN Secretary General's Clarification on Gaza Beach Incident (United Nations)
    The office of the UN Secretary General provided the Daily Alert with a different version of Secretary General Kofi Annan's statement about the IDF investigation of the Gaza beach incident than that originally cited by Al-Hayat.
    Mr. Annan's office specifically stated that he did not propose a UN investigation into the incident.
    His official spokesman denied the claim conveyed in the report from Albawaba in Jordan that Mr. Annan was sending a special envoy to the region to investigate Palestinian claims.
    See also Annan Retracts Remarks on IDF's Gaza Blast Probe - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan retracted remarks he made on Israel after the Gaza beach incident. Annan said Israel's position on the incident is "very strange."
    Following a meeting Thursday with Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Danny Gillerman, he told reporters: "I responded to speculations in the press. The answer was given before Israel published its findings. We need to wait for Israel to publish its final report."


Iranians Volunteer to Die for Palestine - Christine Spolar (Chicago Tribune)
    "I'm willing to be a martyr," said Fatima, 21, as she sat with dozens of other masked brethren on a hot spring day in Tehran's public cemetery.
    "We're all coming here to show we support our brothers and sisters in Palestine and across the Muslim world," she said.
    A rally sponsored in part by Hizballah fighters from Lebanon drew about 200 young people who signed pledge cards, giving their names and addresses as a possible contact for a mission to kill.


Iranian Police Forcibly Disperse Women's Rights Protest in Tehran (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
    Iranian police violently dispersed a women's rights gathering in one of Tehran's main squares on June 12, detaining more than 50 people.
    Several hundred demonstrators of both genders were protesting legal obstacles for women.
    According to the interpretation of Islamic laws applied in Iran, a woman's testimony in court is worth half of a man's, women's divorce rights are negligible, and women need the permission of their father or husband to travel.


Survey Finds Israelis Optimistic (Jerusalem Post)
    82% of Israelis aged 20 and older were satisfied with their lives, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday.
    83% of Israeli workers said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their employment, though only half were pleased with their salaries.
    77% of Israeli adults defined their health as good or very good.


Israeli Arab Fertility Rate Declining - Shahar Ilan (Ha'aretz)
    The fertility rate among Arab women in Israel has declined steadily in the past five years, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
    It dropped 8% - from 4.74 children per Muslim woman in 2000 to 4.36 in 2004.
    During the same period, the fertility rate for Jewish women rose slightly, from 2.66 to 2.71.


Introducing Israel's First Bedouin Woman Doctor - Anat Bershkovsky (Ynet News)
    Rania Okabi, 26, who graduated from Ben-Gurion University Medical School in Beersheba on Wednesday, is the first Bedouin woman in Israel to become a physician.
    "I feel that I have a mission. I hope to serve as a role model for a lot of Bedouin girls who wish to study professions that are unconventional in our society," she said.


Maryland Transit Administration Police Get Security Training in Israel (Baltimore Business Journal)
    Fifteen police and security workers from across the U.S. including Maryland Transit Administration Police Chief Colonel Douglas DeLeaver and Lt. Col. Richard Wheeler are on a nine-day homeland security training program in Israel, officials said Tuesday.
    Israel is known as one of the world leaders in counterterrorism initiatives, MTA officials said.
    This is DeLeaver's second trip to Israel for security training. After his last trip, he applied Israeli anti-terrorism techniques to Maryland's mass transit system.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Says Hamas to Blame for Financial Mess - David Gollust
    The United States Thursday denied impeding European efforts to set up a mechanism for sending humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. The State Department said the Hamas-led Palestinian government has only itself to blame for the financial crisis in the West Bank and Gaza. "Let's be clear about why the Palestinian people find themselves in this position," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. "It's for one reason. It's because the Hamas-led government refuses to turn away from terror. They refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist. They therefore refuse to be a partner for peace, and the international community, rightly so, has come out and said that's unacceptable."  (Voice of America)
  • Iran, Syria Sign Defense Agreement - Farhad Pouladi
    Defense ministers from close allies Iran and Syria on Thursday signed an agreement for military cooperation against the "common threats" presented by Israel and the United States. Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and visiting Syrian counterpart Hassan Turkmani said their talks had been aimed at consolidating their defense efforts and strengthening support for one another. "We can have a common front against Israel's threats," Turkmani said. Najjar said Iran "considers Syria's security its own security, and we consider our defense capabilities to be those of Syria." (AFP/DefenseNews.com)
  • Gaza Rockets Could Start a War - Ian Fisher
    When a Kassam rocket pounded through the roof of Universe Packaging in Sderot, Israel, on Thursday, tons of falling concrete just missed Lior Levi, 28, who counts himself a lucky man. "I didn't realize it was a direct hit." (New York Times)
        See also IDF Prevents One Rocket Launch, Palestinians Fire Six Rockets at Israel
    IDF forces identified a group of Palestinians preparing for a rocket launch Thursday and opened fire, preventing the launch. However, six Kassam rockets were launched at Israel Thursday night. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Captured Papers Show Weakening Iraqi Insurgency - Patrick Quinn
    A document purportedly captured in an al-Qaeda hideout portrays the insurgency in Iraq as losing strength, and proposes ways to stir up trouble between the U.S. and Iran to divert American attention. Arrests, weapons seizures, and money shortages are taking a heavy toll on al-Qaeda's insurgency in Iraq, according to the three-page transcript released Thursday by the Iraqi government. The document, describing the "current bleak situation," said the insurgency was being hurt by an increase in U.S.-trained Iraqi forces. Meanwhile, American and Iraqi forces have killed 104 insurgents in 452 raids nationwide since al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed last week, the U.S. military said. (AP/ABC News)
        See also Text of Captured Document (AP/Washington Post)
  • Caterpillar Digs In on Israeli Bulldozer Battle - David Roeder
    Palestinian-aligned protesters tried to use Caterpillar Inc.'s annual meeting Wednesday to persuade the company to re-examine sales to Israel, but they were met with a resistance befitting a manufacturer of bulldozers. Caterpillar leadership refused to heed calls that it stop providing the Israeli army with bulldozers that, when armored, have been used to demolish Palestinian homes in disputed areas of the West Bank and Gaza. Jewish groups and others have characterized the destruction as attacks on known terrorist hideouts and a legitimate means of self-defense. Arab nations rejected a boycott of Caterpillar, Chairman James Owens said, because the company's products are used throughout the Middle East to abet construction and human progress. (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Try to Abduct Two Teenage Israeli Girls in West Bank - Efrat Weiss
    Two Israeli teenage girls escaped a kidnapping attempt Thursday at a bus stop and hitchhiking post at the Rehalim Junction in Samaria. Three Palestinians from Jenin tried forcing the girls into their car at gunpoint. The two resisted and one of the girls, 15-year-old Emuna Shachar of Jerusalem, sustained light injuries as a result. The gunmen were apprehended near Eli following a pursuit by IDF forces.
        Shachar said, following the incident, "I yelled 'Shema Yisrael'; I was sure I was going to die any second....An Arab man came out of the car with a gun and aimed it at us. We tried to run away, and I ended up on the ground while one of them started beating me up until a Border Guard jeep showed up." (Ynet News)
  • An Erosion of Deterrence Against Rockets? - Ze'ev Schiff
    The security of residents of communities near Gaza, including Sderot, deteriorated after the disengagement. Who would bring their children and families to live in communities that are routinely shelled, where the difference between being hit and being saved is a matter of luck? What should bother us are the lessons that will be learned by Hizballah, which controls an enormous array of rockets deployed in Lebanon. The failure to deal with the Kassam rockets is an invitation to Hizballah to provoke Israel.
        The idea of reoccupying Gaza must be removed from the IDF's lexicon. But if Hamas continues its war against Israel, even on a low flame, targeted killings of those members of Hamas' leadership that permit war to be waged against Israeli citizens should resume. It is up to us to ensure that those who conduct the war against us pay a high price. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad: "Every Threat Has an Answer" - Herb Keinon and Yaakov Katz
    Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's Political-Military Bureau, said in an interview, "Suicide attacks looked, at certain periods, as if they could not be solved and in the end we found a way to minimize them. The problem of rocket attacks from Gaza has yet to be solved. But the solution will be found." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah Seeks to Topple Hamas - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Fatah leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas, are no longer hiding their desire to topple the Hamas government and to return to power as soon as possible. They are prepared to do almost everything, including unleashing hundreds of Fatah militiamen and policemen to torch government buildings and the offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Abbas is being assisted by a handful of Fatah officials and warlords who are still viewed by many Palestinians as icons of corruption and mismanagement. Demands by representatives of the "young guard" in Fatah to reform the party have been brushed aside in favor of the anti-Hamas campaign.
        A growing number Palestinians don't like the fact that the outside world is trying to reinstate the same guys who were voted out last January. The power struggle between Fatah and Hamas is not perceived as a conflict over the future of the peace process with Israel, but as a fight over money and power between those who lost the election and those who won. Yet a defeated and humiliated Hamas would be much more dangerous. Supplying Abbas with more M16s "so that he could confront Hamas" plays into the hands of his opponents and makes him look like a puppet serving the interests of the U.S. and Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Awaits Israel's End - Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
    Ahmed Yousef, the political adviser to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, is soon to publish a new book, in English, The End of the Jewish State: Just a Matter of Time. The adviser, who is considered a representative of the moderate wing in Hamas, says he does not hate Israelis or Jews; he just believes Zionism is approaching its end and that in its wake the idea of the Jewish state will also wither and fade. "You will be able to live with us here, in one state, as you lived peacefully under the flag of Islam for hundreds of years," Yousef said consolingly this week to an Israeli guest in his office, which is adjacent to the Prime Minister's Bureau.
        "Soon Allah will reveal himself and help us gain victory. In the end you will disappear and the land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, will be ours," says Jamila, sister of terrorist leader Jamal Abu Samhadana, commander of the Popular Resistance Committees who was killed this week. (Ha'aretz))
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Time to Hang Up My Track (II) Shoes - Yossi Alpher
    Informal Israeli-Palestinian meetings, commonly known as "Track II," are in danger of becoming pathetic and pointless. Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections a few months ago, and since then I've become allergic to Track II meetings. They tend to be despairingly unproductive, for two reasons. First, the organizers want to talk about returning to a peace process. They approach the issues as if Hamas had never replaced Fatah in power; as if PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had the standing and authority to negotiate on behalf of a unified political entity; as if Abbas' positions on the key issues, like the "right of return" of the 1948 refugees, had suddenly become more flexible and acceptable to Israelis. Second, the Fatah stalwarts want to plot with us how Fatah will retake power in the next election - assuming, mindlessly, that there will be another Palestinian election anytime soon.
        Could we discuss how disengagement might be configured so as to benefit Palestinians? No, it's not on the Palestinian, American, European, or Arab agenda. Well-meaning friends of an Israeli-Palestinian peace process have obliged Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to pledge to try to negotiate with Abbas even though he knows the effort will prove fruitless. The writer was a former senior adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies. (Forward)
  • Divorce the Palestinians - Guy Bechor
    Has Israel really left Gaza? Israel continues to support Gaza economically, as if it weren't foreign territory: Israel supplies water and electricity, the shekel is legal currency there. On the other hand, Israel is in the midst of a war with the Gaza Strip. Israel must bring all hints of aid to Gaza to a halt over the coming months, not in revenge, but rather as a move that would indicate the end of the road, the end of occupation. From Israel's perspective, there need not be any difference between Gaza and cities in Syria or Jordan. These places are outside our jurisdiction and they have nothing to do with us. Because Gaza has an open, dry land border with Egypt, the Egyptians will help any international body wanting to help, if they want.
        We have tried everything with the Palestinians. We've been from war to peace and back to war again. We've entertained sweet fantasies and had them cruelly dashed. We've sacrificed our loved ones and fought determinedly. The time has come to understand that emotional distance is the other side of the disengagement coin. The writer, a senior security analyst at Yediot Ahronot, is a lecturer in Arab law and Middle East politics at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. (Ynet News)
  • Turn Left at the Presbyterian Church - Jim Roberts
    Over the past two years, the Presbyterian Church (USA) - my denomination - has taken a turn toward radicalism that threatens to tarnish a once-proud institution. At issue is the Presbyterian Church's decision in June 2004, with scant attention and without fair debate, "to initiate a process of phased, selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel." While the action was likened to similar divestment from South Africa under apartheid in the 1980s, attempts to draw analogies between that country then and Israel now are factually indefensible.
        In the fall of 2004, senior church leaders were among a contingent that met with Hizballah in Lebanon and praised them - the same international terrorist organization that has killed thousands, including Americans, without remorse over several decades, and that receives major funding from Iran. The church also funds fiercely pro-Palestinian committees, sends representatives to Palestinian advocacy conferences, and has written obsequious congratulatory letters to the terrorist leaders of Hamas on their recent election victory.
        The leadership now faces nearly two dozen formal requests from regional Presbyteries across America to change or terminate our divestment policy. At the very least, a large majority agrees that we need to abandon divestment as a hostile action against Israel in favor of "investment" in Israeli and Palestinian groups that are working as bridge-builders for peace. Most people also agree that, with Hamas now in power in the Palestinian territories, Presbyterians need to clearly and unequivocally denounce Hamas' longstanding call for the destruction of Israel in its charter, and to demand that Hamas stop its many hateful indoctrination practices against Jewish people.
        This year, Presbyterian commissioners voting at the national General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala., can steer the Presbyterian ship back on a prudent path, which begins with reversing the divestment course charted two years ago. The writer is chairman of the Committee to End Divestment Now. (Wall Street Journal, 15Jun06)
        See also Anti-Israel Divestment Campaign Stalls - Mark D. Tooley (FrontPageMagazine)
        See also Church Panelist Compares Israelis to Nazis (JTA)
  • The Battle for Cairo Is Just as Vital as the One for Baghdad - Jonathan Steele
    Egypt is only superficially at peace. The Bush administration's program to promote democratization throughout the Arab world was quietly aborted after the Muslim Brotherhood's stunning successes in Egypt's elections late last year and the Hamas victory in the Palestinian vote in January. Political Islam has left Washington spooked. Although the Brotherhood is an illegal organization, the candidates it put up as independents won a fifth of the seats in parliament. Barred from state channels, Brotherhood MPs appear constantly in debates on satellite TV talkshows.
        Mubarak has postponed local elections and decreed a two-year extension of the draconian emergency laws. The secular opposition that could compete with the Brotherhood is repressed as fiercely as the Brotherhood itself. Ayman Nour, who dared to stand against Mubarak in last year's presidential election, was sent to jail for five years. What people want from the U.S. is greater pressure on the Mubarak regime, which is heavily dependent on Washington's financial support. (Guardian-UK)
  • We Must Act to Stop Iran's Serious Threat to America and Israel - Lawrence J. Haas
    When it comes to national security, prudence demands that we confront the biggest threats before they develop - not after. An Iran with nuclear weapons is America's worst nightmare. It would give a virulently anti-Western state that's already the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism the means to carry out - itself or through a terrorist network - its threats to eliminate not just Israel but the U.S. as well.
        Tehran helps plan and support terrorist acts; provides funding, training and weapons for Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other key terrorist groups; is working to destabilize Iraq; and refuses to bring to justice the senior al-Qaeda leaders it detained in 2003. We must do whatever it takes to prevent an Iran with nuclear weapons from coming to pass. (Knight Ridder/Charlotte Observer)

    Weekend Features

  • Fighting Terrorists While Preserving Morality - Jay Ambrose
    Israelis are doing their best to cope with Palestinian terrorists while preserving their own decency, their own sense of humanity. It's not easy, considering the nature of an enemy that focuses on the deliberate killing of civilians. The Israeli military ordinarily bends over backwards to avoid civilian casualties, even in some situations where it is put at life-threatening disadvantages by its reticence.
        Since September 2000, Israel has been subject to 24,000 attacks by terrorists who often use civilians as cover and observe no rules of warfare. Yet legal advisers must authorize virtually every Israeli attack before it takes place, the nation's supreme court supervises everything the military does, and soldiers are required to disobey orders that are manifestly illegal.
        It is difficult to spend much time among the citizens of this land without seeing that they are aiming to survive not just physically, but morally, as caring, civilized human beings, while under constant assault by a murderous enemy that wishes as many of them dead as possible. (Scripps Howard/Anchorage Daily News)
        See also Teaching Morality in Armed Conflict: The Israel Defense Forces Model - Amos N. Guiora
    Teaching morality and ethics during armed conflict to combat units presents unique challenges to both military educators and commanders. Aspects of this complex issue include the prevailing military culture, the character of military training, and the nontraditional combat zone. The Israel Defense Forces created a video program by using two- to three-minute clips from relevant Hollywood movies that would be familiar to most of the target audience and presenting eleven "codes of conduct." Although the video was prepared by the IDF School of Military Law, the issue of morality in armed conflict is ultimately the responsibility of the commander. (Jewish Political Studies Review)
  • Israel a Hub for High-Tech Advances - Richard Quest
    Israel's security needs have forced the country to fast track its high-tech solutions. Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) in 1975 pioneered the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), better known as the drone. Now, from giants like the Predator that can fly for two days non-stop, to micro drones that fit in a backpack, these UAVs are recognized as a crucial part of modern warfare and a top seller for Israel. These days, technology means that one person can effectively control the battlefield with the push of a button or the pull of a joystick, known as "network-centric warfare." "Twister," one of IAI's cutting-edge battlefield innovations, is a three-dimensional moving map of military campaigns in real time.
        Shlomo Dovrat, founder of the Israeli technology venture capital firm Carmel Ventures, said the country's compulsory military service had created a large pool of tech-savvy, motivated young workers - all eager to develop their own ideas. 55% of Israel's exports are now technology-based. (CNN)
        See also Staying Safe in Israel - Richard Quest
    Israel has some of the world's most advanced security systems in place. (CNN)
  • Red Herring Magazine: "Israel's Hot"
    How hot is Israel? So hot Lehman Brothers' Tel Aviv office did six deals in less than two weeks in April - so hot, in fact, Lehman has to add three more investment bankers to the ten it already has on deck. The tiny Middle Eastern country, with a population smaller than Manhattan's, has become a global player in innovation, thanks to its thriving venture capital scene and many home-grown startups. There are now 75 Israeli companies listed on the tech-heavy Nasdaq - more listings than any other foreign country but Canada. What's more, Israel is in a better position now than it was in the tech boom as IT company valuations are more closely tied to fundamentals, the country is less dependent on U.S. venture money, and it has a wider range of tech strengths. Among those growing strengths include medical technology, biotech, and nanotech. But the country hasn't lost its edge in security and the Internet, either, with a bevy of startups attracting VC investment by focusing on next-generation web applications. (Red Herring)
  • Observations:

    Who Is to Blame for Grief on a Beach? - Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)

    • It was another one of those pictures that goes instantly around the world. A young Palestinian, wailing in wretched sorrow, grieving over her dead father, stepmother and five siblings who had been killed by an explosion on a Gaza beach. Then came the blame. Mahmoud Abbas (he's the moderate) immediately called the killings an act of Israeli "genocide" and, to dramatize the crime, legally adopted the bereaved girl.
    • A few days later, an Israeli army investigation concluded that it was not Israel's doing at all: First, because the shrapnel taken from the victims (treated at Israeli hospitals - some "genocide") were not the ordnance used in Israeli artillery. Second, because aerial photography revealed no crater that could have been caused by Israeli artillery. Third, because Israel could account for five of the six shells it launched at the rocket base nearby, and the missing one had been launched at least five minutes before the blast that killed the family.
    • But the obvious question not being asked is this: Who is to blame if Palestinians are setting up rocket launchers to attack Israel - and placing them 400 yards from a beach crowded with Palestinian families?
    • This is another example of the Palestinians' classic and cowardly human-shield tactic - attacking innocent Israeli civilians while hiding behind innocent Palestinian civilians.
    • There is an even larger question not asked. Why are the Gazans launching any rockets at Israel in the first place? To get Israel to remove its settlers and end the occupation?
    • But Israel did exactly that in Gaza last year. The Palestinians were given all of Gaza, and they respond with rocket attacks into peaceful Israeli towns - in pre-1967 Israel proper, mind you.
    • What would the United States do if rockets were raining into San Diego from across the border with Mexico?


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