Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
New Calls by Hamas to Target the U.S. - Tim McGirk (TIME)
Israel Campus Beat
- October 15, 2006
Is There a Poverty Problem in Israel?
IDF: Hamas Trying to Create Military Balance with Israel - Amos Harel and Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
A Clear Collision Course - Danny Rubinstein (Ha'aretz)
Shin Bet: Hamas Beating Fatah in Gaza (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Prime Minister Olmert on Sunday said a planned summit with Mahmoud Abbas has been put on hold because of Abbas' insistence that Israel release large numbers of Palestinian prisoners. "We offered to meet with Abu Mazen (Abbas), but apparently he is not interested," Olmert was quoted as telling a meeting of Kadima party lawmakers. "He is conditioning a meeting on the release of prisoners and we will not release any prisoners until (captured soldier) Gilad Shalit is released." Shalit was captured in June by Hamas-linked militants in a cross-border raid. (AP/Forbes)
"The international community should learn the lessons of what occurred in North Korea," Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman told Israel Army Radio. "North Korea was only the preview. Iran will be the feature film, which, if no one takes serious action, will be projected throughout the whole world." Gillerman called for "much harder sanctions to be imposed on a demented Iranian regime that seeks to destroy a UN member state, and totally denies the Holocaust, while preparing to perpetrate a second Holocaust." (AFP/Reuters/International Herald Tribune)
The U.S. has quietly started a campaign, costing up to $42 million, to bolster Hamas' political opponents ahead of possible early Palestinian elections. The plan to promote alternatives to Hamas includes funding to help restructure Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah group and provide training and strategic advice to politicians and secular parties opposed to Hamas Islamists. "This project supports (the) objective to create democratic alternatives to authoritarian or radical Islamist political options," said one official U.S. document. Documents refer repeatedly to new programs that began in recent weeks. (Reuters)
See also Plan to Boost PA Security Seen as Political Intervention - Joshua Mitnick
Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, the Bush administration's security coordinator with the Palestinians, wants to deploy the Palestinian presidential guard of Mahmoud Abbas at critical crossing points with Israel to enable greater movement of Palestinian civilians and commerce in and out of Gaza. The plan will require an enlargement of the force and a reported $26 million in international aid. But some see the plan as a veiled intervention in the power struggle between the rival Palestinian political factions. (Washington Times)
The German Navy took over command of UNIFIL peacekeeping activities off the Lebanese coast Sunday. Germany will have ships and troops from Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark under its command. The German Navy makes up the bulk of the contingent with eight ships and about 1,500 German soldiers already in the area. The troops, who will operate 50 miles from the Lebanese coast, are mandated with monitoring the coast to prevent the possible smuggling of arms to Hizballah. (DPA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Olmert said Sunday that Iran poses a strategic threat to Israel, warning that the Islamic Republic would transfer nuclear weapons to its Lebanese proxy Hizballah. "If the atomic bomb reaches Iranian hands it will reach other hands. International fears - not only Israel's - are that these weapons reach other players like Hizballah." (Ynet News)
Hamas has been smuggling anti-aircraft missiles into Gaza, the head of IDF Military Intelligence's research division, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, told the government on Sunday. He said the movement of these weapons could greatly endanger the lives of Israel Air Force pilots and would require the army to consider a different and stronger approach in Gaza.
Baidatz also said the army had unequivocal proof that the smuggling of weapons from Syria to Lebanon was continuing with the knowledge of the government in Damascus and against the terms of a UN-brokered cease-fire. He said that Syrian President Assad was preparing his army for possible confrontation with Israel. The Syrian army had not returned to their routine positions since the end of the war in Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert on Sunday rejected the possibility of talks with Assad, saying the Syrian president was responsible for harboring terrorists and was attempting to destabilize the entire region. (Ha'aretz)
Hizballah has decided to cancel the central rally for Jerusalem Day - the last Friday of the month of Ramadan - "in order to ease on our honorable public," officials announced. Hizballah is trying hard to find ways to "ease on the public" as time passes since the war. The school year has just begun, and in Beirut's Dahiya neighborhood students arrived at the ruins which were once their schools. Fears are also rising over the winter which is on its way, especially among those who have been left homeless. In Hizballah's stronghold of Baalbek, demonstrators took to the streets Friday claiming to be on the verge of hunger. (Ynet News)
Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets toward the western Negev city of Sderot Friday night, the eve of the Simchat Torah holiday. One person sustained moderate injuries and two others suffered light wounds when a Kassam rocket landed in the backyard of a Sderot home. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Over the next decade, keep your eye on certain nations that may go nuclear. If isolated and impoverished North Korea can get away with developing and testing nuclear weapons, better-positioned countries such as Iran may be emboldened to think they can, too. Last month, Gamal Mubarak, son of the Egyptian president and widely viewed as next in line, suggested that Egypt pursue nuclear energy. In a thinly veiled reference to Iran, he noted that Egypt "is not the only country that is thinking about this alternative to save on energy sources."
Saudi Arabia helped finance Pakistan's nuclear program, and its leaders are rumored to have met with A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb and the mastermind of a global black market in nuclear technology. The Saudis could obtain a weapon from Pakistan or invite Pakistan to station some of its weapons at Saudi bases. This could be legal under the NPT, just as the U.S. stations nuclear weapons at European bases. The writer is a senior national security analyst at the Center for American Progress. (Washington Post)
Nabil Kafarneh rarely leaves his home on the west side of Beit Hanoun in Gaza. Kafarneh isn't a wanted militant, or even a key figure in the raging battle between political factions. But he's a senior member of the Kafarneh family, and his clan is at war. Where the last shreds of law and order have disintegrated, Gazans are turning to the last group they can trust - their families. Gaza is less a political entity now than a vast underworld slum, with each street controlled by a different faction or family. Kafarneh can't go to nearby Gaza City, he says, because the Kafarnehs are locked in a bloody honor feud with the Dugmash clan there. Three Dugmashes have been killed so far in the fighting and the Kafarnehs are braced for the inevitable revenge-taking.
Kafarneh and his son Matar are examples of what's gone wrong in Gaza over the past year. Twelve months ago, Kafarneh was a real estate agent who was planning to open a nightclub in Gaza City. His son was a police officer drawing a salary from the PA. Now both are gunmen, defending their family's interests and living on money paid to them by richer relatives. Matar explained, "I have no choice. Because of the situation, families have to take security into their own hands. There's no police, no government." Mahmoud el-Masri, whose family controls the east side of Beit Hanoun, said that since Hamas took office and the international community turned off the aid taps, Gaza has gotten more tribal. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
The Terror War Is an Honor War - Jonathan Rauch (National Journal, 13Oct06)
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