Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 2, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

PA Income Down 60% Since Hamas Took Power (AP/International Herald Tribune)
    The Palestinian Authority's income fell by 60% after Hamas took power in March, even as the government payroll expanded, creating an increasingly unsustainable situation, the International Monetary Fund reported Wednesday.
    Between April and September, the government took in just $500 million, down from more than $1.2 billion in the same period in 2005.
    The report said the number of PA civil servants grew by 5,400 this year, to more than 142,000 in mid-June.
    Most of the hiring took place in the security services, and some 20,000 new recruits are currently being trained and could be added to the payroll in the future.
    It now costs about $100 million a month to cover salaries for government workers, compared to about $80 million a month in mid-2005. The increase is also due to a generous across-the-board pay increase in late 2005.
    Economist Samir Hleileh, who served as Palestinian Cabinet secretary before Hamas came to power, warned that the current system of payments is setting back years of financial reform carried out by former Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, who had set up a single Treasury account to clean up rampant mismanagement and corruption.

Palestinian Emigration on the Rise (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinians are leaving the territories due to the harsh security and economic situation there, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
    Ahmed Suboh, a Palestinian Foreign Ministry official, said that over the last four months, foreign and Arab diplomats in the territories have authorized 10,000 Palestinians to enter their countries, and that some 45,000 additional emigration requests were currently being evaluated.

Egyptians See Israel, Denmark, U.S. as Enemies (AFP/Ynet News)
    A poll made public on Wednesday by an Egyptian state institute showed that 92% of Egyptians see Israel as an enemy - despite the peace agreement between the two countries.
    60% say Denmark is an enemy of Egypt, while 50% view America as an enemy.
    Countries crowned as "friends" of Egypt include Saudi Arabia, Libya, the PA, Sudan, and Syria.

Israel Plans Elephant Park (JTA)
    Israel's Tourism Ministry announced Wednesday that it plans to open a park by 2008 near Kibbutz Nahal Oz where 30 female elephants from Asia will roam free or be harnessed for visitors to ride.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Fires Missiles in War Games - Parisa Hafezi
    Iran's Revolutionary Guards fired missiles able to carry cluster warheads at the start of military maneuvers on Thursday. "Dozens of missiles were fired including Shahab-2 and Shahab-3 missiles. The missiles had ranges from 300 km up to 2,000 km," Iranian state television reported. "Iranian experts have made some changes to Shahab-3 missiles installing cluster warheads in them with the capacity to carry 1,400 bombs," state television said. Experts say Iran's Shahab-3 missiles are capable of hitting Israel as well as U.S. military bases in the Gulf. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • U.S.: Iran and Syria Plotting to Topple Beirut Leaders - David E. Sanger and Michael Slackman
    The White House said Wednesday it was "increasingly concerned by mounting evidence that the Syrian and Iranian governments, Hizballah, and their Lebanese allies are preparing plans to topple Lebanon's democratically elected government." (New York Times)
  • Peres "Skeptical" about UK's Syria Overtures - Sophie Walker
    Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said on Wednesday he was skeptical about efforts by Britain to bring Syria into peace negotiations. Tony Blair's foreign policy chief Nigel Sheinwald met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem on Monday during an unannounced visit to Damascus. Peres told reporters in London, "If you ask me, I am skeptical. Not because of Britain but because of Syria. They are running a double policy. On the one hand they are hosting the head of the Hamas organization and they are helping Hizballah...while on the other they talk about peace....They don't need to make peace with the Europeans, they need to make peace with us." (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Fire Seven Rockets at Israel Wednesday - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired seven Kassam rockets at Sderot and the western Negev on Wednesday. One rocket landed in the backyard of a Sderot home. Two rockets fell in a factory in Sderot's industrial zone. Another rocket landed south of Ashkelon near a strategic facility. (Ynet News)
        See also Palestinians Fire Three Rockets at Israel Thursday Morning - Josh Brannon
    Palestinians in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at Sderot on Thursday morning. One landed in the city, another hit its outskirts, and the third landed near a western Negev kibbutz. IDF St.-Sgt. Kiril Golanshin, 21, was killed on Wednesday during a firefight in Beit Hanun in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Dodging Death in a Sderot Playground - Josh Brannon
    The Kassam rocket just cleared the apartment block before slamming into the Sderot playground, less than 15 meters from the jungle gym. A child was wounded and another four individuals were treated for shock in Tuesday afternoon's rocket attack. "You see how we live? I don't need an alarm clock, because almost every day the Red Dawn (warning system) wakes me up," said Ura Meshayilov, 22. "No one should have to live like this." Robert Pessako, also 22, said, "We are playing by two separate rules. They launch rockets indiscriminately into our neighborhoods, and then we put our own soldiers at risk, sending them in there and telling them not to shoot if they think they may hit a civilian, while the terrorists shoot from behind them." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's Security Cabinet Approves American Requests - Aluf Benn
    Israel's security cabinet Wednesday adopted a number of resolutions aimed at satisfying American requests in advance of Prime Minister Olmert's visit to Washington in ten days. It decided to strengthen "elements in the Palestinian Authority other than the Hamas government," thereby effectively giving its approval to a plan by Gen. Keith Dayton, the American security coordinator in the territories, to arm and train forces loyal to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
        It also decided to give positive consideration to the PA's request to transfer thousands of rifles from Egypt and Jordan to Abbas' forces, as well as to America's request that Israel allow the Badr Brigade - a wing of the Palestine Liberation Army that is currently stationed in Jordan - to relocate to the territories. Dayton wants to turn the Badr Brigade into Abbas' rapid reaction force in Gaza. Both decisions require further approval from both Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and a source in Olmert's office said: "We don't see approval being granted just now." Additionally, the cabinet agreed to "launder" the presence in the West Bank of some 5,000 Palestinians who hold American or European passports. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel Okays Transfer of 5,000 Rifles to Abbas (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Intelligence Chief Arrives for Talks - Tovah Lazaroff
    U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte arrived in Israel for a brief visit Wednesday after meeting in Cairo with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to discuss Egypt's failure to halt the illegal flow of arms to Gaza over its border. Egyptian officials said Egypt turned down American proposals to allow a U.S.-led team of multinational peace monitors and CIA counterterrorism experts to help police the porous border with Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A New Road for Israel - Avigdor Lieberman
    To the editor of the New York Times: Your editorial got it wrong. The Middle East peace process has failed miserably, and trying to breathe new life into an already defunct process is not the way to go. I suggest we redefine our goals and focus on bringing security and stability to the Middle East instead of setting our sights on an unrealistic, unattainable fantasy. The declared missions of Hamas and Hizballah are not to expel Israel from Lebanon or Gaza but to eradicate all Jews from Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem, and until they achieve that goal, they will not lay down their arms.
        Israel is where the war on terror started. Sadly, we have had to stand alone for many decades in the face of unrelenting attacks on our Western ideas and values of freedom and democracy. After the terror attacks of 9/11, Madrid in 2004, London in 2005 (and the list goes on), the world knows better. That's why old thinking, regardless of how well intentioned, simply won't work. It is time to go back to the drawing board, re-evaluate the goals of the peace process, and start anew. The writer is Israel's new Minister of Strategic Affairs. (New York Times)
        See also The Wrong Partner in Israel - Editorial (New York Times)
  • Scenes from the Jihad - Jeff Jacoby
    At this point in the war against radical Islam, the radicals are on the march. From Ahmadinejad's swagger to Hizballah's war on Israel to the plot to blow up jetliners leaving London, our enemies are aggressive, relentless, and unequivocal in their determination to defeat us. Meanwhile, Western Europe is turning into Eurabia before our eyes, as a fading native population with its effete secular culture of pacifism and relativism is superseded by a surging Muslim cohort. Most Muslims are not Islamists or terrorists, of course. However, most of them keep quiet in the face of the radical offensive. That is all the radicals need to keep driving the jihad forward.
        Radical Islam is not going away. Like Nazism and communism, it is an ideology that produces the systemic murder of innocents. Like those earlier totalitarianisms, it will go on murdering until it is crushed. Like them, it is impervious to appeasement and contemptuous of weakness. The longer Americans sleep, the farther the jihad advances. (Boston Globe)
  • Observations:

    Lebanon War Reaffirms Arab World's "Resistance" Doctrine - Ehud Yaari (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    • Militarily, Israel dealt Hizballah a severe blow in this summer's Israel-Hizballah war: the group lost its grip on the Lebanon-Israel border, lost its arsenal of long-range missiles, and suffered serious causalities. Yet, despite displaying vulnerability in the later stages of the war, Hizballah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah quickly recovered. The war allowed Hizballah to reaffirm the potency of the muqawama, or resistance, doctrine.
    • The perception that Israel failed in its wartime objectives was exported from Israel to the Arab world and has been used as proof of the resilience of the muqawama strategy. The doctrine holds that, to defeat one's adversaries, more can be achieved by armed resistance than by political agreement.
    • The muqawama doctrine does not call for the strengthening of armies to compete against adversaries' armed forces. Instead, it calls for battles to be waged against civilian populations.
    • Israel's neighbors - Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinians - have all been threatened by the possibility that nonstate actors will hijack their foreign and domestic policy agendas. The fact that Egypt and Saudi Arabia criticized Hizballah's actions demonstrates that Arab states understand how anti-state precepts threaten their stability.
    • The goals of the muqawama doctrine are not achieved through the defense of a single, national territory, but rather through a continual wearing down of the enemy morally, physically, and psychologically.

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