Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hizballah's Missiles Back in Lebanon - Uzi Mahnaimi (Sunday Times-UK)
Israel Campus Beat
- November 12, 2006
Should Israel Seek an Interim Agreement with the Palestinians?
Al-Qaeda Vows to Blow Up White House, Occupy Jerusalem - Christopher Bodeen (AP/Denver Post)
Rice: Syria Is a Dangerous Country - Ben Caspit (Maariv-Hebrew, 12Nov06)
UN All Present with Little Effect in Lebanon - Michael Hirst (Telegraph-UK)
Iran in Tit-for-Tat Call for Arrest of Argentine Judge (AFP/Yahoo)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution on Saturday that condemned Israel for its military actions in Gaza. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told the Council that the resolution "does not display an even-handed characterization of the recent events in Gaza, nor does it advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace." In the vote, 4 countries abstained - Britain, Denmark, Japan, and Slovakia - and 10 were in favor - Argentina, China, Congo, France, Ghana, Greece, Peru, Russia, Qatar, and Tanzania. The U.S. traditionally opposes what it considers one-sided Security Council resolutions on Israel. (New York Times)
Israeli officials say they fear that the Gaza Strip could become another southern Lebanon. A senior military official recently described "Lebanonization" - the possibility that Palestinian militants could end up as well-organized, well-fortified, and well-armed as the Lebanese group Hizballah - as the most worrying new threat Israel faces in Gaza. Hamas, he said, began smuggling in more-advanced weapons and Iranian know-how through a growing network of tunnels under the Egyptian border. (Boston Globe)
Q: After the war in Lebanon, you said the "convergence" plan was on hold.
Olmert: After the war, and the failure of the Palestinians to cope with continued terrorist actions, I had second thoughts about my ability to accomplish the two-state solution through realignment. One thing I can promise: under no circumstances am I going to withdraw from the need to engage in a serious dialogue with the Palestinians.
Q: How do you see the threat posed by Iran?
Olmert: President Ahmadinejad is a man who is ready to commit crimes against humanity, and he has to be stopped. (Newsweek)
See also Iran Warns on Israel Destruction
Iranian President Ahmadinejad said Sunday that Israel was doomed "to destruction" and would soon disappear, in his latest verbal attack on the Jewish state, Iranian news agencies reported. (Telegraph-Australia)
See also Olmert Arrives in U.S. for Talks with Bush, Rice - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
Five pro-Syrian Shi'ite Muslim ministers from Hizballah and its ally, the Amal movement, resigned from Lebanon's cabinet on Saturday after the collapse of talks on giving their camp more say in government. The pro-Syrian party has threatened mass demonstrations demanding new parliamentary elections unless more of its allies are admitted to the cabinet by mid-November. The majority coalition is willing to bring in Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun, a Hizballah ally, but not to surrender one-third of seats to the opposition. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Four Palestinian organizations threatened Sunday to launch attacks on U.S. targets in response to what they said was America's support of "Israeli crimes." They called on "all the mujahadeen in the Islamic nation to mercilessly strike the Americans." The U.S. veto in the Security Council, according to the groups, "renders America a legitimate target just as Israel is." The statement was signed by the Popular Resistance Committees, the Al-Aqsa Brigades (Fatah's armed wing), the Fatah-affiliated Abu Rish Brigades, and the Islamic Tawahid Brigades. Spokesman for the Resistance Committees Mahmoud Abd-el Aal told Ynet that the Palestinian organizations will hunt the Americans down anywhere in the world, inside the territories and outside them. (Ynet News)
Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar told al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper on Sunday that his group will never "repeat Fatah's mistake of recognizing Israel." He added that Hamas rejects the UN partition of November 1947 as well as Resolution 242. He also confirmed that Iran financially supports the Hamas government: "We use the money to pay employees." (Ynet News)
Those who imposed the economic and diplomatic siege on the Hamas-led PA - Israel and the United States, and most of the nations in the world, including Arab nations - can congratulate themselves on their success. The Hamas government is being forced to resign. Will a Palestinian unity government be established, leading to a calming of the situation in Gaza? That's not a certainty. There remains the deal to release prisoners in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Without a solution on this issue, there is no new Palestinian government. What will be the fate of about 360 veteran Palestinian prisoners who have been in Israeli prisons since before the Oslo Accords, most of whom have what is called "blood on their hands"? (Ha'aretz)
See also Olmert in U.S.: Barghouti's Release Not on Agenda - Ronny Sofer
Talking to reporters on his way to Washington and referring to the negotiations for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Olmert made it clear that the release of Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti [who is serving five life sentences for attacks which left five people dead] was not on the agenda. (Ynet News)
Palestinian gunmen in northern Gaza fired a Kassam rocket Sunday night that struck a residential area in Sderot, causing damage to several buildings. Two other rockets were launched at the town Monday morning. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The results of earlier failed efforts to work with Abbas are on vivid display right now in Gaza - where Israel withdrew its civilians and soldiers well over a year ago in the hope that the PA chairman would fight terrorism and manage a transition to an independent Palestinian state. But Abbas refused to fight terror, and the thuggishness and corruption that has long characterized his Fatah organization led to the victory of Hamas at the polls in January.
Terrorist gangs, some affiliated with Abbas' Fatah organization, others with Hamas, have turned Gaza into an updated version of Afghanistan under the Taliban. Today, a who's who of terrorists roam the streets of Gaza, stockpiling arms and staging shootouts with one another. They burrow into refugee camps and densely populated areas like Beit Hanoun, from where they fire rockets into neighboring Israeli towns like Ashkelon and Sderot - making it impossible for Israeli civilians to live normal lives. Make no mistake about it: The terrorists using Palestinian civilians as human shields bear the ultimate responsibility for last week's tragedy at Beit Hanoun.
We commend the Bush administration for its decision Saturday to veto a badly flawed UN Security Council resolution that equated defensive Israeli military operations with the firing of rockets at Israeli civilians. But aside from its willingness to use the veto power, the Bush administration seems focused on pressuring Olmert into propping up Abbas, who does not merit such support. Washington does Olmert no favors by pressing him for more dubious giveaways to Abbas. (Washington Times)
When George W. Bush and Ehud Olmert sit down together at the White House for the first time in six months on Monday, both will have to face the reality that Iran is winning - not just in preserving its nuclear program but in a broader contest over the direction of the Middle East. Iran and its ally Syria are everywhere on the offensive. They are on the verge of reversing Lebanon's popular Cedar Revolution and handing political control over the country to Hizballah. They are blocking attempts by Palestinian moderates to form a new government in Gaza that could rebuild relations with Israel and the West. Their allies are smuggling more weapons, building more bunkers, and preparing for the next round of what they call "resistance" - a permanent war against Israel that they would use to transform the region. (Washington Post)
Moderate Arab Countries Know They Are Iran's Next Target After Israel
Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said in an interview Friday:
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