Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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February 13, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Hamas: We Will Not Recognize Israel or Stop Violence - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
    Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri reiterated Monday that the new Hamas-led coalition government will neither recognize Israel nor stop terror.
    Hamas interprets the Mecca agreement to mean that the Arab and Islamic worlds have accepted them as they are.
    "Hamas received national legitimization through the gathering of masses around it and around the option of resistance [i.e., terror] and received legislative legitimization through its victory in the Legislative Council elections."
    "It now received Arab and Islamic legitimization and will receive international legitimization."

Egyptian MP: Nothing Will Work with Israel Except Nuclear Bomb (AP/Ha'aretz)
    "That cursed Israel is trying to destroy al-Aqsa mosque," Mohammed el-Katatny of President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party told a heated Egyptian parliament session on Monday.
    "Nothing will work with Israel except for a nuclear bomb that wipes it out of existence," he said.

U.S. Offers $5 Million Reward for Hizbullah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Terrorists (Fox News)
    The FBI is offering $5 million in reward money for two of the biggest fish in international terrorism.
    Hizbullah operative Mohammed Ali Hamadei, 42, believed to be hiding in Lebanon, is wanted for the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, during which U.S. sailor Robert Stethem was executed.
    Hamadei was released from a German prison in 2005, despite protests by the U.S. government.
    Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah, 49, founder of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, is believed to be living in Damascus.
    FBI officials said Shallah directly planned and carried out numerous bombings, murders, extortions and racketeering crimes.
    Since its inception in 1984, the FBI says its "Rewards for Justice" program has paid $62 million to more than 40 people for credible information that has brought terrorists to justice or prevented acts of international terrorism.

Palestinian Gunmen Kill Alleged Collaborator with Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    A Palestinian man who allegedly foiled a suicide attack inside Israel was killed in Ramallah on Monday by gunmen belonging to Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • EU Not Ready to Resume Aid to Palestinian Government
    The EU is not yet ready to resume aid to the Palestinian government despite the unity accord signed last week in Mecca, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner has said, ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels. Israel praised the EU's reaffirmed commitment to upholding the economic boycott that has been imposed on the Palestinian government since the rise to power of the Islamist movement Hamas last March. "I think we all agree we are not there yet," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev. "It is incumbent upon an incoming Palestinian government to accept all three of the benchmarks articulated by the quartet." (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Europeans Agree to Widen Economic Sanctions Against Iran - Steven R. Weisman
    European negotiators, yielding to U.S. pressure, have agreed to widen a ban on financial transactions with Iran and the export of materials and technology that Iran could use to develop nuclear weapons. The Security Council resolution of Dec. 23 listed a dozen individuals and several Iranian corporations as effectively off-limits to transactions with European banks and European companies. A new draft resolution would seek to freeze funds of those entities and also of others that might later be designated as engaging in "sensitive" nuclear or weapons activities. The draft also calls for a ban on visas for individuals identified as involved in Iran's nuclear programs. (New York Times)
  • Lebanon Bus Blasts Kill 11, Wound 20 - Yara Bayoumy
    Eleven people were killed and about 20 wounded in two bomb blasts that wrecked minibuses near the Christian town of Bikfaya north of Beirut on Tuesday. Bikfaya is the home town of former President Amin Gemayel, whose son Pierre was assassinated by gunmen in November. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Ruins Discovered at Mughrabi Gate Site - Yaniv Salama-Scheer
    Archeologists working near the Mughrabi Gate to the Temple Mount have already uncovered finds from the medieval period and early Islamic era that shed new light on Jerusalem's history. "We have dug three meters down and discovered massive walls which we believe are from the early Islamic Umayyad period," Jerusalem's chief archeologist Yuval Baruch said. "We have found evidence which suggests that right under the Umayyad ruins are Byzantine ruins, and under these, we believe there are Herodian roads and other ruins from the Second Temple period." (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Foils Bombing at Gaza Border - Hanan Greenberg
    IDF soldiers spotted two gunmen attempting to plant an explosive device at the Gaza border fence near the Karni crossing on Tuesday. During an exchange of fire the device exploded, killing one of the gunmen. Kalashnikov rifles were also found in the area. The gunmen belonged to the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military wing. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Slander Corrupts Human Rights - Haviv Rettig
    Human rights are misused by anti-Semitic anti-Israel campaigns that mask their efforts to dismember the only Jewish state through sophisticated and insidious use of the language of human rights, former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler told the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem on Monday. "Israel is delegitimized, if not demonized, by the ascription to it of the two most scurrilous indictments of twentieth-century racism, Nazism and apartheid, the embodiment of all evil." This has the effect of turning an anti-Semitic indictment calling for Israel's dismantlement into a moral imperative; and to seek to give it the imprimatur of the UN and international law. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Mecca Accord (Part I): The Victory of Unity over Progress - Robert Satloff
    With Mahmoud Abbas compromising on almost every critical issue to reach accord with the leadership of Hamas, the Mecca agreement blurs the distinction between moderate and extremist in the Palestinian camp. Abbas' decision to reach an accord with Hamas rather than face Hamas in an electoral showdown comes at a moment when both the U.S. and Israel are pursuing risky political moves to revive the dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process and strengthen Abbas' position vis-a-vis Hamas.
        Defining a "political horizon" for Palestinians could only be made possible by a generous Israeli interpretation of the terms of the Roadmap to allow for negotiations over the shape of a permanent status agreement (the third phase of the Roadmap) before an effort had even been made to dismantle terrorist infrastructure (the first phase of the Roadmap). The writer is executive director of the Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
        See also The Mecca Accord (Part II): Implications for Arabs, Israel, and U.S. Policy - Robert Satloff
    Hamas received a huge political boost in the form of an embrace by both Abbas and the Saudi leadership. The strengthening of Hamas can only embolden Jordan's own "Hamas-wing" of the Islamic Action Front inside the Hashemite kingdom. While the U.S. welcomes Sunni Arab cooperation to counter rising Iranian influence, it cannot countenance the legitimization of an unreformed extremist organization like Hamas. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Arabs Betray America - Nahum Barnea
    In the Mecca agreement between Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, the American administration was betrayed three times: by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, by Saudi King Abdullah, and by Abbas. These three American allies ignored Condoleezza Rice's pleas and negotiated with Khaled Mashaal. Rice has been investing much effort in a bid to strengthen Abbas. On Feb. 19th, there is to be a summit under her auspices where Ehud Olmert and Abbas would take a first step towards commencing talks between the two sides. The agreement signed in Mecca has emptied the summit of content. Abbas preferred temporary calm with Hamas over a long-term agreement with the Americans. (Ynet News)
  • Political Horizon: Enticing and Elusive - David Makovsky
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is heading for the Middle East next week to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a new effort to provide what she has called a "political horizon," but her chances for success must be considered slim. For the Israelis, the political-horizon idea avoids "salami tactics" whereby Israel gives up territory and other concessions without much in return. (International Herald Tribune)
  • Peace in Palestinians' Hands - Frida Ghitis
    For Palestinians, the fundamental, crucial question about the future is simple: Do they or don't they accept the right of Israel to exist? So far, the answer remains No. In the deal between Hamas and Fatah, Hamas is clear on one point: It will not accept Israel's right to exist. What remains to be seen is whether diplomatic gymnastics will give European countries the cover to ease sanctions. The reality remains that if Palestinians want a normal country, they will have to answer just one crucial question - in the affirmative.
        We know where Hamas stands. But there are indications that the ''moderate'' Fatah does not truly accept Israel either, even if the suit-and-tie Abbas pushes to make the radical Hamas more palatable to the West. (Miami Herald)
  • Observations:

    Mobilize Now, Save the World - Natan Sharansky (Jerusalem Post)

    • Anti-Semitism has taken a quantum leap from isolated attacks against Jews to incitement to genocide - the actual elimination of the Jewish state.
    • On one side, we have the Iranian regime, which is denying the Holocaust and calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" while racing to develop the physical means of doing so. On the other side, we have what is, in effect, international silence in response, coupled with growing willingness to discuss Israel's existence as a mistake, an anachronism, or a provocation.
    • The idea of a world without Israel is more acceptable in polite company, the media, and academia today than Hitler's expressed goal of a Europe without Jews was in 1939.
    • The Jewish world now must mobilize at a level no less than during the struggles to establish the State of Israel and to free Soviet Jewry. Two decades after the massive Soviet Jewry rally of 1987, we need to return to the Mall in Washington on Israel's Independence Day in May with two messages: Support Israel and Stop Iran.
    • An Iranian-led wave of terror is rising that will not stop until it is stopped. We stood up for Soviet Jewry and left the world a much better place for it. Now we must do the same to prevent a second holocaust, and in the process save the world.

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