Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 25, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Working to Sabotage Iran Nuke Program - Sheila MacVicar and Ashley Velie (CBS News)
    Iran is continuing to make progress on its expanded efforts to enrich uranium - in spite of covert efforts by U.S. and other allied intelligence agencies to actively sabotage the country's nuclear program.
    "Industrial sabotage is a way to stop the program, without military action, without fingerprints on the operation, and really, it is ideal, if it works," says Mark Fitzpatrick, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation and now Senior Fellow in Non-Proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
    Sources said the intelligence operatives involved include former Russian nuclear scientists and Iranians living abroad.
    Operatives have sold Iran components with flaws that are difficult to detect, making them unstable or unusable.
    Senior government representatives pointed to the case of the exploding power supplies. Installed at the pilot enrichment facility at Natanz in April 2006, the power supplies blew up, destroying 50 centrifuges.
    The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency, Vice-President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, said in January that the equipment had been "manipulated."

Israelis Don't Want Gaza to Be Their Next Lebanon - Steven Erlanger (New York Times)
    Hamas militants in Gaza seem to have taken a lesson from last summer's war in Lebanon on how to use rockets against Israeli civilians.
    There are significant voices inside the Israeli security establishment who warn that, rockets aside, Hamas is organizing a buildup of weapons, reinforced tunnels and explosive materiel in Gaza that resembles Hizbullah's efforts in southern Lebanon in recent years.
    Sooner or later, they argue, Israel will have to confront Hamas in a serious way inside Gaza, especially since Fatah is failing to do so.
    But with the Palestinian unity government of Hamas and Fatah in tatters after fierce factional infighting, there is no obvious Palestinian address for Israel to apply pressure.
    Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, to whom the Israelis and Americans speak, appears weaker after the infighting.

Ahmadinejad and the Petrol Paradox - Michael Theodoulou (Times-UK)
    OPEC's second biggest oil exporter is venturing into the controversial territory of petrol rationing.
    Petrol consumption in Iran far outstrips the capacity of Iranian refineries, forcing Iran to import billions of dollars worth of petrol at international prices.
    It is then sold to the motorist at prices so heavily subsidized that a liter of fuel is cheaper than a liter of mineral water.
    This has encouraged wastefulness and smuggling abroad - and has placed a huge burden on the national budget.
    Under the rationing scheme, prices are due to rise to about 11 U.S. cents a liter.
    "When you pursue a confrontational foreign policy, not only do you not have foreign investment but you have capital flight: the average Iranian businessman is more apt to put his money in Dubai or Turkey," said Karim Sadjadpour, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
    "In terms of undermining the Iranian economy, the U.S. feels that Ahmadinejad is their great ally."

UN: Internal Violence Killed 55 Palestinians, Injured 243 Last Week (Maan News-PA)
    According to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued on Tuesday, 55 Palestinians have been killed and 243 injured during the last week as a result of internal violence.
    Since the beginning of 2007, more than 150 Palestinians have been killed as a result of factional violence and over 750 injured, OCHA reports.
    OCHA says that Palestinian militant groups have fired 173 Kassam rockets towards Israel in the last week.

Smug in Damascus - Nibras Kazimi (New York Sun)
    It's been seven years since Bashar al-Asad took over the helm in place of his deceased father, Hafez al-Asad, who had ruled for three decades after leading a coup d'etat in 1970.
    A referendum later this month is to pave the way for another seven-year term. In his first referendum in 2000, the younger Asad received 97.2% of the "yes" vote.
    Damascus is being spruced up with a new advertising blitz: a Syrian flag is superimposed on a thumb print, with a Syrian accented Arabic word printed underneath, "minhibek," meaning "we love you."
    This will ostensibly be the message the Syrian people will send to their leader, Bashar, on referendum day.
    With the referendum, the regime's all-important message of "we can do whatever we want and you can't do anything about it" will be implicit and understood by all, yet again.

Storm-Watching in Jordan - Richard Cohen (Washington Post)
    The implication of a U.S. withdrawal/defeat would not be lost on any of the region's many extremist groups - Hamas in Gaza; Hizbullah in Lebanon; al-Qaeda all over the place; and Iran behind the curtain, the puppet master of much regional terrorism.
    A withdrawal would empower, enthuse and just plain excite these groups.
    If America can be defeated in Iraq, then why not Jordan in Jordan or Egypt in Egypt - to name just two pro-American regimes in this neck of the woods - followed, of course, by the final battle with Israel?

Israel Sends Kassam Rockets to Europe - Lilach Shoval (Ynet News)
    Israel's Foreign Ministry sent Kassam rockets to Israeli embassies in Paris, London and the European Union headquarters in Brussels on Thursday.
    The ambassadors have been instructed to bring the rockets along to their meetings, in order to explain Israel's security challenges to the world.

Israeli Agricultural Expertise Aids Tibetan Refugees - Stephanie Freid (Israel21c/IsraAid)
    50 Tibetans have come to Israel for a year to learn agricultural techniques from Israeli farmers.
    They will then return to their homes-in-exile in India and pass along the information to fellow Tibetan community members.
    The group came to Israel under the tutelage of Israel's Forum for International Humanitarian Aid (IsraAid).

Israel Launches Humanitarian Mission in Vietnam (Xinhua-China)
    Israel recently launched an operation to provide medical care and financial aid to the poorer populations in the remote Vietnamese jungles.
    Last week, a group of 54 doctors and nurses left for the mountainous Vietnamese jungles near the Laotian border to treat the sick. Five of the doctors and a few of the nurses were Israelis, with the remainder from other parts of the world.
    The medical team traveled in vehicles carrying the sign "Israel-Vietnam Humanitarian Mission."
    They set up medical camps and treated some 2,500 Vietnamese children who had never seen a doctor before.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • UN Official: Iran Bomb Possible by 2010 - Bob Drogin
    The head of the UN nuclear inspection agency warned for the first time Thursday that Iran probably can enrich enough uranium to build a nuclear bomb in three to eight years. Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, gave his assessment a day after a strongly worded IAEA report cautioned that Tehran had reduced its cooperation with UN inspectors while sharply accelerating its uranium enrichment efforts. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also U.S. Urges New Sanctions as Iran Stands Firm on Nuclear Policy - Karen DeYoung
    President Bush said Thursday that the administration will press the UN to adopt new, expanded sanctions against Iran, as Iranian President Ahmadinejad said Tehran would "never retreat even one step" from its nuclear enrichment program. In a news conference, Bush said he would discuss additional sanctions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao. "The first thing these leaders have got to understand is that an Iran with a nuclear weapon would be incredibly destabilizing for the world," Bush said. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called Thursday for swift adoption of new sanctions. Kouchner said Iran now had more than 2,000 centrifuges in operation at its underground facility near Natanz. (Washington Post)
        See also Iranian Leader Warns Israel It May Be "Uprooted"
    Iran's President Ahmadinejad on Thursday warned Israel it would be "uprooted" if it made any move against Lebanon in the coming summer. Israeli officials have denied plans for such a conflict. Speaking live on state television, Ahmadinejad said: "If this year you repeat the same mistake of the last year, the ocean of nations of the region will get angry and will cut the root of the Zionist regime from its stem."
        Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Ahmadinejad's comments reflected the Iranian leadership's support for the "most extreme elements in Lebanon and in the Palestinian Authority." "Ahmadinejad funds, trains and arms the most extreme anti-peace elements in the region. If there is any real threat to regional security, it comes from an expansionist fundamentalist Iran," Regev said. (AP/MSNBC)
  • Military Aid Arrives in Lebanon
    Military aid began arriving in Lebanon Friday after the U.S. said it will rush supplies to the Lebanese army fighting al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic militants barricaded inside a Palestinian refugee camp in the country's north. Meanwhile, sporadic gunfire exchanges Friday punctured the lull in the fighting as the Lebanese army continued to build up around the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp near Tripoli. The move appeared to be either a preparation to storm the encampment with hundreds of Fatah Islam militants holed up inside, or a tightening of the siege to force the militants to surrender. Thousands of Palestinian refugees are also trapped inside. (AP/CNN)
        See also Gaza-Based Group Vows to Help Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon
    A Gaza-based Palestinian militant group that follows al-Qaeda ideology has said it was willing to help terrorists from Fatah al-Islam holed up in the northern Lebanese refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared. "We swear...that Fatah al-Islam and its Muslim brothers in Lebanon are not orphans. There are those Muslims in the East and West who will help them to victory," the Army of Islam said in a statement released on Thursday. The group, which said it was behind the kidnapping of BBC journalist Alan Johnston in Gaza City on March 12, issued the plea on a website often used by Islamic militants. (Naharnet-Lebanon)
  • UN to Monitor Arms Movements Across Syria-Lebanon Border
    The UN said Thursday it would send a team to Lebanon early next week to check on reported arms smuggling across the border with neighboring Syria. UN chief Ban Ki-moon informed the Security Council of the impending mission which was requested by the Council last month. UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe said Thursday the UN team would assess Lebanon's ability to check on arms movements across its border. The UN team, which is to spend roughly two weeks in Lebanon, will be led by Lasse Rosenkrands of Denmark and will be made up of experts from Algeria, Germany, Jamaica and Switzerland. (AFP-France)
  • Hamas Denounces British Plan to Pump Offshore Gas to Israel - Sonia Verma and Steve Hawkes
    Hamas has vowed to block a potential £2 billion deal being brokered by the BG Group to supply Palestinian gas to Israel. Ziad Thatha, the Hamas economic minister in the Palestinian government, denounced the sale of "Palestinian gas to the Zionist occupation." The comments threaten to overshadow key negotiations BG Group hoped would lead to the development of the Gaza Marine gas field it discovered seven years ago. Talks over a 15-year contract are due to begin next week and the Israeli Foreign Ministry said it was keen to conclude a deal "as soon as possible." The Gaza Marine field is Palestine's only sovereign natural resource and its development could generate £500 million for the Palestinian economy in royalties from BG Group. (Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hamas Threatens to Increase Attacks; Israel to Indict Arrested Hamas Officials - Khaled Abu Toameh and Yaakov Katz
    Hamas threatened on Thursday to escalate its attacks against Israel in response to the arrest of dozens of its representatives in the West Bank by the IDF. Hamas also rejected an appeal by Mahmoud Abbas to stop firing Kassam rockets at Israel.
        According to Israeli security officials, the arrests were intended to put additional pressure on Hamas and send a clear message that Israel would target all of the movement's officials until the Kassam rocket attacks on southern Israel ceased. Security officials said that the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) planned to file indictments against the arrested Hamas officials, who, they said, were involved in funding terror activity and transferring terror know-how from Gaza to the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Fire At Least Five Rockets at Israel on Friday - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians fired at least five Kassam rockets at Israel on Friday morning which landed near Sderot and south of Ashkelon. (Ynet News)
        See also Palestinian Rockets Destroy Negev Kibbutzim's Crops - Shmulik Hadad
    At kibbutzim in the western Negev, dozens of acres of wheat went up in flames in the past week, just when it was time to begin the harvest. Palestinian rockets have been raining on the area and setting the fields on fire, causing substantial damage. The kibbutzim are now making efforts to salvage the remaining crops. (Ynet News)
  • A Dialogue of Kassam Rockets and Air Strikes - Aluf Benn
    The two security cabinet meetings Prime Minister Olmert held on the situation in Gaza, and the security consultations he convened, indicated that he is not eager for escalation. He is trying to exert controlled pressure on Hamas which is meant to lead to a reduction in the firing of Kassam rockets. A security cabinet member speaks of "graded escalation": deploying forces in the northern Gaza Strip to distance the rocket threat; declaring a broad section along the fence as a killing zone, in which movement of Palestinian vehicles will be forbidden; and stepping up the pressure on Beit Hanun, in Gaza's northeast corner. "And we haven't yet said anything about the water and the electricity in Gaza," the cabinet minister notes. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Pinpoint Accuracy Is Key to Israel Air Force's Gaza Strikes - Yaakov Katz
    Since the IDF began its operation in Gaza last week - aimed at stopping Palestinian rocket attacks on Sderot - it has been generally successful in keeping its strikes precise and on target. Cars carrying terrorists were bombed in the middle of streets and buildings housing weapons warehouses and factories were leveled. An international outcry - usually quick to come - was nowhere to be heard. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Dodging Palestinian Rocket Fire in Sderot - Amir Mizroch
    The trick is to know, at all times, where you are relative to Gaza, where the rockets come from, says Sderot Fire Chief David Sheetrit. If you're facing north, Gaza is on your left, and you need to hug the eastern side of a building, to keep the structure between you and the rockets. If you get this calculation wrong, you are exposing yourself to a direct hit. Sderot is turning into a city that never sleeps. Fear is everywhere.
        When you're driving and the siren sounds, get out of the vehicle and run to the nearest shelter or wall. If there is no building, lie down on the road and cover your head. Just don't stay in your car. The main reason is that rocket shrapnel - and every Kassam rocket has ball bearings or bolts in its warhead - can tear through your gas tank and blow up your car. Remember to always have your window slightly open, so that you can hear the Color Red alert and the Kassam shriek. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • If That's How They Act in Gaza - Ze'ev Schiff
    The armed Palestinian organizations in Gaza are demonstrating once again what has become a norm among the Palestinians - that the agreements to which their leaders commit have no value. In this latest round of internal Palestinian violence, the warring parties have already decided on a cease-fire five times. Each time, within hours, they were back to killing each other and injuring bystanders in the process. If this is how they behave among themselves, why should they be any more scrupulous in abiding by agreements with outside elements such as Israel, Jordan, Lebanon or Egypt? This is an important lesson that Israel must learn from the recent events in Gaza.
        Israel has no choice but to continue to seek agreements with the Palestinians, but it also must insist on maintaining broader margins of security. For example, by making every effort in the current situation to isolate the West Bank from Gaza and prevent Hamas from gaining the upper hand in the West Bank. For this reason, most of the security-related sections in the proposal by the American general Keith Dayton must be rejected.
        Granted, the Egyptians have improved their efforts to take action against the terrorists in Sinai, but if you compare Egyptian activity with the Jordanians' efforts, the Egyptians receive a low mark. The Egyptians are turning a blind eye to Hamas' smuggling of large amounts of money, mostly from Iran, into Gaza for the establishment of a Hamas army. The sense in Israel is that Egypt is playing a two-faced game in the war on terror. (Ha'aretz)
  • A Short History of the Palestinian Refugees - Marty Peretz
    In the midst of heavy fighting 60 years ago, many Palestinians found themselves in the great and neighborly Arab homeland of what they called "the one Arab nation." A crossing of maybe 25 miles into an abutting province where people speak the same tongue, practice the same religion and purport to be of one ethnic seed is not truly an exile.
        It is a fact that the Palestinians were not over time truly made welcome. This shows something of the sham of the fraternity of their Arab brothers. But the Palestinians - many thinking themselves South Syrians, others Jordanians, and still others in some way Egyptians - were not exactly thankful guests. In Iraq, they aligned themselves with the tyrant. In Jordan, they stirred up a revolution that brought "Black September" on their heads. In Kuwait, they cheered when Saddam invaded. In southern Lebanon they set up a brutal mini-state run by Yassir Arafat and his minions that over-lorded their hosts. The Saudis were canny: they did not allow them in in the first place. (New Republic)
  • Prisoner of Her Desires - Reuel Marc Gerecht
    In the U.S. and Europe, there is a widespread belief that the Bush administration has failed to engage Iran diplomatically. Among the advisers to the Iraq Study Group, of which I was one, most believed that the Bush administration, not the mullahs' regime, was the most culpable party in foreclosing dialogue between Washington and Tehran after 9/11. Yet it ought to be clear that just the opposite is the case. The clerical regime today is no more interested in reaching a peaceful modus vivendi with the U.S. than it was in the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright all but begged President Mohammad Khatami of Iran to just talk to them.
        Case in point: Haleh Esfandiari, an American citizen and the director of the Middle Eastern program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, has been jailed in Tehran's notorious Evin prison since May 8. For years, she has been an articulate and determined advocate of better relations between her homeland, Iran, and her adopted country. By arresting her during a visit to her 93-year-old mother, the clerical regime sent a blatant message about the effectiveness of engagement. A 67-year-old woman who has over the years shown Iran's representatives in the U.S. and other visiting Iranians, including esteemed clerics, the utmost kindness and respect, is a perfect target to show the regime's distaste for Iranians who want to build bridges. The writer, a former CIA officer, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (New York Times)
  • How to End "Islamophobia" - Tawfik Hamid
    According to a recent Pew Global Attitudes survey, one out of every four American Muslims under 30 think suicide bombing in defense of Islam is justified. If, as the Pew study estimates, there are 2.35 million Muslims in America, that means there are a substantial number of people in the U.S. who think suicide bombing is justified. Similarly, if 5% of American Muslims support al-Qaeda, that's more than 100,000 people.
        To bring an end to Islamophobia, it is imperative to adopt new Islamic teachings that do not allow killing apostates. Islamic authorities must provide mainstream Islamic books that forbid polygamy and beating women. Muslims should teach, everywhere and universally, that a woman's testimony in court counts as much as a man's, that women should not be punished if they marry whom they please or dress as they wish. (Wall Street Journal)


  • Splinter Groups Rise in Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon - Scott Wilson
    The decline of traditional political institutions within Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon has allowed the rise of militant splinter groups such as Fatah al-Islam. The popularity of political Islam has risen in the camps over the past decade as the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians has fallen apart, experts said Monday. "These camps are no longer part of Palestinian society," said Bernard Rougier, author of Everyday Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam Among Palestinians in Lebanon and a professor at the University of Auvergne in France. "They are only spaces - now open to all of the influences running through the Muslim world." "Many consider Palestine a useless fight....By changing their own identities to one of a Sunni warrior, they also get money from Saudi Arabia and other private sources throughout the [Palestinian] diaspora. You are inventing a new figure of the fighter, and it is very exciting to young people," Rougier said. (Washington Post)
        See also Saving Lebanon's Liberal Future - Michael Young (Reason)
  • The Real Battle for Lebanon Will Take Place at the UN - David Schenker
    The movement of emissaries between Fatah Islam and Damascus is well-documented; the Arab world's newspaper of record, Al Hayat, even reports that much of Fatah Islam's leadership is made up of Syrian officers. The real battle for Lebanon will not take place in Beirut but in New York at the UN Security Council. Syria's strategy appears to be to kill the tribunal resolution via a Russian veto.
        The key to constraining counterproductive Syrian behavior and ensuring Lebanese sovereignty is seeing through the international tribunal, letting the chips fall where they may. Justice for Hariri is really justice for the Lebanese people and should not be traded as a card either to jump-start still hypothetical Israeli-Syrian peace talks or to rent Syrian assistance on Iraq. The writer is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. From 2002-06, he was the Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestinian affairs adviser in the office of the Secretary of Defense. (USA Today)
        See also Convene the Court - Editorial
    The regime of Bashar al-Assad is desperate to stop the creation of the UN tribunal and has made that objective the overriding goal of its foreign policy. Advocates of "engagement" with Syria tend to overlook this reality. The right response to this week's violence is for the Bush administration, France and Britain to step up their lobbying of the Security Council and schedule an early vote on the tribunal resolution. (Washington Post)

    Weekend Features

  • The War Against Israel - Melanie Phillips
    People assume Israel itself was an artificial creation resulting from Holocaust guilt, when a load of European Jews were transplanted into a land owned for millennia by Palestinian Arabs. That itself is false. Israel was the nation state of the Jews centuries before the Arabs took it by force, and an unbroken Jewish presence remained in Jerusalem and other cities, some of which, indeed, had a Jewish majority. It is not surprising that people with perfectly decent instincts are enraged by the continued "occupation" of the West Bank. But they have been led to believe something that is not true.
        For a start, Israel's occupation of this territory is perfectly legal and legitimate as an act of self-defense, after a war of aggression against it in 1967. But at a deeper level still, the idea that Israel had no locus in this territory until 1967 is simply false. This West Bank land was never owned by the Palestinians. Following the war of extermination waged by the Arabs against the fledgling Israel at its creation in 1948, Judea and Samaria - as they then were - were illegally occupied by Jordan, and became "the West Bank" as a result. Furthermore, and even more significant, Judea and Samaria were part of Mandatory Palestine, within which Britain was enjoined to re-establish a Jewish national home. Hebron, for example, is one of the four most sacred Jewish cities. Jews lived there continuously for some 38 centuries - Abraham settled there some 1800 years before Christ - until they were driven out by an Arab pogrom in 1929. To be told that Hebron is a place where Jews have no claim is therefore nauseating beyond belief.
        It is very important that people come to understand that Israel's core claim is one of justice, and the way this has been misrepresented is profoundly unjust. Indeed, it is monstrous. There are those who believe that the vilification of Israel is a prejudice which is not susceptible to reason. I beg to differ. Much of this madness is based on profound ignorance. Only when people are taught the truth will the big lie finally be nailed. (
  • The BBC Held Hostage in Gaza - Bret Stephens
    Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti described kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston as someone who "has done a lot for our cause" - not the sort of endorsement one imagines the BBC welcoming from an equivalent figure on the Israeli side. For years, the BBC had invariably covered Palestinian affairs within the context of Israel's occupation - the core truth from which all manifestations of conflict supposedly derived. Developments within Gaza following Israel's withdrawal showed the hollowness of that analysis. Domestic Palestinian politics, it turned out, were shot through with their own discontents, contradictions and divisions, not just between Hamas and Fatah but between scores of clans, gangs, factions and personalities.
        For now, one can only pray for Johnston's safe release. Later, the BBC might ask itself whether its own failures of prudence and judgment put its reporter's life in jeopardy. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Scrutinize Amnesty International - Gerald Steinberg
    The halo that surrounds Amnesty International reports and campaigns is beginning to fray, as the evidence of political bias and inaccuracy mounts. Recently, the Economist, published in Britain, noted that "an organization which devotes more pages in its annual report to human-rights abuses in Britain and America than those in Belarus and Saudi Arabia cannot expect to escape doubters' scrutiny." In 2006, Amnesty singled out Israel for condemnation of human rights to a far greater extent than Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, Egypt, and other chronic abusers of human rights.
        And while Amnesty International was founded to fight for the freedom of political prisoners, the officials in charge of this organization failed to issue a single statement calling for the release of the Israeli soldiers that were kidnapped by Hizbullah and Hamas, and who have not been heard from since their illegal capture. (New York Sun)
  • How the European Union's Attitude Toward Israel Evolved - Efraim Halevy interviewed by Manfred Gerstenfeld
    For a very long time Europeans' weakness has been that every so often someone else has to solve their problems. Frequently the United States has had to do so. As far as the Middle East conflict is concerned, the EU at best has been an irritant. For Europeans to appear as if they are a factor in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is much more important than playing a real role. From the period he was Israel's Ambassador to the EU, Halevy recalls that the EU channeled part of the funds for the Palestinian Authority semi-legally into Yasser Arafat's bank accounts. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Observations:

    Drastic Measures Needed to Curb Rocket Attacks on Sderot - Giora Eiland (Ynet News)

    • Prior to any discussion regarding our handling of the rocket fire from Gaza, three key assumptions should be made.
      1. The rocket fire cannot be halted by aerial operations only.
      2. Without changing the situation along the Gaza-Egypt border, Hamas will continue to boost its military force.
      3. The reality in Sderot is unbearable.
    • If the rocket fire cannot be stopped remotely from the air, how can it be stopped?
    • Option A: Capturing areas in the Gaza Strip, particularly the Philadelphi Route - while not sufficing with capturing the Route, which is too narrow to protect, and widening it. Israel would insist that it would withdraw its troops only if and when a satisfactory security arrangement is hammered out. Israel should reach an agreement on it with the U.S. prior to such an operation.
    • Option B: Israel announces that as far as it is concerned Gaza is a political entity (separate from the West Bank) which is ruled formally by Hamas. As this entity is in a state of war with Israel, Israel would have to take three measures:
      • Immediately close off border crossings between Israel and Gaza (as Gaza is open to Egypt, supplies to and from Gaza could be transferred through there).
      • Announce that in several months Israel would cease to supply water, electricity and fuel.
      • Since Gaza is an enemy state in a state of war with Israel, every governing institution in Gaza and the infrastructure serving the belligerent effort against us, including roads and bridges, should be targeted.
    • There is no choice but to take a political risk, to anger several players and to force them to take action as well.

      IDF Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland is former head of Israel's National Security Council.

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