Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
EU Monitors to Stay Away from Gaza-Egypt Border Crossing - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
French Troops in Lebanon on the Alert - Arnaud de La Grange (Le Figaro-France)
The Dismantling of Resolution 1701 - Michael Young (Daily Star-Lebanon)
Israel Sends Firefighting Aid to Cyprus (Jerusalem Post)
The Fall of the House of Yasser - Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Quartet of international mediators - the U.S., UN, EU, and Russia - named Tony Blair as their Middle East envoy on Wednesday, handing the outgoing British prime minister a daunting new challenge. (Reuters)
See also Blair Will Tackle Economics, Not Peace Efforts - Helene Cooper
In his new role as envoy to the Middle East, Blair will be charged with shoring up Palestinian institutions, but not with trying to nail down a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians because Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, is handling that job herself, administration officials said Wednesday.
Administration officials defined Blair's mandate as mobilizing international assistance to Mahmoud Abbas, securing financing for Palestinian institutions and governing tasks, and hashing out plans to promote Palestinian economic development. A senior Bush administration official maintained that Blair did not press American officials to allow him to take on the final status issues. Abbas welcomed the Blair appointment, while the Hamas leadership in Gaza rejected it, saying Blair had always sided with Israel and the U.S. (New York Times)
Tariq Hasan, a columnist for the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, wrote on June 23: "In Egypt there are those who are trying to reproduce what Hamas did in Gaza....In light of this severe threat...we must learn the lessons without delay."
The editor of Al-Gomhouriya, Muhammad 'Ali Ibrahim, wrote on the same day: "It is possible that Hamas will receive orders from Iran and will carry them out, and then it will drag the region into a destructive total war. It is also possible that Tehran will convince the Hamas leaders to repeat Hizbullah's experience....All that Hamas is capable of doing is to be crack troops of suicide. Unfortunately, however, they are not committing suicide alone. They are forcing the entire people to commit suicide, and I fear that this is the same tactic and path that the Brotherhood in Egypt is taking." (MEMRI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
At least five Israel Defense Forces troops were wounded Thursday in clashes with Palestinian militants during an arrest operation in the West Bank city of Nablus. Soldiers entered Nablus' Old City and a local refugee camp a little after midnight to search for wanted militants, weapons and ammunition.
At least 12 Palestinians were killed and two IDF soldiers wounded Wednesday in two separate IDF operations in Gaza. At least 10 of the Palestinians killed were militants. Roughly 40 Palestinians were wounded in the fighting, the heaviest between the IDF and Palestinians inside Gaza in months. (Ha'aretz)
See also Pushing Hamas Back - Ron Ben-Yishai
In recent days, the IDF Southern Command has noticed that Hamas fighters in Gaza are operating closer to the security fence and border crossings. The primary objective of IDF raids in Gaza on Wednesday was to push back Hamas fighters and the armed groups that joined them away from the border fence. After the bitter experience with Hizbullah's deployment along the border fence in southern Lebanon, Israel decided to thwart a similar process in Gaza. Therefore, the IDF is creating a "buffer zone" that is roughly 1,500 meters deep to prevent Hamas from digging tunnels in close proximity to Israeli communities, border crossings, and IDF troops. (Ynet News)
"Immediately after last summer's war Hizbullah began refortifying its positions and working on new ones," said Judith Palmer Harik, author of the book Hizbullah: The Changing Face of Terrorism. "They are rearming....In fact, there has been no interruption in their receiving of more arms," she said. A Western military observer in Beirut said, "Hizbullah has far stronger positions in the rear, north of the Litani river, that no one knows about and that they are fortifying all the time." Even in the border zone, patrolled by blue-helmeted international peacekeepers and the Lebanese Army, Hizbullah is busy preparing for the next round of hostilities. The militants are so accepted by villagers in the area that no outsider gets to know what is really going on there. (AFP/Daily Star-Lebanon)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Many of the British academics who have been pushing the boycott of Israel are not advocates of the two-state solution, but of a one-state dissolution of Israel, with the resulting state being controlled by Hamas. If these union activists cared about the actual plight of the Palestinians, they would be supporting the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to make peace with Israel based on mutual compromise, rather than Hamas in its futile efforts to destroy Israel as well as the PA.
As soon as the academic boycott against Israel was reported, I helped draft a simple petition in which signatories agreed to regard themselves as honorary Israeli academics for purposes of any boycott and "decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded." We have secured nearly 6,000 signatures, including those of 20 Nobel Prize winners, 14 university presidents as well as several heads of academic and professional societies. The British boycott appears to be backfiring. British academics are on notice that if they try to isolate Israeli academics, it is they - the British academics - who will end up being isolated from some of the world's most prominent academics and scientists. (Wall Street Journal, 28Jun07)
There is a growing consensus in all the camps and across the political spectrum in Israel that a withdrawal from the West Bank is no longer possible. President-elect Shimon Peres wrote last week in Yediot Ahronot: "It is unclear when we will pull out entirely from the territories....Even if we are ready to pull out, we have no one to hand them over to at this stage, because of the Palestinian inability to establish a single army, and a single state that will assert their control over the territories." In the current public discourse, any talk of withdrawing from the territories is perceived as a dangerous illusion.
The reason is obvious: Israel does not want Kassam rockets on Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ben-Gurion International Airport. Most Israelis assume, in view of the experience from Lebanon and Gaza, that any territory that will be evacuated will become a launching pad for rocket attacks against Israel. (Ha'aretz)
In Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council - established a year ago in an attempt to reform the UN Human Rights Commission - listened to reports by special envoys condemning the governments of Cuba and Belarus and then abolished the jobs of both. While ending the scrutiny of those dictatorships, the council chose to establish one permanent and special agenda item: the "human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories." In other words, Israel, alone among the nations of the world, will be subjected to continual and open-ended examination. In the council's first year, eleven resolutions were directed at the Jewish state. None criticized any other government. Is there a point at which a vicious and unfounded campaign to delegitimize one country - which happens to be populated mostly by Jews - makes it unconscionable to collaborate with the body that conducts it? (Washington Post)
Hamas is high on victory in Gaza for now, but all it has accomplished is to further concentrate its nexus of terror into one small miserable - and quite vulnerable - locale in the midst of Jordan, Israel, and Egypt, while sacrificing the Palestinians' greatest advantage: deniability of culpability. It will be harder now for the tired good cop/bad cop excuses, "militant wing," etc. and all the other justifications for terror that the Palestinians use. Since Hamas bragged that it had routed the Palestinian Authority from Gaza, the next barrage of rocket attacks from there, rightly or wrongly, will liberate Israel in its response from the past worries of collateral damage.
For all the talk of losing the Lebanon War, it is Iran and Syria, not Israel, that are stuck with billions in reconstruction costs for their battered Shiite pawns on the front lines. (National Review)
Hamas, Fatah, and the New Palestinian Reality - Tom Rose (Weekly Standard)
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