Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Muslim "Charity Worker" Planned to Kidnap British Muslim Soldier and Behead Him - John F. Burns (New York Times)
Egypt's Hard Choices on the Gaza Border Debacle - Zvi Mazel (Jerusalem Post)
UN Envoy: Women in Gaza Feel Coerced to Cover Their Heads - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
Advanced Israeli Battlefield Management System for Netherlands Army (Defense News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Egyptian state-owned newspapers were filled with harsh criticism of Hamas, blaming it for violating Egypt's border and undermining its security. One newspaper, Rose El Youssef, contended that Hamas had used the breach to smuggle weapons and explosive-laden suicide belts into Egypt. (AP/Washington Post)
See also Report: Egypt Thwarts Suicide Terror Attack Against Israel - Yoav Stern
Five Palestinian terrorists carrying explosives belts and reportedly planning a suicide attack against Israel were apprehended by the Egyptian authorities in recent days, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported Wednesday. Al-Ahram reported that Egypt intends to erect a new border fence equipped with technological advances in order to "absolutely prevent infiltration, in keeping with the national security of Egypt." Other Palestinians were caught in Egypt with blueprints of the border crossings between Israel and Egypt, including the location of security posts and deployment of security personnel. Egyptian authorities also discovered sniper rifles and explosives among the suspects' belongings. (Ha'aretz)
The UN Security Council ended a week of haggling on Tuesday and abandoned efforts to adopt a statement on the crisis in Gaza after Libya and the U.S. were unable to agree on the wording. Washington objected to what Deputy U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff described as the failure to address the core issue - the "illegal coup usurping power from the legitimate Palestinian Authority by the terrorist group Hamas." "It is imperative not to equate acts of self-defense with terrorist rocket attacks," Wolff added. The U.S. delegation on Friday proposed a series of amendments that resulted in a near consensus; that proposal was acceptable to every council member except Libya. (Reuters)
Abdul builds bombs for Islamic Jihad. He and his fellow militants can produce up to 100 per night. The rocket factory is housed in a kind of garden shed. Metal pipes with small wings lean against the wall: half-finished Kassam rockets. There are several tightly packed garbage bags on a shelf with "TNT" - the explosive looks like lumpy sugar. A large cauldron is sitting ready on a gas cooker while bags of fertilizer for the rocket fuel are piled up high up against the wall. "We get it in Israel," Abdul says.
Instead of the usual 12, only three of Abdul's men have turned up. "The other guys are over in Egypt, shopping," he says. Will they be looking for ingredients for building rockets? "Hardly....We have enough raw materials to last for a few years." (Der Spiegel-Germany)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The PA has warned Egypt against striking a deal with Hamas over controlling the Rafah border crossing separating Gaza from Egypt, a senior PA official in Ramallah said Monday. Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit Cairo on Wednesday. "Hamas can't be a legitimate party to any deal because it seized power [in Gaza] through a violent coup," the official said. Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is reported to have won the backing of Saudi Arabia for including Hamas in any deal on the border, sources close to Hamas said.
A U.S.-brokered 2005 agreement gave Abbas and his Fatah party control over the Rafah border crossing, and also saw EU monitors stationed there. Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, voiced strong opposition to the return of the EU monitors or any other third party to the Rafah border crossing. (Jerusalem Post)
The Egyptian security services started to resume control of the Egyptian frontier with Gaza on Tuesday using barbed wire to close gaps in the border wall. Witnesses said Egyptian security has closed 11 openings in the wall so far, and only two remained open. The Egyptian city of Rafah has virtually run out of goods, while Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuwaid have been shut down by Egyptian security forces. Meanwhile, more than 1,500 Palestinians stranded in Al-Arish announced they will begin a hunger strike on Wednesday if the Egyptian authorities do not allow them to leave Egyptian territory for other countries. (Maan News-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Why not hold an international conference on all displaced populations, many from the post-war, late 1940s? Perhaps it would be best to start with the millions of Germans who were expelled from East Prussia in 1945, or Indians who were uprooted from ancestral homes in what is now Pakistan, or over half-a-million Jews that were ethnically cleansed from Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. Were these refugees ever adequately compensated for lost property and damages? Can they be given promises of the right to return to their ancestral homes under protection of their host countries? The ensuing solutions might shed light on Palestinian aspirations to return to land lost sixty years ago to Israel.
Another international panel could take up the issue of returning territory lost by defeat in war. Ten percent of historic Germany is now part of Poland. The Russians still occupy many of the Kurile Islands, and Greek Cyprus lost sizable territory in 1974 after the invasion by Turkey. The Western Sahara is still annexed by Morocco, while over 15% of disputed Azerbaijan has been controlled by Armenia since 1994. Additionally, all of independent Tibet has been under Chinese occupation since 1951. Surely if some general framework concerning these occupations could first be worked out, the results might then be applied to the much smaller West Bank and Golan Heights. (National Review)
Washington and other capitals should declare the experiment in Gazan self-rule a failure and press President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to help, perhaps providing Gaza with additional land or even annexing it as a province. Culturally, this connection is a natural: Gazans speak a colloquial Arabic identical to the Egyptians of Sinai, have more family ties to Egypt than to the West Bank, and are economically more tied to Egypt (recall the many smugglers' tunnels). Calling Gazans "Palestinians" is less accurate than politically correct.
It's hard to divine what benefit American taxpayers have received for the $65 billion they have lavished on Egypt since 1948; but Egypt's absorbing Gaza might justify their continuing to shell out $1.8 billion a year. (National Post-Canada)
On Jan. 26, Hussein Shariatmadari - the publisher of Iran's most influential newspaper and a close confidant of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei - stated that attacks on "Zionists, Americans, and European countries that support Israel," as well as on compliant regional rulers, were both morally permissible and easily carried out.
Despite the regime's provocations, a total ban on all Iranian exports is not the best approach. Instead, the Security Council should design "smart sanctions" based on careful consideration of the following criteria: Do the sanctions pressure Iran's political elite? Will the sanctions slow Iran's nuclear program? Is there an enforcement mechanism? Do the sanctions preserve people-to-people contact? The longer Iran's nuclear program is slowed, the more likely the regime's fundamental weaknesses will be evident. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
See also The Iranian Policy in the Gulf Is Indeed Puzzling - Zaki Taleb
Could the editorial penned recently by editor-in-chief Hussain Shariatmadari of the conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan saying Bahrain is "part and parcel" of Iran be looked upon as a trial balloon? Is it not absurd for a man like Shariatmadari, an advisor to Iranian spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, to write such an extremely sensitive editorial without a "go-ahead" from senior Iranian officials? (Arab Times-Kuwait)
Israeli Strategists Weigh Gaza Options - Leslie Susser (JTA)
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert