Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


March 17, 2008

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

First Signs of Genocidal Doctrines Penetrating Hamas Ideology - Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)
    The ideology of the extreme Islamic movements deals with the concept of the Muslim's superiority over the nonbelievers and makes frequent use of the verse from the Koran that postulates that the Muslims are Allah's "chosen people."
    This ideology calls for a takeover of the entire world as both a vision and an action program and for the total extermination of Jews, Christians and other apostates by the Muslims.
    Dr. Yunus al-Astel, a senior member of the Hamas movement and a member of the Palestinian parliament, assigns religious doctrinal justification to this ruling of having the Muslims exterminate the Jewish people and views the terror attack on the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva (March 6, 2008) as partial implementation of the positive commandment bestowed by Allah.
    Al-Astel, who served as dean of the faculty for Muslim Sharia law at the Islamic University in Gaza, concludes that the punishment of extermination, immolation and holocaust will be meted out to the Jews, not only in the world to come but in this world as well, at the hands of the jihad fighters.
    This is not an isolated opinion within Hamas, and serves as a reply to those who detect signs of "flexibility" in Hamas' ideological platform.

Firebombs Thrown at Home of Israeli Emissary in Rhode Island (AP/Boston Globe)
    A pair of Molotov cocktails targeted the home of Yossi Knafo, 24, on Saturday in Providence, R.I. No one was injured in the attack, though a small fire was started.
    Knafo, an employee of Brown/Rhode Island School of Design Hillel, works with the Jewish Agency for Israel, whose emissaries conduct educational, religious, and cultural programs.

Report Details Saddam's Terrorist Ties - Eli Lake (New York Sun)
    A Pentagon review of about 600,000 documents captured in the Iraq war attests to Saddam Hussein's willingness to use terrorism to target Americans and work closely with jihadist organizations throughout the Middle East.
    The report, released this week by the Institute for Defense Analyses, says it found no "smoking gun" linking Iraq operationally to al-Qaeda. But it does say Saddam collaborated with known al-Qaeda affiliates and a wider constellation of Islamist terror groups.
    See also Saddam's Dangerous Friends - Stephen F. Hayes (Weekly Standard)
    Read the Report: Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights - Kevin M. Woods and James Lacey (Institute for Defense Analyses)

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel: We Will Hold Damascus Accountable If Hizbullah Attacks - Adam Entous and Dan Williams
    Israel recently conveyed a warning to Syria through a European third party that it would hold Damascus accountable if Lebanese Hizbullah launched attacks on the Jewish state, Israeli and European sources said on Friday. A European source familiar with the matter said the message conveyed to Damascus said Syria could be targeted by Israel even if Hizbullah's attack emanated from Lebanese soil. The sources said the message was conveyed in February following the killing of top Hizbullah commander Imad Moughniyah in Damascus. An Israeli source said: "Syria has to understand there is a price for its use of proxy terrorism, especially as Damascus is itself a proxy - the long arm of Iran." (Reuters)
  • Iran Vote Favors Ahmadinejad Camp - Jeffrey Fleishman and Ramin Mostaghim
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad's populism and attacks on the West trumped criticism of his handling of the nation's financial crisis as results released Saturday indicated that the hard-line leader had won strong support in parliamentary elections. Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said 71% of the 290 seats in parliament would go to conservative factions. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Palestinian Forces' Training Marred by Delays, Politics - Ellen Knickmeyer and Glenn Kessler
    A U.S.-funded program to train and equip Palestinian security forces is mired in delays, a shortage of resources, and differences between Israelis and the Americans over what military capabilities those forces should have once deployed in the territories. Because of Israeli concerns, the group of more than 1,000 Palestinian trainees has not been outfitted with pledged body armor or light-armored personnel carriers. The Israeli government has insisted that the Palestinian security forces be trained and equipped as a police force rather than an army that could threaten the Jewish state.
        U.S. contract workers and Jordanian security forces are training 600 members of the Fatah-dominated National Security Forces in a 16-week course. About 425 members of the presidential guard of Mahmoud Abbas are undergoing eight weeks of training in a desert camp one hour from Jordan's capital, Amman. In June, hundreds of Fatah graduates of a U.S.-backed, 45-day crash course conducted in Egypt were deployed against Hamas fighters in Gaza. Hamas routed the Fatah forces in five days, leaving Hamas in charge of Gaza. (Washington Post)
  • Threats to Israel Are Threats to Us, Says Merkel
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed solidarity with Israel in the face of threats to the Jewish state on Saturday, the eve of a three-day visit to the country, and said Iran must halt its nuclear program. "The threats to which the Israeli state is exposed are also threats to us," Merkel said. She said she would underline on the trip that "the Iranian nuclear program cannot continue and Iran must finally play to international rules." (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Airstrike Kills Islamic Jihad Rocket Crew in Gaza - Yuval Azoulay and Avi Issacharoff
    Three Palestinian Islamic Jihad members were killed Saturday in an Israel Air Force strike east of Gaza City as the men were on their way to launch Kassam rockets at Israel. According to the Shin Bet security service, the group had fired the rocket that cost Osher Twito, 8, of Sderot, his leg last month.
        On Friday, Hamas militants directed machine-gun fire at an Israeli helicopter, hitting one of the aircraft's panels. The aircraft returned to base and did not make an emergency landing. According to reports, Hamas is in possession of more than 10 Russian-made KPV-14.5 heavy machine guns. Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida said the machine guns were confiscated from Fatah during the Hamas takeover of Gaza last year. (Ha'aretz)
        See also IDF and Islamic Jihad Resume Fighting - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    The Israel Defense Forces and Islamic Jihad have resumed fighting. Hamas, in contrast, is thus far keeping a low profile: It is not firing rockets itself, but neither is it trying to stop Islamic Jihad from doing so. Egypt is continuing its mediation efforts, but the gaps on critical issues (opening the Gaza border crossings, continued IDF operations in the West Bank) seem difficult to bridge. All the relevant security bodies acknowledge that a significant reduction in the rocket fire can be achieved only by a prolonged presence of ground forces in the parts of northern Gaza that serve as launching zones. (Ha'aretz)
  • PA to Rebuild Slain Terrorist's Home - Ali Waked
    The Palestinian Authority declared Sunday that it would rebuild the home of Islamic Jihad operative Muhammad Shahade, who was killed by the IDF in Bethlehem last week. Palestinian sources said Shahade had planned the attack at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem where eight Israeli students were killed. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • How Will the IDF Confront Regional Threats? - A Strategic Overview - Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan
    Professionally speaking, if Israel wants to prevent any high-trajectory rocket or mortar fire, it must establish good control on the ground. In the West Bank, Israel has control over the external perimeter and can control the entrance of weapons inside the area. Furthermore, if Israeli forces are present on the ground, then they can stop the manufacture of locally-produced rockets and other weapons in time. The writer is the Commander-designate of the Israel Air Force and outgoing head of the IDF Planning Directorate. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Arab Policy Created the Gaza Prison Camp - Nonie Darwish
    Rarely a week goes by without a politician or organization deploring the humanitarian situation in Gaza. But I do not hear anyone describe its root cause: 60 years of Arab policy aimed at maintaining Palestinians as stateless refugees in order to pressure Israel. I lived in Gaza as a child in the 1950s when Egypt conducted guerrilla-style operations against Israel from Gaza, then under Egyptian control. My father commanded these operations. Today, Gaza continues to serve as the launching pad for attacks against Israeli citizens.
        This is the legacy of the Arab world's Palestinian refugee policy, started 60 years ago, when the Arab League implemented special laws regarding Palestinians that all Arab countries had to abide by. Arab countries could not absorb Palestinians. Even if a Palestinian married a citizen of an Arab country, that Palestinian could not become a citizen of his or her spouse's country. A Palestinian can be born, live and die in an Arab country, but never gain its citizenship. The world needs to understand that this dangerous mess started when 22 Arab countries agreed to create a human prison called the Gaza Strip. It is time for the Arab world to open their side of the borders and absorb the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza who wish to be absorbed. (Huffington Post)
  • Observations:

    A Moral Outrage - Mortimer Zuckerman (U.S. News)

    • The world applauded when Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, forcibly removing Jewish settlers. At last, the Palestinians were free to show how they could build their own society.
    • But what did they do with their freedom? They elected the terrorist organization Hamas in 2006. First Fatah and now Hamas have rained 4,000 rockets on Israel, killed 24, and wounded 620 - the equivalent of killing 1,200 Americans and wounding 31,000. The citizens of Sderot and Ashkelon have suffered a collective trauma; children fear that when parents leave for work, they will never see them again.
    • And what does the world do? It criticizes Israel for a "disproportionate" response. Israel is discriminating in trying to defend its people. It attacks Gaza's rocket launchers, weapons factories, and terrorists, all hidden in civilian areas. What is a proportionate response? None at all, it seems.
    • Hamas kills indiscriminately. It makes no distinction between civilians and combatants. But it is Israel that earns the opprobrium. Would Paris, London, Bonn, or New York sit back quietly if terrorists attacked from sanctuaries somewhere just off their borders?
    • Palestinians continue to get away with their confidence trick of persuading the world that they are the victims. Hamas uses women and children as human shields and then exaggerates the casualties.
    • The U.S. forced the Israelis and the Palestinians to include Hamas in the 2006 election. Later, we caused the removal of Israeli control of the Philadelphi road, a crucial barrier in the protection against the smuggling of arms, insisting it be left to the Palestinians under Egyptian and European supervision. Israeli protests that foreign troops would not stop either terrorists or arms from making their way into Gaza went unheeded.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert