Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hizbullah Wards Off UNIFIL in South Lebanon - Barak Ravid and Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
Gazans Pay Doctors to Declare Them Ill to Gain Entry into Israel - Dan Izenberg (Jerusalem Post)
Iraqi Army Discovers Large Cache of Iranian-Marked Weapons (Operation Iraqi Freedom)
Contemporary Arab-Muslim Anti-Semitism (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
U.S. Secretary of State Rice said Monday the Islamist Hamas movement should renounce violence and stop shelling Israeli villages to prove that it is ready for peace. "It seems to me that what Hamas needs to do is pretty clear. Renounce violence would be a good step towards showing you actually want peace," she said in Bahrain, following a meeting with counterparts from the Gulf countries, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.
"Hamas can do several things," she said. "They can release the Israeli Corporal (Gilad) Shalit. They can stop rocketing Israeli citizens in Sderot and Ashkelon. They can stop holding hostage the people of Gaza with their own coup d'etat against the legitimate government structures of the Palestinian Authority. They can accept the long-standing obligations of the Palestinian leaders to a number of steps including those that even Yasser Arafat undertook." (AFP/Nasdaq)
The U.S. State Department says it sees no policy changes by the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the wake of former President Jimmy Carter's meetings with Hamas leaders. The State Department is downplaying Carter's suggestion that Hamas is, at least conditionally, prepared to accept Israel as a neighbor in the region.
State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said U.S. officials would be delighted if there really was movement by Hamas toward accepting terms the international Middle East Quartet set for Hamas in 2006 for entering peace talks, but said he sees no fundamental change coming from the Carter contacts. (VOA News)
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday he believes Iran is "hell bent" on acquiring nuclear weapons. He said he favors keeping the military option against Iran on the table, "given the destabilizing policies of the regime and the risks inherent in a future Iranian nuclear threat - either directly or through proliferation." (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Three Palestinian gunmen were spotted Monday night approaching the border fence on their way to the Erez border crossing terminal, Army Radio reported. After the three were killed, IDF troops found anti-tank missiles, rifles and grenades in their possession. (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas has changed its combat strategy. In recent weeks it has diverted its main effort from rocket terrorism to focused operations mostly targeting IDF forces operating along the fence. The organization's leadership reached the conclusion that the terror directed at civilians - rockets, mortar shells, and machinegun fire - does not result in the required political and psychological "yield." It even damages Hamas when it comes to international and Palestinian public opinion and grants Israel legitimacy to hit the group and its leaders, and even to embark on a large-scale operation in Gaza. Hamas wants to prevent this as well, and therefore the group decided to focus its efforts on "high quality" operations against the IDF.
The greatest aspiration of Hamas leaders is the abduction of Israeli soldiers, which would provide them with a powerful pressure lever. The attack on Kerem Shalom showed that Hamas is able to operate at a higher level of sophistication in terms of planning, execution, and coordination between various forces that it lacked in the past. The training of its operatives in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria and the large quantities of explosives and missiles accumulated when the fence was breached are leaving their mark. (Ynet News)
A four-year-old boy, Amir Arad, was injured by shrapnel Monday after a Kassam rocket landed in Kibbutz Gevim. Ilan Arad, the boy's father, said, "We had just returned from the north and the boy was sitting at the back seat of the car. As we arrived at the community we heard the Color Red (alert system), and the Kassam landed in our backyard. The shrapnel infiltrated the car near the fuel tank and hit the boy's shoulder." The boy's mother, Lior, said, "My daughter screamed that Amir had blood coming out of his shoulder."
Palestinian gunmen fired four Kassam rockets at Israel on Monday morning. One of the rockets landed near Shaar Hanegev Regional Council head Alon Schuster, who said he heard the rocket fly over him as he was jogging. (Ynet News)
Palestinians in Gaza fired a rocket Monday that landed on a Palestinian house in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, injuring three people. About two weeks ago, a Palestinian farmer was killed and another person was injured after being hit by a Kassam rocket not far from the border fence. In both cases, Israel was initially accused of responsibility for the incident. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
In January 2008, Hamas demolished the Gaza-Egypt border fence, allowing an estimated 700,000 Palestinians - nearly half of Gaza's population - to stream into the Sinai desert. Then reality set in. The prospect of Hamas hooking up with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood terrifies the government of Egypt. At the end of the day, the Gaza border is a matter of Egyptian national security. So despite the comparisons that will be drawn between the Israeli and Egyptian barriers, Cairo had few alternatives other than to move ahead with a wall of its own. The writer is senior fellow and director of the program in Arab politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Weekly Standard)
Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative who was found in contempt of court for refusing to comply with grand jury subpoenas, is now defying his third subpoena to testify in a terror-finance investigation involving a Virginia-based network that provided Al-Arian's organizations with tens of thousands of dollars in the 1990s. In 2006, Al-Arian was sentenced to 57 months in prison, with credit for time served, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to provide support to the PIJ.
His plea agreement reads: "During the period of the late 1980s, and early to mid-1990s, defendant Al-Arian was associated with several organizations, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad." In addition, "Defendant Al-Arian was aware that the PIJ achieved its objectives by, among other means, acts of violence." Evidence presented at Al-Arian's trial showed he was on the PIJ Shura Council - its governing board. Yet the New York Times holds out the possibility Al-Arian is "nothing more sinister than an outspoken Palestinian activist" suffering the wrath of a vengeful Department of Justice. The writer is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. (National Review)
The Tangled Truth about Palestinian Nationalism - Benny Morris (New Republic)
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