Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hamas Rearming During Cease-Fire - Attila Somfalvi
Israel Holds Drill for Mass Rocket Attack and Shelling of Southern Cities - Yaakov Lappin
One Month into the Lull with Hamas in Gaza (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
Russia Shuts Down Hamas Website (IMRA/Hamas-PA)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iranian President Ahmadinejad said Saturday his country now possesses 6,000 centrifuges, double the 3,000 uranium-enriching machines Iran had previously said it was operating. "Announcements like this, whatever the true number is, are not productive and will only serve to further isolate Iran from the international community," said White House spokesman Carlton Carroll. Iran says it plans to move toward large-scale uranium enrichment that will ultimately involve 54,000 centrifuges that could churn out enough enriched material for dozens of nuclear weapons. (AP/Washington Post)
Hamas security forces on Saturday arrested 162 Fatah activists in Gaza after an explosion on Friday that killed five Hamas militants and a girl. Hamas security men seized computers and files at the Gaza offices of the PA's WAFA news agency, and stormed 40 other Fatah offices. (Reuters)
See also Fatah Arrests 50 Hamas Activists in West Bank
Security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction detained more than 50 Hamas activists in the West Bank city of Nablus on Monday, Hamas sources said. (Reuters/Washington Post)
See also Hamas Cracks Down on Al-Qaeda-Linked Group
Clashes broke out in Gaza City on Sunday, wounding at least six people, as Hamas security forces moved to arrest members of the Army of Islam, a shadowy militant group believed linked to al-Qaeda. "There was fighting for several hours, with rocket-propelled grenades, explosions, and gunfire, but they did not arrest anyone," a member of the group said. (AFP)
Two bombs exploded within minutes of each other Sunday in a crowded pedestrian area of Istanbul, killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 150 in the worst case of terrorist violence in Turkey in five years. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is pressuring Israel and the Palestinian Authority to try to agree on a document of understandings by September, ahead of the UN General Assembly, according to Palestinian sources. Rice wants to be able to present the document during the General Assembly to show progress in the talks. A senior Israeli official confirmed that Rice wants to use the General Assembly to present a document summarizing the progress of the last nine months. The Israeli and PA teams, headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Ahmed Qureia, will arrive in Washington on Wednesday to continue negotiations. A three-way meeting with Rice is expected.
According to the Israeli official, "neither we nor the Palestinians want a deadline that can't be met. That will only hurt the talks and the good progress that has been achieved so far." The official said gaps remain on most issues. Livni and Qureia agree that talks should reach a point where they can survive changes of government on all sides, including in the U.S. (Ha'aretz)
See also Israeli Foreign Minister Warns of U.S. Pressure - Gil Hoffman
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni came out on Sunday against American efforts to have Israel reach an interim agreement with the Palestinians before the end of President Bush's term based on the diplomatic talks that she has led. "I purposely am not setting deadlines [for the negotiations with the Palestinians], because I think that's very bad," Livni said. "I very much don't want to be in the same situation that Ehud Barak was in at Camp David at the end of an American administration finishing its term and trying to put pressure on everyone to bridge gaps that cannot be bridged." (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli security forces have received a number of warnings of possible terror attacks in the West Bank and within the "green line" by Hamas terrorists recently released from Israeli jails, a senior Israel Defense Forces officer said over the weekend.
The IDF and the Shin Bet security service have seen efforts by Hamas over the past few months to rehabilitate its military infrastructure in the West Bank. A large number of lower-level Hamas activists have recently been released from Israeli jails after serving sentences of about five years for intifada-related crimes. An apparently large number of them have returned to terrorism, employing new techniques learned from veteran prisoners. The army and the Shin Bet say most of these activists are quick to begin setting up new networks to carry out major attacks. (Ha'aretz)
IDF and police forces killed senior Hamas member Shihab Natsheh, who was behind the Dimona suicide bombing last February which left one woman dead. Natsheh was killed during exchanges of fire with IDF forces in the West Bank city of Hebron early Sunday. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Despite pledges of support for the Palestinian Authority by nearly two dozen Arab nations, only a handful of Arab countries are sending even a small portion of the money they promised. Only Algeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have contributed funds this year, while oil-rich countries such as Libya, Kuwait and Qatar have sent nothing and still owe the Palestinian government more than $700 million in past-due pledges.
European governments, the World Bank and the U.S. have provided more than three times as much money as Arab countries this year to keep the PA afloat. After the collapse of a unity government that had included Hamas in June 2007, the PA received only $73 million from Arab countries in the second half of 2007, compared with $371 million given by the Arabs to the unity government in the first half of the year. Arab diplomats said there is little trust that the PA will use their contributions wisely. (Washington Post)
After three deadly bombings and a string of tit-for-tat arrests, tensions between Fatah and Hamas are once again running dangerously high. Over the past few years, the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah has rapidly made its way up the list of threats to the Palestinians' existence. In some circles, it is still fashionable to blame Israel for all of the Palestinians' troubles, but in this instance, the leaders of Hamas and Fatah have committed crimes of equal magnitude against their own constituents.
Not only have scores of people died at the hands of their armed forces, the fighting has also served to greatly undermine the Palestinian cause. It has become increasingly difficult for the international community to feel sympathy for the Palestinian people when their own leaders provide so much media ammunition to distract the world from their plight. The image of lawlessness and internecine warfare conveys the image of a people who are simply not ready for self-governance or an independent state.
International mediators will soon grow tired of helping those who show no interest whatsoever in helping themselves. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
On May 22, 2008, the reformist Arab website www.elaph.com posted a comprehensive interview with Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef, in which he expressed support for the resistance in Iraq and Palestine, and for the activities of al-Qaeda. 'Akef's statements evoked harsh criticism among clerics and politicians both inside and outside Egypt, who perceived them as praise for bin Laden and his terrorist activities. Faced with such critical reactions, 'Akef explained that bin Laden's ideology was based on violence and that the Muslim Brotherhood movement opposed all violence, except when directed against occupation. (MEMRI)
The Legacy of the Gaza Truce - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
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