Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Hamas TV: 180 Killed Are from Hamas Armed Forces - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch-FrontPageMagazine)
Iran Orders Muslims to Defend Palestinians in Gaza - Zahra Hosseinian (Reuters)
Egypt Police Repel Palestinians on Tense Gaza Border (AFP-France 24)
Al-Qaeda in Iraq Suicide Bomber Hits Anti-Israel Protest (AFP)
Palestinians Training Kids to Be Suicide Bombers - Harold Evans
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told America's Sunday morning talk shows that Hamas, not Israel, "is the one who needs to be condemned by the international community." Livni said on "Fox News Sunday" that the assault in Gaza "is needed in order to change the realities on the ground, and to give peace and quiet to the citizens in southern Israel." She said that until Hamas recognized Israel's right to exist and ceased rocket attacks against Israel, they remained terrorists who needed to be acted against.
"We are targeting Hamas, we are not looking for civilians to kill," she said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Israel had warned Palestinian civilians to leave places where Hamas officials and fighters were known to be located. "The one who needs to be condemned by the international community is Hamas," she continued. "Israel is a state that implements its right to defend itself and its citizens." The Bush administration has been supportive of the assault, condemning Hamas for its repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel in recent weeks. (New York Times)
See also Israeli Defense Minister: Israel in All-Out War with Hamas (CNN)
Israel's military operation in Gaza is aimed primarily at forcing Hamas to end its rocket barrages and military buildup. But it has another goal as well: to re-establish Israeli deterrence.
Mark Heller, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said there was a deep feeling among average Israelis that the country had to regain its deterrent capacity after the 2006 Lebanon war. "There has been a nagging sense of uncertainty in the last couple years of whether anyone is really afraid of Israel anymore," he said. "The concern is that in the past...people didn't mess with Israel because they were afraid of the consequences. Now the region is filled with provocative rhetoric about Israel the paper tiger. This operation is an attempt to re-establish the perception that if you provoke or attack, you are going to pay a disproportionate price."
The risk to Israel in Gaza is that if the operation fails or leaves Hamas in the position of scrappy survivor or even somehow perceived as the victor, it could then dominate Palestinian politics over the more conciliatory and pro-Western Fatah movement for years to come. (New York Times)
Wary of a missile strike from nearby Gaza, Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital has moved its most essential departments into an underground bomb shelter. In February a rocket from Gaza landed adjacent to the hospital's helicopter pad and in May a rocket crashed into a busy shopping mall in the city, injuring 14 people. On Saturday, Barzilai relocated the most vulnerable departments and placed its least mobile patients - such as those in the geriatric, infant and maternity wards - underground. On Sunday, two rockets fell in Ashkelon itself and another 22 in the surrounding district, as warning sirens sent doctors, patients and guests rushing for cover several times.
In Barzilai's underground children's ward, sick Gazans lay alongside sick Israelis. Dr. Ron Lobel, the hospital's deputy director, said that his facility had close ties with Gaza's Shifa hospital, and accepted many of its patients who need treatment the Gazan hospital cannot provide. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
An Israeli man was killed Monday morning and ten were wounded when a Grad-type missile fired by Palestinians in Gaza hit a construction site in the center of Ashkelon. Most of those at the site were Arab construction workers from Rahat and the Galilee. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Hizbullah-Type Rockets Fired at Israel from Gaza - Yaakov Lappin
Two Katyusha rockets that Hamas fired deep into Israel on Sunday are the same type launched by Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War, an Israel Police source said. One Katyusha hit in Gan Yavne, 35 km. north of Gaza, and the second struck near Ashdod, 40 km. from Gaza. Police sappers who analyzed the projectiles said they carried six to seven kilograms of explosives each, and identified them as 122-millimeter PIPE type-81 Katyusha rockets. The rockets contained metal balls designed to act as shrapnel, and the intended effects were visible at a nearby home which looked as if it had been sprayed with a machine gun. Large, gaping holes peppered the front of the house. (Jerusalem Post)
The two long-range Katyushas were made either in China or Iran. (Ha'aretz)
The Israel Air Force on Monday targeted two laboratories at the Islamic University in Gaza City which served as research and development centers for Hamas' military wing. The development of explosives was done under the auspices of university professors. The IDF said rockets and explosives were stored in the buildings. On Sunday, Israel struck at 40 tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor at the Egypt-Gaza border. The majority of the Palestinians killed in the raids have been policemen and gunmen belonging to Izaddin Kassam, human rights activists and medical sources said Sunday.
Israel decided Sunday to allow the transfer of 100 trucks into Gaza carrying donations of medical supplies and food from Jordan, Turkey and international organizations. According to a poll broadcast Sunday on Channel 10, 81% of Israelis support the war in Gaza and only 17% oppose it. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel is feeling "no real pressure" from the international community to end the operation in Gaza, senior diplomatic officials said Sunday. Publicly, Israeli officials maintain, some world leaders - especially leaders of Muslim states or countries with large Muslim populations - must harshly condemn Israel's actions to pacify public opinion, while privately they support them. Israeli officials pointed to the tepid statement that emerged from the UN Security Council as proof that serious pressure on Israel to end the operation had not yet begun.
According to the Syrian press, Syria notified Turkey it was ceasing all indirect talks with Israel as a result of the operation. In any event, the last round of indirect talks was held in July. (Jerusalem Post)
Judging by Arab leaders' statements to the media, or the slogans shouted by demonstrators in several Arab capitals, one might have thought that Egypt, not Israel, was the one waging war in Gaza. Thus far, Hamas has not succeeded in generating an Arab diplomatic initiative that would lead to a renewed cease-fire on its terms. Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which view Hamas as an Iranian ally whose goal is to increase Tehran's regional influence at their expense, prefer to wait a bit in the hopes that Israel's military operation will strip Hamas of its ability to dictate terms. And without those two states, the Arab League will have trouble even convening an emergency summit. The absence of such a summit indicates that Arab solidarity with the Palestinians is crumbling under Hamas' leadership.
Cairo is still furious with Hamas for having torpedoed Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah in November, while Saudi Arabia is wary of launching any new initiative after the reconciliation agreement it brokered between Hamas and Fatah in 2006 collapsed into bloodshed nine months later. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel's current operation in Gaza is essential for creating the conditions that could eventually lead to a two-state solution. Gaza is a test case of Israel's ability to restore its deterrence power and uphold the principle that its citizens cannot be targeted with impunity. Without the assurance that they will be allowed to protect their homes and families following any future withdrawals from the West Bank, Israelis will rightly perceive a two-state solution as an existential threat. In addition, Israelis will be unwilling to cede strategically vital territories - including on the Golan Heights - in an international environment in which any attempt to defend themselves will be denounced as unjustified aggression.
Israel must be allowed to conclude this operation with a decisive victory over Hamas; the untenable situation of intermittent rocket fire and widespread arms smuggling must not be allowed to resume. This is an opportunity to redress Israel's failure to humble Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006, and to deal a substantial setback to another jihadist proxy of Iran. The writers are fellows at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. (Wall Street Journal)
For all that I regularly sound off about almost every facet of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, I struggle to see what option Israel's leaders had, other than to take the kind of action that they took this weekend. With Hamas refusing to lay down their weapons and resuming their attacks on Israeli civilians, it was plain that Israel was being invited, if not provoked, into an operation to cut the head off the hydra. With tens of thousands of Israeli men, women and children within range of the Kassam rockets, public opinion would demand action to protect those in the line of fire. I suspect that Israel's response was no different to that which citizens of any other state would demand of their leaders in similar circumstances. (Guardian-UK)
Did Israel Use "Disproportionate Force" in Gaza? - Dore Gold (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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