Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Hamas Raids Aid Trucks, Sells Supplies - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas: Victory Over Israel "Closer Than Ever" (AFP)
How Badly Has Hamas Been Hurt in Gaza? - Tim McGirk
Every Item a Potential Booby Trap in Gaza - Abraham Rabinovich
It's Not Israel's Fault It Has a Strong, Well-Run Army - Yoel Marcus (Ha'aretz)
World Must Not Condemn Israel's War on Hamas - Ari Shavit (Ha'aretz)
Israel Destroys Nasrallah's "Spider Web Theory" - Guy Bechor (Ynet News)
Joe the Plumber Calls on Obama to Help Israel (AP)
Israeli Film Named Best Foreign Language Film at Golden Globes (AFP)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
In his final news conference Monday, President Bush said: "We believe that the best way to ensure that there is a sustainable cease-fire is to work with Egypt to stop the smuggling of arms into the Gaza Strip that enables Hamas to continue to fire rockets. And so countries that supply weapons to Hamas have got to stop. And the international community needs to continue to pressure them to stop providing weapons." (White House)
While the fighting continues in Gaza and negotiations for a cease-fire take place in Egypt, officials in Iran are treading carefully because they, too, have a great deal at stake. Iran is trying to position itself as the regional superpower, while also trying to generate maximum leverage before expected talks with the incoming Obama administration. To achieve those goals, though, Iran needs Hamas to declare at least a moral victory in its war with Israel. Then, Israel and Washington's Arab allies would be weakened, and without Iran's having to get involved in battle.
A Hamas defeat by Israel would deprive Iran not only of a valuable proxy force on the border with Israel but of a trump card to play with Washington, and it would further alienate it from the leadership of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Hamas, a pariah to Egypt and Jordan, has received money and training from Iran, while the group has provided Iran with a powerful surrogate to undermine American and Israeli interests in the region. (New York Times)
See also Iran Holds Huge Stake in Gaza War - Meir Javedanfar (Pajamas Media)
See also Iran's Hamas Patronage Almost Two Decades Old - Sami Moubayed (Gulf News-UAE)
The UN Human Rights Council, dominated by Muslim states and their allies, voted to condemn Israel on Monday for "grave violations" of human rights in Gaza. The non-binding resolution was opposed outright by Canada, while European countries, Japan and South Korea abstained. Canada complained that the text failed to recognize that Israel had acted to stop rocket attacks on its territory from Hamas-controlled Gaza. (Reuters)
See also Israel: UN Rights Council a "Fairytale World"
Aharon Leshno-Yaar, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN in Geneva, told the Human Rights Council: "I would like to ask my Palestinian colleague - Have you learned anything from the history of 60 years of conflict?...Don't you realize, by now, that in the real world - not the fairytale world of this Council - there can be no meaningful consensus without Israel?"
"This resolution...does not reflect the realities of the Gaza Strip, and does no service to the cause of peace or to the human suffering of Palestinians in Gaza....Sadly, such resolutions will only embolden Hamas, weaken the trust of the Israeli public in the United Nations and this Council, and strengthen even further in the minds of Palestinians the illusion that the UN and its resolutions are the solution to their suffering." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
While tens of thousands have poured into the streets of world capitals demonstrating against the Israeli military operation in Gaza, antiwar rallies in Israel have struggled to draw 1,000 participants. The Peace Now organization has received many messages from supporters telling it to stay out of the streets on this one. As the editorial page of the Jerusalem Post put it on Monday, do Israelis really believe that everybody is wrong and they alone are right? The answer is yes.
"Where was the world when our cities were rocketed for eight years and our soldier was kidnapped?," asked Yoel Esteron, editor of a daily business newspaper. Israel, which is sometimes a fractured, bickering society, has turned in the past couple of weeks into a paradigm of unity and mutual support. What looks to the world like a disproportionate war of choice is seen by many here as an obligatory war for existence. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Palestinians in Gaza fired four rockets into Israel on Tuesday morning. On Monday, Palestinians fired 19 rockets at Israel. (Ha'aretz)
See also IDF Operations in Gaza Continue - Anshel Pfeffer
IDF infantry, tanks, combat engineers, artillery, and intelligence units continued to operate against Hamas targets throughout Gaza. During the operations, IDF troops engaged approximately fifteen squads of armed gunmen. About 30 gunmen were killed early Tuesday, and four IDF soldiers were wounded. (Ha'aretz)
Gunmen opened fire at an Israeli Border Police patrol along the Israel-Jordan border in southern Israel on Tuesday morning. There were no casualties. (Ha'aretz)
See also Three IDF Soldiers Wounded by Palestinian Fire in West Bank
Palestinian militants opened fire on an Israel Defense Forces patrol near the West Bank town of Kiryat Arba early Tuesday, wounding three soldiers. (Ha'aretz)
Walking through the rubble on the floor of Gabi Ben-Hamu's Beersheba home on Sunday, everyone was talking about miracles. The outside wall was pockmarked with holes from a Grad rocket strike as hundreds of ball bearings and pieces of metal sprayed through the air. Ben-Hamu recalled the moments just after hearing the siren, when he and his wife had rushed their three small daughters into the apartment's safe room, and within seconds, heard an earth-shattering boom. But by getting into the safe room and closing the door, a disaster had been prevented.
Nearby, a Habad elementary school had been peppered with shrapnel from the same attack. A woman in the school's office said, "The rocket landed in the exact spot where the buses unload the students for school. If there had been class today, the rocket would have hit at the same time the buses would have been there."
Since the beginning of the Gaza operation and amid the hundreds of rockets that have rained down on the country's southern cities and towns, an acknowledgment of miracles and wonders has been uttered countless times. A rocket hits a home dead-on, and no one is wounded. A rockets slams into a school, after classes had been cancelled the night before. (Jerusalem Post)
During a visit to Ashkelon on Monday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: "If after this whole effort we discover that rockets with increasing ranges are making their way into Gaza that can reach up to 80, and even 100, kilometers, how will we see ourselves? How will our neighbors see us?...We want to finish, but only if the two conditions that we are demanding are met - an end to the strengthening of Hamas and to rocket fire....The Israeli people...are no longer willing to sustain Kassam attacks."
"We will continue for as much time as necessary in order to remove this threat." "I hear from the entire Israeli people: Keep going, keep moving on condition that you reach the achievements for which you went to battle." (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
What if Osama bin Laden and company were holed up in a bunker underneath a hospital in Afghanistan occupied by women and children deployed as shields? Would President Obama launch an immediate strike with cruise missiles or hesitate because of the hostages? Would such a move thwart future 9/11's and be viewed as the death knell of al-Qaeda? Or would there be a firestorm of international protest that the American response was a "disproportionate" violation of humanitarian international law and even a "war crime"? Does anybody remember the thousands of French civilians killed by the Allies during World War II's Normandy invasion?
Human shields are the weapon of cowards who violate every principle of humanitarian international law. Use of human shields constitutes "perfidy" under Article 147 of the Geneva Convention. The international criminals who use human shields are "common enemies of humankind." Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Harold Brackman, a historian, is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. (U.S. News)
It isn't merely Israel's right to exist, or the Palestinian Authority's, that Hamas denies. It denies Palestine's as well. The Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is merely an affiliate, has never been keen on the concept of the nation-state. But in choosing Hamas and the fantasy of pan-Islamism over secular Palestinian alternatives, Palestinians are also choosing to abandon Palestine itself. Good luck to them with their corner of the caliphate. (Wall Street Journal)
There was no such thing as "Palestinian nationalism" until modern Zionism created it out of whole cloth, by placing enormous value on a piece of land that used to seem as precious to its landlords as a rat-ridden empty lot in a burnt-out neighborhood in the middle of nowhere. The Jews gradually got possession of an arid stony wasteland - and they loved it. They turned it into a gleaming, thriving modern nation, not only a military but an intellectual powerhouse. And so it is only natural that the former owners' descendants want it back.
Any competent psychologist will agree: When someone is mooning over a thing he can't have because it belongs to someone else, the responsible and humane course of treatment is not temporizing sweet-talk but a blunt lesson in the facts of life. "No, you cannot have my wife (girlfriend, husband, etc.), and we are not going to negotiate over it." There is no irreconcilable difference in the fight between Israel and the Palestinians. There is only greed and envy. The problem will be solved as soon as the world stops trying to solve it. (Weekly Standard)
The root cause of the current Gaza conflict is the unwillingness of Hamas - and its Iranian patron - to accept the legitimacy of Israel within any boundaries in the Middle East. Hamas calls publicly, in its charter as well as its contemporary declarations, for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews wherever they may be. Jews everywhere - not just in Israel - are referred to as inherently evil, as responsible for all the evils of the world, as defilers of Islam. This culture of hatred is where it all begins. (Jerusalem Post)
Video: Hamas in Their Own Voices (MEMRI)
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