Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
How Iranian Frogmen Bring Weapons to Hamas - Nadav Zeevi and Amir Buhbut (Maariv-Hebrew, 23Jan09)
U.S. Watching for Iranian Arms to Gaza (UPI)
Report: Hamas Foreign Minister Injured in Gaza Fighting (Jerusalem Post)
Iran in Scramble for Fresh Uranium Supplies - Robin Pagnamenta, Michael Evans and Tony Halpin (Times-UK)
Poll: Americans Sympathetic Toward Israel on Gaza - Viola Gienger (Bloomberg)
Aerial Photographs Show Rocket-Launching Sites and Terrorist Bases in the Heart
of Civilian Gaza Neighborhoods (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
Chavez Providing Aid to Hamas and Hizbullah - Shlomo Shamir (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Palestinian Authority must end its peace talks and security coordination with Israel if it ever expects to reconcile with Hamas, Osama Hamdan, Hamas' representative in Lebanon, said Sunday. Hamdan also vowed that Hamas will continue to bring in arms to Gaza. To aid in reconstructing Gaza, Arab officials are looking to heal the rift between the Palestinians and bring them once more under a unity government. "It's time for us to talk about a reconciliation based on a resistance program to liberate the territory and regain rights," Hamdan said.
On Friday, French President Sarkozy ordered a frigate deployed immediately to the waters off Gaza in an effort to fight arms smuggling. On Sunday, the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command warned that France's participation in a maritime blockade of Gaza's coast would "make it an enemy of our people...and make its interests, wherever they are, subject to direct targeting by our Muslim nation." (AP/Fox News)
See also Egypt, Hamas Discuss "Lasting" Truce with Israel - Hala Boncompagni
A Hamas team met Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman on Sunday in Cairo in a bid to clinch a lasting truce in Gaza, days after an Israeli negotiator held similar talks. Egypt's state MENA news agency said Suleiman and Hamas officials discussed "Egyptian efforts to consolidate the cease-fire, reach a (permanent) truce, reopen Gaza crossings, and resume the Palestinian national dialogue." The talks include members of Hamas' powerful Syria-based politburo and a delegation from Gaza. (AFP)
See also Report: Israel Offers Open Crossings, 1,000 Prisoners for Captured IDF Soldier - Khaled Abu Toameh and Yaakov Katz
Israel has offered to open the Gaza crossings and free 1,000 prisoners in exchange for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, Ayman Taha, a member of the Hamas team currently holding talks in Cairo, was quoted as saying Monday. Taha spoke to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram after meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. Hamas legislator Mushir al-Masri said Hamas would not agree to a long-term or permanent truce and has proposed a one-year, temporary truce. (Jerusalem Post)
Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell will come to Israel Wednesday for talks on keeping alive a fragile Gaza cease-fire and reviving Mideast negotiations, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said Saturday. (AP/Washington Post)
Aid agencies expect several hundred million dollars to be pledged for food, medicine and spare parts for electrical grids. But that does not touch the broader question of rebuilding, which will require large quantities of cement, metal and glass, all of which Gaza lacks. Israel said that letting such supplies in freely would be risky. Hamas militants built rockets from pipes imported for a sanitation plant. Peter Lerner, the spokesman for the Israel Defense Ministry's coordination office for Gaza, said that while Israel was facilitating all humanitarian work, including allowing in cable to fix the electrical grid, it would not consider reopening the border crossings fully for commercial use, and any reconstruction projects would need to be approved individually. "We are not interested in rebuilding Hamas at any stage," he said. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israeli Defense Minister Barak on Sunday said a large quantity of arms had piled up in Egypt en route to Gaza as a result of Israel's recent offensive and that Israel had informed Egypt of the build-up. (Ha'aretz)
Prime Minister Olmert told the Cabinet Sunday: "With the typical moral acrobatics," the terrorist organizations, led by Hamas, "and their supporters are trying to turn the attacker into the attacked and vice-versa. The undeniable truth is that for eight years, hundreds of thousands of residents of the State of Israel, who live in the south, were the unceasing targets of brutal, deliberate and planned rocket fire that was intentionally designed to hit civilians, including children and their parents."
"Now, as a result of unavoidable self-defense actions during which - to our regret - civilians were also hit, they are trying to turn what happened on its face and stick IDF soldiers and commanders - and not those who initiated the terrorism and turned it into a way of life against the residents of the State of Israel for many years - with the responsibility for this. The State of Israel did everything in order to avoid hitting civilians. I do not know of any military that is more moral, fair and sensitive to civilians' lives than the IDF."
In many instances "IDF soldiers and their commanders refrained from carrying out actions or diverted bombs lest innocents among the enemy be hit. This was also done when terrorists that threatened our soldiers were intentionally shooting at them from among civilian population concentrations and were using them as human shields against an Israeli response. This has been the policy of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations over the years - to fight to the last drop of Gaza civilians' blood." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Col. Radi Assidah, the PA security commander in the Jenin area, said over the weekend that his force is protecting and providing shelter to Islamic Jihad fugitives. A number of Islamic Jihad terrorists wanted by Israel handed themselves over to PA security forces five months ago out of fear of arrest by Israel, Assidah said. "They sought refuge with us," he said. "Since then we have been hosting them in our headquarters. They are not prisoners and they are entitled to leave whenever they want." Assidah also revealed that the PA government of Salam Fayyad was paying the wanted Islamic Jihad men monthly salaries. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel made several tangible gains during the Gaza campaign. Israel has sharply degraded Hamas' ability to fire rockets at Israeli cities. Israel sustained far fewer fatalities and injuries than it did in the 2006 war with Hizbullah. Much of this decrease in casualties resulted from Hamas' inability to offer serious opposition on the ground - a fact that will make it difficult for the organization to credibly claim that it defended Gaza, let alone scored a victory.
Another Israeli achievement is a fresh international focus on the tunnel network between the Egyptian Sinai and Gaza. The issue of border security has become increasingly important for Israel since one million Israelis are now within rocket range of Gaza. The Obama administration must follow up, work with allies, and make sure that verbal commitments to stop arms smuggling are transformed into reality. Failure by Egypt to act could lead Israel to occupy the southern edge of Gaza, where the tunnels are located.
The moment seems right to consider an added mission for the U.S.-led Multinational Forces Organization (MFO) in the Sinai, created after the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. The MFO could be enlisted to halt weapons smuggling on the few roads traversing the Sinai. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
The Middle East that Senator George Mitchell will confront today is much changed from the one he wrestled with eight years ago as chairman of the committee to investigate the outbreak of the Second Intifada. The 2001 Mitchell Report was issued before the 9/11 al-Qaeda attack, prior to the capture of two weapons-laden ships bound for Gaza, and before Hamas' coup in Gaza. Hamas' alliance with Iran and its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood mark it as an enemy of moderate Arab regimes. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
I've seldom found someone who is anti-Israel but at the same time likes Jews. Anti-Israel attitudes do not fall into a pattern of normal political hostility of the type directed toward other countries. At their core, objections to Israel are not based on the country's policies but instead rest on Israel's very right to exist. Faced with terror attacks, there is no country in the world that would not have garnered sympathy except Israel. The exceedingly ugly character of the marches and rallies against Israel makes it clear that what we are witnessing is global anti-Semitism. There is precedent for the Hamas philosophy, the Nazis referred to it as seeking to make the world judenrein.
That thugs beat a Jewish girl in Paris while telling her that it was revenge for Israeli attacks on Hamas goes well beyond the traditional bounds of protest. It was clear anti-Semitism reminiscent of similar events in European history. The lesson of the Holocaust is that Israel can and should expect neither fairness, honesty or justice from the world community. Israel can only depend on itself because anti-Semitism today remains not only tenacious, it is fashionable. The writer is executive director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. (Chicago Tribune)
Obama, West Can Help Gaza By Passing Up Hamas - Natan Sharansky (Bloomberg)
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