Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
IDF: At Least 700 Terrorists, 250 Civilians Died in Gaza Fighting - Hanan Greenberg
Hamas Tried to Hijack Ambulances During Gaza War - Jason Koutsoukis (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
EU Takes Iran Opposition Group Off Terror List - Mark John
Britain's BBC, Sky News Refuse to Air Gaza Charity Appeal - Luke Baker
Israel to Close Emergency Clinic for Palestinian War Casualties - Meital Yasur Beit-Or (Ynet News)
The Battle for Hearts and Minds (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
An Israeli soldier was reported killed close to the border with Gaza Tuesday in what Palestinians said was an attack by militants in breach of cease-fire declarations. Palestinians living near Kissufim crossing said they had seen a small group of gunmen moving toward the border fence. They later heard explosions and gunfire. (Reuters-Washington Post)
Senior EU official Louis Michel has blamed Hamas for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The humanitarian aid chief said Hamas bore "overwhelming responsibility" for the destruction. He said there would be no dialogue with the "terrorist" movement until it gave up violence and recognized Israel. "At this time we have to also recall the overwhelming responsibility of Hamas," he said. "I intentionally say this here - Hamas is a terrorist movement and it has to be denounced as such." (BBC News)
The German newspaper Handelsblatt said Chancellor Angela Merkel had instructed Michael Glos, the economics minister, to stop all federal credit guarantees covering exports to Iran. The action follows mounting criticism from the U.S. and Israel over Berlin's failure to rein in exports to Iran, despite a range of UN sanctions. In the first 11 months of last year German companies exported goods worth 3.6 billion euros to Iran, an increase of 10.5% on the same period in 2007. (Financial Times-UK)
When Hamas called for a rally to celebrate what it has been calling a historic victory over the Israelis, the citizens of Gaza voted with their feet - they stayed at home. In the past Hamas could easily call tens of thousands into the streets, but this time only party stalwarts could look around the devastation and believe this could be victory. Hamas supporters claim that many more Israelis died in the war than Tel Aviv's official count of 13 dead. Likewise they believe the official Hamas announcement that Israel killed only 48 fighters. But that raises another question: if so few Hamas fighters died, were they really out there fighting? (BBC News)
See also Gaza in Ruins: Who Has Won Here? - Ulrike Putz
Mohammed Sadala's rage is aimed at the man whose remains he found in his bedroom: a Hamas fighter. He and a comrade broke into the home after the Sadala family fled. The Hamas men shot at the approaching Israelis from the balcony. The soldiers fired back, killing the militants and destroying the house in the process. Standing before the rubble of his house, Abu Abed, 60, says, "Many people are now against Hamas, but that won't change anything because anyone who stands up to them is killed." "There will never be a rebellion against Hamas. It would be suicide," says a neighbor who doesn't want to give his name. (Der Spiegel-Germany)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel is closely tracking an Iranian freighter believed to be carrying weaponry for Hamas that is currently docked in the Red Sea outside the Suez Canal. "So far the Egyptians have prevented the ship from crossing the Suez and we hope it will stay that way," a senior defense official said. Defense officials said Iran is trying to supply Hamas with new Grad-Katyusha rockets and high-grade explosives. The IDF is concerned that Iran will supply Hamas with long-range Fajr missiles that are capable of reaching Tel Aviv. (Jerusalem Post)
Haidar Ghanem, 46, of Rafah, a Palestinian human rights activist and journalist who used to work for the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, was executed by Hamas on Jan. 7 on charges of "collaboration" with Israel, Palestinians in Gaza said. (Jerusalem Post)
See also PA Court Sentences Palestinian to Death for Collaborating with Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
A Palestinian Authority "military court" in Hebron on Sunday sentenced another Palestinian to death by firing squad on suspicion of "collaboration" with Israel. The 28-year-old man, who used to serve in the PA's elite Presidential Guard, is the eighth Palestinian to receive the death sentence in the past few months. Presiding Judge Ahmed Abu Dayyah said in his verdict that the accused had been found guilty of collaboration with the "enemy." Defense lawyer Yusef al-Ribie told the court that his client had been tortured during interrogation. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Hamas wants bad things to happen to its own people. This will mobilize the "Arab street" and the world's media against Israel while demonstrating its absolute imperviousness to pain. "Bring it on" is great for Hamas' credibility, pride and honor, but for the purpose of statehood, it would behave very differently. Double-statehood is not the Palestinians' no. 1 priority. They want it all, and if they can't get it, they would rather nurse their honor, pride and sense of righteous victimhood than engage in the sordid business of compromise.
Never again will Israel vacate territory without making sure that it won't turn into a strategic springboard against the heartland. It will insist on a strategic presence in the Jordan Valley. Nor can Israel yield military control over the West Bank. The upside is that today Palestine is less than ever the "core" of the Middle East conflict. The real issue is Iran and its reach for regional hegemony.
Iran will use its power, through its proxies, to demolish whatever deal might be hashed out by Israel and the PA. Iran's object is to intimidate America's Arab supporters and to eliminate Israel as America's strongest regional ally. So for the Obama administration, Israel/Palestine has become an intractable sideshow on a vastly enlarged stage. The writer is publisher-editor of Die Zeit, and a fellow at the Institute for International Studies and the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
It is widely believed that the PA in Ramallah only pays the salaries of civil service employees in Gaza to encourage them to stay at home to avoid working with Hamas. However, PA Prime Minister Fayyad also pays the monthly salaries of between 6,000 and 12,000 Hamas Executive Force operatives in Gaza, in line with the 2007 Mecca national unity agreement, as well as to Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorists.
The U.S. must avoid the temptation of once again blindly relying on Fatah as the sole security and reconstruction subcontractor for Gaza. The Obama administration must implement tough and verifiable directives to facilitate internal Palestinian housecleaning: no militias, good governance, complete accountability, full transparency, effectiveness, and zero tolerance for corruption, gangsterism, and terror within PA ranks. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
New U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell has not endorsed the view that calls for finding ways to engage Hamas in diplomacy. There is no hint that the Obama-Clinton team intends on dipping its toes in the Hamas waters without Hamas first meeting stiff international conditions for dialogue.
A prediplomacy strategy should include the following elements: Stabilize the truce by securing broad international contribution to and support of Egyptian-Israeli countersmuggling efforts. Use the funds and process of Gaza reconstruction to further erode Hamas' standing. Invest quickly and robustly in the Dayton and Blair agendas in the West Bank. Work to adapt, not merely adopt, the Arab peace initiative to provide a regional context to Israeli-PA cooperation. The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Obama Calls for New U.S. Partnership with Muslim World (Huffington Post)
In his first formal interview as president, Barack Obama told Arabic TV network Al-Arabiya on Monday:
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