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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 21, 2009

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Purchases U.S. System to Intercept Gaza Rockets - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    Israel will purchase the Vulcan-Phalanx system from the U.S. for the protection of southern towns and strategic facilities from Palestinian rocket attacks.
    "The Vulcan-Phalanx cannons and radar will be part of a multi-layer defense to intercept rockets," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday.

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How to Release Hostages - Wayne Long (New York Times)
    During my 10 years as the chief security adviser for the UN in Somalia, my team and I negotiated releases in more than a dozen hostage cases.
    Our strategy was simple: UN assistance was withheld from the Somali clan or region by which or in which hostages were being held until those hostages were released. In every case there was a release, and in no case were hostages harmed or ransom paid.
    In 1995, for example, the water supply for Mogadishu, the capital, was shut off by the UN humanitarian agencies until a hostage who worked for another aid organization was released.
    On the first day of the shutoff, the women who collected water from public distribution points yelled at the kidnappers; on the second day they stoned them; on the third day they shot at them; on the fourth day, the hostage was released.
    The writer, a former Army colonel, was the UN's chief security officer in Somalia from 1993 to 2003.

Hamas TV Calls to Annihilate the Jews (MEMRI)
    From a Friday sermon on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV on April 3, 2009:
    "The Jews today are weaving their spider webs in order to encircle our nation like a bracelet encircles the wrist, and in order to spread corruption throughout the world."
    "Allah willing, the moment will come when their property will be destroyed and their sons annihilated, until not a single Jew or Zionist is left on the face of the Earth."

The Growing Threat of Radical Islamic Groups in Germany - David Perl (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Germany has been increasingly forced to confront "homegrown" Islamist terrorism, the threat of radicalized converts to Islam, and the threat of non-integrated Muslim immigrants.
    The most prominent radical Islamic groups operating in Germany include the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), Hizb ut-Tahir al-Islami (HuT), Hizbullah, and Milli Gorus (MG).

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Leader Sparks Walkout at UN over Israel - Frank Jordans
    Dozens of Western diplomats walked out of a UN conference in Geneva Monday when Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel the "most cruel and repressive racist regime." At the first mention of Israel, about 40 diplomats from Britain, France and other EU countries exited the room. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was disappointed the speech was used "to accuse, divide and even incite." "It was a totally unacceptable situation," he said. Ahmadinejad's speech was interrupted several times by cheers from the large Iranian delegation. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also U.S. Condemns Ahmadinejad's Anti-Israel Address
    U.S. officials roundly condemned Iranian President Ahmadinejad Monday for using an anti-racism conference in Geneva as a platform for lambasting Israel. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called the tirade "hateful rhetoric" and cited Ahmadinejad's behavior as one of the reasons the U.S. boycotted the UN conference. (FOX News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Netanyahu: Recognize Israel as the National State of the Jewish People
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday: "I would like to set one thing straight in advance simply because it has been in the media incorrectly today. We insist that the Palestinians - in any diplomatic settlement with us - will recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. The entire international community demands that we recognize the principle of two states for two peoples and we are discovering that this is two states but not for two peoples but two states for one people, or two states for a people-and-a-half. That is to say, there is no doubt that we are being asked to recognize the Palestinian state as the national state for the Palestinian people, but...the Palestinians have no intention of recognizing the national state of the Jewish people."
        "We have no intention of ruling over the Palestinians. We want for them to rule themselves, except for those powers that could threaten our security and our existence. But there is no doubt that we insist that they recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. We have never conditioned the start and existence of talks on advance agreement about this, but neither can we see progress on a future settlement without their agreement to this condition." (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Palestinian Refusal to Recognize the Jewish State of Israel First Surfaced at Annapolis
    The Palestinian Authority's intense objection to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, expressed with the formation of the new Israeli government, is not new. The issue of the two-state solution was a subject of dispute during the contacts held by the Israeli and PA negotiating teams in November 2007 when they tried to forge a joint document which would be ratified at the Annapolis meeting.
        Abu Alaa, head of the Palestinian negotiating team, said at the time that the Israeli demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state was "unacceptable." He added that the Palestinian side was completely opposed to a population exchange "inside" [i.e., within the State of Israel] and refused to relinquish the [so called] Palestinian refugees' right to return.
        Saeb Erekat, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, said of Prime Minister Olmert's demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state, that Israel wanted "something new." He said that recognizing Israel as a Jewish state could not even be discussed internationally. Nabil Abu Rudeina, PA presidential spokesman, said that the Palestinians had not agreed to a joint document because the Israelis raised an issue which was unacceptable for them: "They insist that the state is Jewish, and we did not accept that at all." (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
  • Israel Recalls Ambassador to Switzerland Over Ahmadinejad Meeting - Roni Sofer
    Israel's Ambassador in Switzerland Ilan Elgar was instructed to return to Jerusalem for consultations following Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz's meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said the move was made in protest of Switzerland's approach towards "a Holocaust denier who has spoken more than once about the need to wipe Israel off the map." On Monday, the Foreign Ministry summoned the head of Switzerland's diplomatic mission to Israel, Monika Schmutz-Kirgoz, for an "urgent discussion" to convey Israel's deep displeasure with the meeting Sunday between Ahmadinejad and Merz. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hamas' Bloody Hands - Richard Cohen
    A report issued Monday by Human Rights Watch says that "Hamas security forces or masked gunmen believed to be with Hamas" executed 18 people, most of whom were accused of collaborating with Israel, sparing the expense and bother of a trial. Others were shot, maimed or beaten for belonging to the opposition political party, Fatah. You can only imagine what would happen if Israel dealt with its internal political enemies or dissenters in such a fashion.
        No doubt the report will be ignored or dismissed in the greater cause of demonizing Israel. This has been the trend of late. But as much as some would like to criticize Israel - and I have done so myself - they still have a minimal obligation to acknowledge the difference in core values between Israel and its enemies. Critics who vilify Israel and romanticize Hamas clearly have never had the inexpressible pleasure of living in a place where a chance remark can get your legs riddled with lead. (Washington Post)
        See also Hamas Killing Political Foes - Hisham Abu Taha
    Gunmen linked to Hamas in Gaza killed at least 32 Palestinians and wounded dozens in attacks on political opponents and alleged informers during and after Israel's recent operation, Human Rights Watch said Monday. 18 Palestinians were killed by Hamas during the three-week war, and 14 others were killed afterward. In addition, 49 Gazans were shot in the legs by masked gunmen between Dec. 28 and Jan. 31, and 73 had their arms or legs broken. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • If Only Israel Would Get Over that Darned Holocaust - David Rothkopf
    Roger Cohen's piece, "Israel, Iran and Fear," in the Sunday New York Times essentially argued that Israel should get over the Holocaust in the way that Germany has. Yet an Israel that dropped its guard and accepted the promises of its neighbors at face value (or dismissed the threats of its neighbors as bombast) could very well have long ago ceased to exist.
        Cohen believes Israel needs to stop "overstating" the threats around it, and undermines his credibility further by quoting Jimmy Carter to support his argument. Yet those enemies are the ones continuously calling for the destruction of Israel, and the Iranians and the extremist mullahs throughout the region are not doing it just to prop up the Israeli PR machine. As we move toward an era in the region in which there will be more nuclear weapons and materials scattered about, we need realize that only one or two well placed devices (they can be delivered in VWs if missiles are unavailable) would have a devastating, perhaps permanently shattering impact on Israeli society. The writer is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (Foreign Policy)
  • Reviewing the Holocaust Anew - Yehuda Bauer
    Today for the first time since 1945, Jews are again threatened, openly, by a radical Islamic genocidal ideology. The nonpragmatic character of the genocide of the Jews is one of the elements that differentiate it from other genocides. Other elements were the desire to annihilate every single Jew; the idea that Jews everywhere should be treated the same way that they were being treated in Nazi Europe; and the fact that special industrial enterprises - death camps - were set up for the purpose of producing (Jewish) corpses - an unprecedented historical fact. The writer is professor (emeritus) of Holocaust studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)
        See also The Capture and Trial of Nazi War Criminal Adolf Eichmann Carries Timely Lessons in Justice - Neal Bascomb (Los Angeles Times)
  • Observations:

    Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    • Anti-Semitism is an age-old historic phenomenon. However, if anyone thought that after the horrors of the Holocaust, this malignant phenomenon will vanish from the world, today it is clear that they were, unfortunately, mistaken.
    • In our generation, only a few dozen years after the Holocaust, new forces arise, clearly and openly stating their intention to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the earth. And the response of the civilized world? Instead of a firm denunciation - at best, we hear a faint voice.
    • While we are marking the events of the Holocaust here at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, there are those who chose to participate in a spectacle of hatred of Israel, conducted at this very hour in the heart of Europe.
    • We express our appreciation to those important countries which chose to boycott this demonstration of hatred - including the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Holland, Poland, Australia and New Zealand, as well as representatives who left the hall during the hateful words of the Iranian president.
    • We will not allow Holocaust deniers to carry out another Jewish Holocaust.

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