Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 26, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

PA Foreign Minister Threatens to Revert to Binational State Option - Jonathan D. Halevi (News First Class-Hebrew)
    Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa presented an uncompromising political stand similar to the PLO's "Plan of Stages" from 1974, according to an interview appearing in the London-based Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat on Sunday.
    "We're reaching the moment of truth," said al-Kidwa, adding that he saw two possibilities:
    The first - "the establishment of two states along the borders of the 1949 ceasefire lines"; the second - "the review of other solutions by the Palestinian people who require a different political plan and approach."
    Al-Kidwa means that the PA would adopt the old-new idea of a single state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.
    Arafat and Abu Ala made similar threats in 2004 to abandon the current political process and the objective of establishing an independent Palestinian state, in return for "a demand to receive equal rights in a single democratic state."

Israel Campus Beat
- September 25, 2005

Point Counter-Point:
    Should Hamas be Allowed to Participate in Palestinian Elections?

PA Sermon: Katrina Was Allah's Punishment - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
    PA religious leader Yusuf Abu Sneina, Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, preached on PA radio that the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina was Allah's punishment to the U.S. for fighting Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the PA, and for threatening Iran and Syria.
    He also repeated a common theme that America will fall like such earlier powers as "Persia and the Byzantine."

Hamas Will Not Become a Political Party After Elections - Saed Bannoura (IMEMC-PA)
    Hamas said it rejects becoming a political party after the upcoming Palestinian legislative elections.
    Hamas media spokesperson Moshir al-Masri said the movement will not transform into a political party as long as the Palestinian territories are still occupied.
    "Resistance is a legitimate and strategic right; Hamas will not disarm," al-Masri said.

U.S. Uses Israeli Ammunition in Iraq, Afghanistan (Islam Online-Qatar)
    The U.S. is buying Israeli small- and medium-caliber ammunition to make up for shortages due to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the British Independent reported Sunday.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Fire Missiles into Israel - Scott Wilson
    Palestinian gunmen fired a barrage of homemade missiles from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel before dawn Saturday, wounding five Israeli civilians. Israeli military officials said Islamic Jihad fighters fired more than 20 rockets toward the southern Israeli city of Sderot in the largest of three rocket attacks from Gaza over the past two days. (Washington Post)
  • Nuclear Agency Votes to Report Iran to UN - Mark Landler
    On Saturday, the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency voted to report Iran to the UN Security Council for violating its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The vote was 22 to 1 (Venezuela), with 12 countries abstaining including Russia and China. The European-drafted resolution declares Iran guilty of "many failures and breaches of its obligations." (New York Times)
        See also UN Agency Slaps Iran, But Gently - Alissa J. Rubin and Tyler Marshal (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Iran Rejects IAEA Resolution on Nuclear Program (VOA News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Sharon: Stop Rocket Fire by Any Means - Diana Bahur-Nir
    Prime Minister Sharon ordered Israeli security forces Sunday to use any means necessary to put an end to the barrage of some 40 Kassam rockets fired at Sderot and western Negev communities by Palestinians over the weekend. Operation "First Rain," which is not limited in time, was launched Sunday with the bombardment of several targets in Gaza and with the arrests of over 200 Palestinians in the West Bank, most of them from Hamas.
        The security cabinet convened Saturday evening and approved a series of operations to stop the rocket strikes, including artillery fire on Gaza targets, the renewal of targeted interceptions of terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza, strikes on Palestinian infrastructure, arrests of terror suspects, and a curb on the entry of Palestinians into Israel. On Sunday, "practice-fire" of artillery shells was conducted into open fields in Gaza. (Ynet News)
        See also Palestinian Rockets Hit Kibbutz School - Diana Bahur-Nir
    In the southern kibbutz of Nir-Am, residents are preparing to spend the night in bomb shelters. Two of the rockets fired at the kibbutz landed at the elementary school in the community Saturday, causing serious damage to classrooms. (Ynet News)
        See also Cabinet Orders Buffer Zones in Gaza to Keep Rockets Away from Israeli Communities - Amos Harel, Arnon Regular, and Nir Hasson
    The security cabinet Saturday ratified Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's proposal that the IDF be instructed to create buffer zones within the Gaza Strip in areas near the border, in order to move the rocket launchers away from Israeli communities. (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas: Hamas Irresponsibility Caused Gaza Rally Blast Friday - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    PA Chairman Abbas Saturday blamed Hamas for a deadly explosion at a rally in Gaza Friday that left at least 15 people dead when a pickup truck carrying masked militants and laden with weapons blew up. Hamas blamed Israel, but Palestinian security officials held Hamas responsible, saying militants apparently mishandled weapons. During the rally, Hamas paraded with weapons and explosives. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Airforce Kills Islamic Jihad Leader in Gaza - Efrat Weiss
    Senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Sheikh Mohammed Khalil was killed in an Israel Air Force missile strike in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. Palestinian sources said two people were killed in the attack and four others were wounded after the missile hit a vehicle. Sheikh Khalil was responsible, among other attacks, for the murder of the Hatuel family in Gaza, an attack that left a pregnant woman and her four daughters dead. Khalil is also responsible for a terror attack that killed five IDF soldiers in May 2004 at the Israeli-Egyptian border. (Ynet News)
        See also Islamic Jihad Leader Responsible for Murderous Terror Attacks (Foreign Ministry)
  • PA Weaker Than Ever - Amos Harel
    It is clear that the "Gaza envelope" of nearby communities is vulnerable after the disengagement. Hamas can still strike at Sderot at will. Palestinian Authority security forces did not lift a finger to keep the rockets from being fired at the Negev. It is becoming increasingly clear that the lull during the month after the Israel Defense Forces withdrawal was the result of a strategic decision by the terror organizations, and not of improved coordination between the IDF and the PA. The authority of the PA is looking weaker than ever - almost pathetic. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Boogeyman Banished - Shawn Macomber
    A truck full of Hamas members with (apparently not very well-produced) homemade weapons blew themselves up, killing sixteen of the Palestinians they purportedly exist to defend. The terror group immediately blamed their own deadly incompetence on the omniscient Jewish conspiracy. This is the problem the Palestinian people perpetually face: The epic failures of their quasi-leadership are never cured because they are never addressed. Like a child who does not want to own up to a mess it's made, Hamas simply ignored the evidence and started crying that the boogeyman did it. (American Spectator)
  • The "Apartheid Wall" - Editorial
    The "security fence" consists of two high-rise metal fences, topped by razor wire and equipped with sensor pads, movement detectors, spotlights, and infrared cameras. It's patrolled 24 hours a day by the military. No, we're not talking about Israel's security barrier. The "apartheid wall" described above surrounds Melilla which, together with Ceuta, is a leftover of Spain's colonial past in northern Africa. There's more than a hint of hypocrisy here. While Spain and much of Europe condemn Israel for building a security fence on disputed territory, the Socialist government in Madrid - which talks grandly of an "Alliance of Civilizations" - does exactly the same. Only, unlike in Israel's case, this wall isn't there to stop terrorists and save lives. It's intended to keep out Sub-Saharans looking for a better life. Spain even gets EU funding for it. (Wall Street Journal, 26Sep05)
  • No Sunshine Patriots We - Leonard Fein
    Some ask: Why not give in to the temptation to shunt Israel to the periphery of our consciousness? Is it so wrong to focus instead on Iraq, or Katrina or even what movie to see this week? For my generation, Israel is magical. Mine is a generation that remembers a world without an Israel, for whom Israel's birth was a transcendent event. We care about Israel, and we should, because it is the most compelling and consequential collective project of the Jewish people in our time, perhaps even of all time. Israel's failure would be more than bitter; it would be a poison from which the Jewish people could not and would not recover. (Forward)
  • When You Play with Fire... - Editorial
    In a vitriolic speech to the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Ahmadinejad declared Iran's inalienable right to enrich uranium and develop nuclear power. While it is important to respect Iran's sovereignty as much as possible, and it does have a right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to use peaceful nuclear power, Iran's history and motives demonstrate that allowing it to inch any closer to its goal would be to risk far too much. Iran's recent rejection of a very reasonable EU proposal to supply it with nuclear technology as long as the EU retained control over the actual nuclear material confirms that Iran has no intention of stopping with peaceful technology. The international community cannot allow Iran's intransigence to go unpunished once again. (Harvard Crimson)
  • Observations:

    Hamas: Our Main Goal Is to Establish a Great Islamic State - Yaniv Berman (Media Line)

    Mahmoud A-Zahhar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, said last week in an interview:

    • Q: If Israel withdraws from all the areas occupied after 1967, will this be the end of the resistance?
      A-Z: First of all we already agreed with the Palestinian factions on this plan. On the basis of this plan we can establish a state, after which we would engage in a long hudna (calm agreement), which would last for years.
    • Q: What is the final goal of Hamas?
      A-Z: If you ask any Palestinian or Muslim, wherever he lives - in America or in Britain or in Indonesia - he would tell you that according to the religious point of view, this land is part of the Arab and Muslim nations. This means that there is no other option but to reunify this land once again.
    • Q: What is 'this land' that you are talking about? Are you talking about the whole of Israel?
      A-Z: First of all this Palestinian land, and all the Arabic nation, is all part of the same area. In the past, there was no independent Palestinian state; there was no independent Jordanian state; and so on. There were regions called Iraq or Egypt, but they were all part of one country....Our main goal is to establish a great Islamic state, be it pan-Arabic or pan-Islamic.

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