Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 30, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

And Now: Calls for an Islamic Revolution in Jordan - Jonathan D. Halevi (NewsFirstClass-Hebrew)
    Islamic movements throughout the Middle East are lifting up their heads after Hamas's election victory.
    The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan is demanding "true democracy" from the Jordanian king in order to win in elections there, and is threatening a popular uprising if the government continues to ignore "the will of the people."

Israel Campus Beat
- January 29, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Hamas Won - What Now?

Shin Bet: Iran Could Fund Hamas-Run PA (Jerusalem Post)
    Shin Bet (Israel Security Services) head Yuval Diskin told cabinet ministers Sunday that Iran was considering giving financial aid to the Palestinians if Europe and the U.S. cease funding the PA in light of Hamas's election victory.
    See also Saudi Arabia Promises PA $100M - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)

Abbas Seeking to Keep PA Security Services from Hamas Control - Barak Ravid (Maariv-Hebrew)
    One of the greatest concerns in the PA today is the takeover by Hamas of the security sector.
    In recent days, the heads of all the security services have contacted PA Chairman Abbas to express their fear of Hamas controlling the Interior Ministry in the new Palestinian government.
    Abbas sought to calm them by stating that they all reported directly to him until further notice.
    Abbas told the senior officers that the National Security Council, which he heads, held ultimate authority for the security services.

Dichter: Abbas May Become a "Puppet Leader" (Ha'aretz)
    Former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter said on Sunday he doubted PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas would remain in power, except as a "puppet leader," following Hamas's election victory.
    He said Abbas may resign, or Hamas leaders could replace him with one of their own or another figurehead.
    Dichter said, "If tomorrow Ismail Haniya will become the minister of whatever, of health, he'll continue to be the generator of terror attacks from the Gaza Strip."
    "If we'll come to arrest him, a terrorist will not get any immunity just because he is a minister."

Hamas: PA Destroying Files, Giving Guns to Fatah - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas officials in Gaza City claimed that PA Interior Minister Nasser Youssef on Sunday instructed Palestinian security forces to destroy and hide files containing information gathered during the interrogation of hundreds of Hamas detainees over the past 12 years.
    They also claimed that security forces were emptying their storehouses of automatic rifles and handing them over to Fatah groups.
    The PA security forces consist solely of Fatah members who have made it clear in the past few days that they would not take orders from a Hamas-run cabinet.

Islamic Jihad Likely to Join Hamas-Led Government (Xinhuanet-China)
    Senior Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam said on Saturday that if Hamas forms a cabinet based on resistance against Israel, his group will seriously consider joining it.
    Senior Jihad leader Khaled al-Batch phoned Hamas leader Ismail Haniya to congratulate him.

    See also Syrian President Receives Hamas Politburo Chief (SANA-Syria)
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Mashaal and an accompanying delegation at al-Rawda Palace on Sunday, where he congratulated Mashaal on Hamas winning the elections.

Leading Kabbalist Rabbi Kadouri Dies, Funeral Draws 200,000 (Jerusalem Post)
    Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri, one of the best-known rabbis in Israel and the leading Sephardic kabbalist of his time, died Saturday in Jerusalem. He was believed to be over 100.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Aims to Use Aid Dollars to Sway Hamas - Paul Richter
    The Bush administration and Congress began trying to use the power of Western cash Friday to push a new Palestinian government dominated by the radical Islamic group Hamas toward moderation. In Congress, members of both chambers began crafting legislation that calls for further restrictions on U.S. aid to Palestinians if Hamas does not change its ways. The measures are expected to win approval in the next few days. (Baltimore Sun)
        See also U.S. Lawmakers: No Aid Unless Hamas Softens Stance - Mark Felsenthal
    "The United States Congress will not be giving money to a government that supports terrorism, that refuses to disarm its militias, that has as its goal in its charter the destruction of Israel," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. (Reuters)
  • Rice Rules Out Aiding Hamas-Led Government - Kevin Sullivan
    Secretary of State Rice said Sunday the U.S. would not provide financial assistance to a Palestinian government run by Hamas. "The United States is not prepared to fund an organization that advocates the destruction of Israel, that advocates violence." Rice said funding from the EU, Asian nations, the UN, and international financial institutions is in jeopardy if Hamas does not change its policies. "The bedrock principle here is we can't have funding for an organization that holds those views just because it is in government," Rice said. (Washington Post)
        See also Israel, Germany to Stop Fund Transfer to Hamas-Led PA - Aluf Benn
    Israel will not transfer NIS 200 million in January tax revenues earmarked for the Palestinian Authority, a senior government source in Jerusalem said Sunday in the wake of Hamas's victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections last week. The funds consist of value-added tax and customs revenues.
        "We are not prepared in any way or shape [that] money which the Israeli government transfers will come under control of murderous elements who are interested in the destruction of Israel," said Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "A Palestinian Authority [with Hamas in power] cannot be directly supported by money from the EU," Merkel said. "Germany would not hold talks with Hamas until it recognizes Israel's right to exist," she added. (Ha'aretz)
        See also German Chancellor: Hamas Must Recognize Israel's Right to Exist - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
  • On Hamas's Terms Now - Mohamad Bazzi
    Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas political bureau, scoffed Saturday at international threats to stop aid to the Palestinians and vowed that the group would not give up its arms to appease the West. He said he was willing to engage the U.S. and Europe - but on the group's own terms. "We do not recognize Israel, but this does not mean that we ignore reality and that there will be no period of calm," he said. (Newsday)
        See also Hamas Leader Sets Conditions for Truce
    Mahmoud al-Zahar, the top Hamas official in Gaza, told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" that a "long-term hudna or long-term truce" is possible if Israel retreats to its pre-1967 borders and releases Palestinian prisoners. (CNN)
        See also Hamas: Israel Must Change Its Flag
    Zahar told CNN, "Israel must remove the two blue stripes from its national flag....The stripes on the flag are symbols of occupation. They signify Israel's borders stretching from the River Euphrates to the River Nile." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iran to Use Missiles If Attacked, Military Chief Says
    Iran would retaliate with medium-range missiles if attacked, Yahya Rahim Safavi, commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guard, told state television Saturday, and he accused Britain and the U.S. of arming rebels within the country. "If we come under a military attack, we will respond with our very effective missile defense," he said. Military experts estimate that Iran's medium-range missile, the Shahab 3, can strike targets more than 1,200 miles away. That would put Israel, American military bases in the Persian Gulf region, and troops in Iraq within their range. The missiles are directly under the command of the Revolutionary Guard, a parallel military force that answers directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Reuters/New York Times)
        See also Iran Sets Up Secret Team to Infiltrate UN Nuclear Watchdog - Con Coughlin
    Iran has formed a top secret team of nuclear specialists to infiltrate the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the UN-sponsored body that monitors its nuclear program. Its target is the IAEA's safeguards division and its aim is to obtain information on the work of IAEA inspectors so that Iran can conceal the more sensitive areas of its nuclear research, according to information recently received by Western intelligence. The operation is being run by Hosein Afarideh, former head of the Iranian parliament's energy committee, who heads a three-man team at the headquarters of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran in Teheran to prevent more embarrassing disclosures about its nuclear facilities. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Mashaal: Palestine - From the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River - Jacki Hougi
    Hamas political bureau head Khaled Mashaal emphasized at a press conference in Damascus Saturday that there was no change in the quest to establish a Palestinian state on all the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. However, this would be accomplished in stages, like the "stages strategy" which the PLO declared in 1974. (Maariv-Hebrew, 29Jan06)
  • Fatah: Internal Intifada Has Begun - Ali Waked
    Hundreds of Fatah activists, including many gunmen, demonstrated in Nablus Saturday and announced that their leaders betrayed them. About 400 Fatah activists, including dozens of gunmen, took over the party's office in Bethlehem and demanded that Fatah leaders resign. On Friday, thousands of Fatah activists in Gaza City called on the Fatah leadership to quit. In Gaza, Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades gunmen fired rounds in the air, threw stones at the parliamentary building, and set ablaze a handful of cars belonging to foreign journalists. Thousands more demonstrated at Balata near Nablus. (Ynet News)
  • The World Is Watching - Danny Rubinstein
    Almost all of the Palestinians interviewed expressed confidence that Hamas will now agree to a long period of calm. There were also quite a few who saw Hamas's victory as a disaster. "Not a disaster for you, the Israelis, but a disaster for us, the Palestinians," said Ghassan Al-Khatib, the outgoing Palestinian planning minister.
        The Palestinian public and its leaders already know that the struggle against Israel for the attainment of their national goal is not a military one. The weapon of terrorism is ineffective, and it is condemned by virtually the entire world. Only the understanding and support of the international community, first and foremost Europe and the U.S., can lead the Palestinians to victory. And only financial aid from other countries enables them to exist. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharansky: Palestinian Elections "Not Democracy" - Gil Hoffman
    Wednesday's Palestinian election was not the same as democracy, Natan Sharansky said Sunday. "Democracy isn't hocus-pocus; it's a process. An election between a terrorist organization that wants to destroy the State of Israel and a corrupt dictatorship that does not care about helping its own people is not democracy." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hamas Victory Is Good News - Jeff Jacoby
    Hamas's lopsided win is an unambiguous reality check into the nature of Palestinian society. If there is one thing that the West badly needs, it is more realism and less delusion about the Palestinians. Palestinians are not stupid, and it insults their intelligence to pretend that when they vote to empower a genocidal organization with a platform straight out of Mein Kampf, what they're really after is better healthcare.
        The notion that Hamas now has ''a choice to make" is just another example of the delusional thinking that is so pervasive when it comes to the PA. Hamas's new duties are not going to turn it into a moderate group of diligent civil servants. When violent Islamists win political power, their brutality and zealotry do not diminish. (See Khomeini, Ayatollah and Taliban, Afghan). Like Hamas, Fatah - the PLO faction Abbas and Arafat co-founded 45 years ago - advocates Israel's destruction in its basic charter. Like Hamas, Fatah has an ''armed wing" - the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - that is guilty of horrific terror attacks. Fatah's emblem shows crossed rifles against a map of ''Palestine" that depicts all of Israel; on the Hamas emblem, the map is the same, but the crossed weapons are swords. (Boston Globe)
  • U.S. Policy Seen as Big Loser in Palestinian Vote - Glenn Kessler
    In the Rose Garden on June 24, 2002, President Bush said: "I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror." This week, Palestinians handed a landslide victory in national legislative elections to Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for dozens of suicide bombings and desires the elimination of Israel. Since the U.S. cannot deal with an organization labeled a terrorist organization by the State Department, Hamas's victory is likely to curtail U.S. aid, limit official U.S. contacts with the Palestinian government, and stall efforts to create an independent Palestinian state.
        Elections in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, and now the Palestinian territories have resulted in the defeat of secular and moderate parties and the rise of Islamic parties hostile to U.S. interests. Despite deep Israeli misgivings, the administration decided Hamas could participate in the elections even though it had not disarmed its militias, in contrast to rules set for elections in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. (Washington Post)
  • Can Hamas Be Tamed? - Brig.-Gen. Michael Herzog
    No Islamist movement has renounced violence or moderated its ideology of its own volition; when one has done so at all, it has been for lack of a better alternative. At least three factors need to be present for co-optation to occur: the existence of a strong, healthy, and relatively free political system into which the Islamists can be absorbed; a balance of power tilted against the Islamists that forces them to play by moderate rules; and sufficient time for co-optation to take effect. Unfortunately, in the case of Hamas, hardly any of these potentially moderating factors are present.
        With Hamas controlling Palestinian politics and national institutions, the immediate onus has shifted to outside players to create real incentives for Hamas to abandon its militancy and real disincentives to preserve it. Aid should also be designed to create a pragmatic Palestinian political center by revamping Fatah and encouraging reform-minded activists and parties. The fact that so many Palestinians regard Hamas as entirely legitimate does not mean that all other interested parties have to agree. The international community should clearly assert that democratic participation will confer legitimacy on Hamas only so long as the group renounces violence, disarms, and recognizes Israel's right to exist. The writer, former head of strategic planning for the Israel Defense Forces, is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Affairs)
  • A Predictable Victory in a Failed Palestinian State - Shlomo Avineri
    The Hamas victory is an indication of the total failure of the traditional Palestinian leadership to create a body politic. Palestine is not yet a state, but it is already a failed one. Arafat's Fatah-led PA spent more than 70% of its meager budget on a dozen competing security and intelligence services. It is not clear that the existing PA security services will allow a peaceful transfer of power. There has almost never been a peaceful transfer of power in any of the Arab League's 22 member states. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
  • Observations:

    Israel: PA Must Fulfill Commitments (Prime Minister's Office)

    Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued the following statement at Sunday's Cabinet meeting:

    1. The State of Israel upholds the Roadmap and continues to demand that PA Chairman Abbas carry out the commitment to dismantle all terrorist organizations and their infrastructures.
    2. The State of Israel will not conduct any negotiations with any Palestinian administration even part of which is composed of an armed terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.
    3. Israel will continue to act against the terrorist organizations wherever necessary.
    4. The State of Israel will work with the international community so that no dialogue is conducted with Hamas or with the PA before it and its chairman fulfill the following terms:
      1. The terrorist organizations are disarmed and the path of terrorism is abandoned;
      2. The existence of the State of Israel is recognized and the Hamas Covenant, which calls for Israel's destruction, is annulled;
      3. All agreements and understandings that were signed and entered into between Israel and the PA are recognized.

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