Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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February 9, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian Rocket Lands Near Ashkelon Power Station - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket that landed close to a sensitive infrastructure installation near Ashkelon on Wednesday.
    The Associated Press reported that the rocket landed close to the Ashkelon power station.

Palestinians Kidnap Egyptian Military Attache in Gaza - Ali Waked (Ynet News-Hebrew)
    Armed Palestinians on Thursday kidnapped Husam al-Masri, the military attache at the Egyptian consulate in Gaza.
    See also Egypt Disengages from the PA - Ben Caspit (Maariv-Hebrew)
    Tens of Egyptian security experts, sent into Gaza after the Israeli disengagement to train PA security forces, have been called home in the wake of the Hamas election victory.
    With this step, Egypt has signaled that it does not look with favor on the rise of the Islamic fundamentalists.

Syrian Ex-VP, Muslim Brotherhood Join against Assad - Nadim Ladki (Reuters)
    Former Syrian Vice President Abdel-Halim Khaddam and Ali Bayanouni, the exiled leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, agreed on Wednesday in Brussels to join forces to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

International Observers Leave Hebron After Riot - Joshua Brilliant (UPI)
    The international observer force based in the West Bank city of Hebron left Wednesday under Israeli military protection after Palestinian rioters attacked its headquarters.

Swedish Soldiers Attacked in Afghanistan over Cartoons (The Local-Sweden)
    Soldiers in the Nordic peacekeeping force based in Meymaneh in Afghanistan have been attacked by hundreds of demonstrators armed with guns and hand grenades.
    The rioters, protesting against cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, tried to storm the Norwegian-led peacekeeping base in the town.
    Two Dutch F16 aircraft fired warning shots to disperse the crowd, and at least five Norwegians were injured.

Militant Islam's Energy - Mark Steyn (Chicago Sun-Times)
    Say what you like about the Islamic world, they show tremendous initiative and energy and inventiveness, at least when it comes to threatening death to the infidels every 48 hours for one perceived offense or another.
    If only it could be channeled into, say, a small software company, what an economy they'd have.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel, U.S. Tackle Hamas Dilemma - Glenn Kessler
    Secretary of State Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Livni met Wednesday in Washington and urged the emerging Palestinian government led by Hamas to recognize Israel and renounce violence. Israel is trying to hold together an international consensus that a Hamas-led government is unacceptable, fully aware that, as the shock of the election result wears off, there will be pressure to work with the Palestinian government and provide assistance to the Palestinian people.
        The election victory of Hamas in effect turned back the clock of Middle East diplomacy by two decades, as the U.S. once again tries to cajole Palestinian leaders to recognize Israel's right to exist. According to an Israeli official, Livni told Rice that the window of opportunity that opened after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was "slammed shut."
        Israel this week paid a monthly installment of about $50 million in taxes and customs duties owed to the PA, but Livni said the payments would end as soon as Hamas entered the government. If the new government does not recognize previous agreements between Palestinians and Israelis, then Israel will not be required to fulfill this one, she said. (Washington Post)
  • Rice: Iran and Syria Incited Danish Cartoon Violence
    U.S. Secretary of State Rice has accused Iran and Syria of fuelling anti-Western sentiment, in a row over cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. "I don't have any doubt that...Iran and Syria have gone out of their way to inflame sentiments and to use this to their own purposes. And the world ought to call them on it," she said. (BBC News)
        See also Iran's Khamenei Says Israel Behind Danish Cartoons
    Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated on Tuesday that the publication of the cartoons was a ''conspiracy by Zionists who were angry because of the victory of Hamas.'' (Al Bawaba-Jordan)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Terrorists Attack Gaza Crossing
    Two Palestinian terrorists opened fire and hurled grenades at the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel Thursday. IDF soldiers killed the terrorists in the ensuing gun battle. No soldiers were hurt. The attack was carried out by Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Popular Resistance Committees. Israeli officials raised questions regarding the conduct of the Palestinian police, whom the terrorists passed en route to the crossing. (Ynet News)
        See also PA Had Advance Word of Gaza Crossing Attack - Amos Harel
    PA security forces knew in advance that militants in Gaza were planning an attack at the Erez crossing into Israel, Israeli defense officials said Thursday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Fatah Returns to Terrorism - Amos Harel, Nir Hasson, and Gideon Alon
    Some elements of the Fatah military wing have recently resumed terror activities following Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections. Col. Yuval Bezek, commander of the Samaria Brigade, said this week, "Since Fatah lost in the elections, people who belong to the organization have returned to terror attacks in full force."
        The head of the Military Intelligence research department, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday that the increase in attempts at carrying out terror attacks reflects a desire on the part of Islamic Jihad and the Fatah military wing "to challenge Hamas" and return to the forefront of terrorism targeting Israel. In Gaza, Al-Aqsa Brigades members have recently shown increasing involvement in firing Kassam rockets, along with Islamic Jihad. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Turn Up the Heat - Ze'ev Schiff
    There is clearly no choice but to respond more forcefully to the launching of Kassam rockets on targets considered strategic in the Ashkelon area, or on Negev communities like Sderot, whether by firing on populated areas, by inserting military forces into the northern Gaza Strip, or by cutting off the electricity. (Ha'aretz)
  • Three Myths About the Iran Conflict - Mel Levine, Alex Turkeltaub, and Alex Gorbansky
    While Iran holds the world's second-largest reserves of oil and gas and is the fourth-largest oil producer, it is in fact a net importer of refined oil products, including gasoline. Thus, sanctions that prevented Iran from importing gasoline could bring its economy to a grinding halt. Perhaps more important, the subsequent shortages would disproportionately affect President Ahmadinejad's political base, the urban underclass and lower-middle class, as well as the military.
        Russia has far more to fear from Iran's nuclear program in the long term than does the U.S. or Europe. Iran's support of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism across the Middle East and Central Asia is a direct challenge to Russian interests in territories that are still considered by Moscow to be within its sphere of influence. (Washington Post)
  • In a Single Night - Edward N. Luttwak
    There may be perfectly valid reasons to oppose an attack on Iran's nuclear sites, but let's not pretend that such an attack has no chance of success. In fact, the odds are rather good. The claim that to stop Iran's program all of its nuclear sites must be destroyed is simply wrong. It is enough to demolish a few critical installations in a single night to delay its program for years - and perhaps longer because it would become harder for Iran to buy the materials it bought when its efforts were still secret. Some of these installations may be thickly protected against air attack, but it seems that their architecture has not kept up with the performance of the latest penetration bombs.
        Destroyed items cannot be easily replaced by domestic production. More than 35% of Iran's gasoline must now be imported because the capacity of its foreign-built refineries cannot be expanded without components currently under U.S. embargo, and which the locals cannot copy. Aircraft regularly fall out of the sky because Iranians are unable to reverse-engineer spare parts. The writer is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (Wall Street Journal, 8Feb06)
  • What the Cartoons Have Revealed - Martin Peretz
    It seems that the Islamicists believe that they cannot simply disagree vehemently with those who offend them. They seem incapable of simply opposing. Killing - or threatening to kill - seems to be a reflex with enough of them to make militant Islam a danger. Yes, the Danes assert, minorities have rights. But majorities do also, and among them is the right to survive with their culture and norms not being under siege. The Europeans still have an attachment to their liberties, including their press liberties. The countries of Europe will not take instructions on how to run a civil politics or how to preserve their culture from those whose habits have not yet caught up with the Magna Carta or the Declaration of the Rights of Man. (New Republic)
  • Guardian Report on Israel and Apartheid Mistaken - Benjamin Pogrund
    This week the Guardian published a two-part report about Israel and apartheid. I spent most of my life in South Africa, working as a journalist who specialized in exposing apartheid. Nearly three years ago I underwent an operation in a Jerusalem hospital. The surgeon was Jewish, the anaesthetist was Arab. The doctors and nurses who looked after me were Jews and Arabs. I lay in bed for a month and watched as they gave the same skilled care to other patients - half of whom were Arabs and half of whom were Jewish - all sharing the same wards, operating theaters, and bathrooms. After that experience I have difficulty understanding anyone who equates Israel with apartheid South Africa. What I saw in the Hadassah Mt. Scopus hospital was inconceivable in South Africa. The writer was deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg. (Guardian-UK)
  • Observations:

    A Manifesto for Murder - Daniel Jonah Goldhagen (Los Angeles Times)

    • Much has been said about the Hamas charter's call for the destruction of Israel and the need for Hamas to renounce this goal as the condition for being granted international legitimacy, economic aid, and diplomatic recognition. But an examination of the charter reveals that Hamas is not just dedicated to the destruction of Israel. It shows Hamas to be governed by a Nazi-like genocidal orientation to Jews in general.
    • As a lifelong student of Nazism and its radical murderousness, I have always been extremely reluctant to use the epithet "Nazi" for other reprehensible, anti-Semitic, or genocidal movements. Whatever the other differences, the anti-Semitism and the murderous logic that form the principal content and rhetorical structure of this charter and this political party are unmistakably Nazi-like with regard to Jews.
    • Hamas' charter should not be dismissed as just words, and all that it contains would not be nullified even if Hamas, under pressure, renounced its goal to destroy Israel. Seldom in the modern world has a political party enshrined such hallucinatory hatred and overt murderousness against another people in its constitution, and more seldom still has such a party taken power.
    • The Nazi Party Program of 1920 also contained much anti-Semitism, but compared to Hamas' charter, its demonology and prescriptions were tame.
    • When political parties and political leaders speak the language of annihilation openly, we should take them at their word. The last 100 years have shown that those expressing murderous dreams, like Hitler, mean it.

      The writer, a member of Harvard's Center for European Studies, is the author of Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust.

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