Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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February 13, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Ahmadinejad: Israel "Will Be Removed"  (DPA/Bangkok Post)
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that the Palestinians and "other nations" will eventually remove Israel from the region.
    "We ask the West to remove what they created sixty years ago and if they do not listen to our recommendations, then the Palestinian nation and other nations will eventually do this for them," Ahmadinejad said in a ceremony marking the 27th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
    He once again called the Holocaust a "fairy tale" and said Europeans have become hostages of "Zionists" in Israel.

Israel Campus Beat
- February 12, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Is There a "Demographic Threat" to Israel?

Report: Al-Qaeda Seeking Beirut Base (Jerusalem Post)
    Lebanese Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat said Sunday that Syria was facilitating al-Qaeda infiltrations into Lebanon.
    He said the Lebanese Security forces recently dismantled two bands of terrorists suspected of belonging to the al-Qaeda network.
    "We know that for four or five months al-Qaeda has been trying to establish a presence in Lebanon," he said.
    The minister further claimed that al-Qaeda was behind the rocket attacks on Israel in December, thereby strengthening Al-Qaeda in Iraq chief Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi's declaration of responsibility.

Foreign Aid to Palestinians: $3,000 Per Family Per Year - Saleh al Naamani, Nadia Aylouni, and Nadhir Majalli (Asharq Alawsat-UK)
    Rami Abdo, a former economic expert with the World Bank, said every Palestinian receives on average $350 in aid annually - with every family typically receiving $3,000 per year - but most Palestinian citizens do not benefit from this aid because of the PA's mismanagement.

Fatah Elects New Parliament Faction Leader (DPA/Ha'aretz)
    Azzam al-Ahmed of Jenin defeated Mohammad Dahlan of Khan Yunis for the post of opposition leader in the Palestinian parliament by a vote of 20 to 17.
    Fatah won 45 seats out of 132 in the recent election.

Israelis Credit TV for Pacifying Prisoners - Mark Lavie (AP/Washington Post)
    In the year since the first TV set was installed in the Ketziot prison, there have been no serious disturbances by Palestinian security prisoners that required tear gas for dispersal, the Israeli army weekly Bamahane reports.
    The prison commander, Lt. Col. Avi, said the security prisoners spend their time watching television instead of planning disturbances.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Prepares Military Blitz Against Iran's Nuclear Sites - Philip Sherwell
    Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a "last resort" to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb. Central Command and Strategic Command planners are identifying targets, assessing weapon-loads, and working on logistics for an operation to thwart the Islamic republic's nuclear bomb ambitions. "This is more than just the standard military contingency assessment," said a senior Pentagon adviser. "This has taken on much greater urgency in recent months." "There is only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option and that is a nuclear-armed Iran," Sen. John McCain said recently. (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
        See also Pentagon Plans to Derail Iranian Atomic Bomb Test - Philip Sherwell
    Iran has drawn up designs for a deep underground tunnel with remote-controlled heat and pressure sensors as part of what Western intelligence officials believe are preparations for a secret atomic test. Richard Perle, a senior defense official at the time of the Iraq war, said that 12 B2 bombers, each carrying dozens of precision-guided weapons, could deliver a serious blow to Iran's nuclear ambitions. Perle and Dan Goure, vice-president of the Lexington Institute defense think-tank, believe America is better equipped to carry out the attacks than Israel. (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
  • Iran Is Prepared to Retaliate, Experts Warn - Bryan Bender
    Iran is prepared to launch attacks using long-range missiles, secret commando units, and terrorist allies planted around the globe in retaliation for any strike on the country's nuclear facilities, according to new U.S. intelligence assessments. Obtained with the assistance of North Korea, Shahab 3 long-range missiles could be tipped with chemical warheads and strike Israel and U.S. military bases in the region. Iran is believed to have at least 20 launchers that are frequently moved around the country to avoid detection.
        Iran purchased at least a dozen X-55 cruise missiles from Ukraine in 2001 that are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as far as Italy. Intelligence officials also point out that Iran controls a small island at the mouth the Strait of Hormuz and could use missiles and gunboats to temporarily shut off access to the economically vital Persian Gulf, sparking an oil crisis. (Boston Globe)
        See also Thousands Would Die in U.S. Strikes on Iran, Says Study - Ewen MacAskill
    A report, "Iran: Consequences of a War," written by Professor Paul Rogers and published Monday by the Oxford Research Group, says attacks on Iranian facilities, most of which are in densely populated areas, would be surprise ones, allowing no time for evacuations or other precautions. Rogers, of the University of Bradford's peace studies department, says: "A military operation against Iran would a short-term matter but would set in motion a complex and long-lasting confrontation." (Guardian-UK)
  • Rumsfeld Anxious Over Russian Arms Sales - Demetri Sevastopulo and Peter Spiegel
    U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Friday expressed concerns about Russian arms sales but dismissed concerns that the U.S.-Russian defense relationship was deteriorating. "The U.S. prefers that countries not sell weapons to countries on the terrorist list," Rumsfeld said, adding that he was particularly concerned about arms sales to countries such as Iran and Syria that the U.S. says are supporting the insurgency in Iraq. (Financial Times-UK)
  • Rice: Putin Will Insist Hamas Recognize Israel
    Secretary of State Rice told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday: "On Hamas, yes, the Russians make the point that they, unlike us, have not listed Hamas as a terrorist organization. Let me be very clear. Hamas is a terrorist organization for us and for the European Union. But Russia is signed on to a Quartet statement...that says a Palestinian government must recognize Israel's right to exist, must give up violence, must accept the two-state solution and so on. The Russians assure us, after President Putin's comments, that anything that they say to Hamas will simply be to reinforce that message." (State Department)
        See also Israel Notes Hamas-Chechen Link - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Hanan Greenberg
    Palestinians fired three rockets at southern Israel on Sunday. Over the weekend, at least five attempts to fire rockets at Israel were identified. (Ynet News)
        See also Palestinian Groups Fire Rockets at Israel
    Three armed Palestinian factions Sunday claimed responsibility for firing rockets at Israel from Gaza: Islamic Jihad's Saraya al-Quds; Fatah's armed wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades; and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's armed wing, Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades. (UPI)
  • Azerbaijan an Ally of Israel in Iran Nuke Crisis - Yaakov Katz
    Foreign diplomats stationed in Azerbaijan said over the weekend that Azerbaijan, wedged in between Russia and Iran, was a strategic partner to the U.S. and Israel. "Azerbaijan regards militant political Islam as a threat to itself," a senior U.S. diplomat said. 20 million Azeris live in northern Iran. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who was leading a 100-person delegation to the country, said, "Azerbaijan takes its relationship with Israel very seriously and they could play a key role in the Iranian showdown."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Archbishop of Canterbury Apologizes for Divestment - George Conger
    Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams wrote to British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Feb. 10 to apologize for the Church of England's vote last week to divest from companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in the territories. Williams expressed his "deep regret" for the "deep distress" caused by the vote, and said the church has been misunderstood and had "not resolved to disinvest." Williams acknowledged that the timing of the Synod vote was "unfortunate," following closely upon the Hamas electoral victory, but stated that the church had "emphatically not" recommended a boycott or compromised its "commitment to oppose any form of anti-Semitism at home or abroad." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Dictators Behind Those Muslim Cartoon Protests - Editorial
    We are dealing here with the premodernism of much of modern-day Islam, meaning the apparent unwillingness of too many Muslims to place reason above "honor" and deal proportionately with intellectual provocations. The Western philosophical tradition is founded on the belief that the execution of Socrates for blaspheming the gods of Athens was an injustice.
        What we have witnessed isn't the proverbial rage of the Arab street. It's an orchestrated effort by illiberal regimes, colluding with fundamentalist clerics, to conjure the illusion of Muslim rage for their own political purposes. There is a conflict all right, not between civilizations, but within one, and it pits those who would make Islam barbaric and those who would keep it civilized. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also The Cartoon Jihad - Olivier Guitta
    It is now abundantly clear that the protests over cartoons of Muhammad were anything but spontaneous. The actions of Islamist agitators and financiers have deliberately drummed up rage among far-flung extremists. The usual suspects - Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran - have profited from the spread of the disorders, and even Kuwait has reportedly offered funds to spur demonstrations throughout France. More important, and perhaps less widely understood, the cartoon jihad is tailor-made to advance the Muslim Brotherhood's long-term worldwide strategy for establishing Islamic supremacy in the West. (Weekly Standard)
        See also Major Anti-Semitic Motifs in Arab Cartoons - Joel Kotek (JCPA)
  • Would Iranians Rally 'Round the Flag? - Edward N. Luttwak
    The argument that ruling regimes, even unpopular ones, are strengthened by outside attacks, because the bombarded nation rallies around its rulers, does not apply to Iran. Iran is a multinational empire dominated by Persians, much as the Soviet Union was once dominated by Russians. Except that in this case, the Persians only account for just over half the population of Iran (making them a smaller proportion than the Russians were in the final days of the Soviet Union). No scholar who studies Iran would dispute that there is a very strong Persian identity and pride of ownership in ruling Iran among the Persians, but only a very weak sense of Iranian participation among non-Persians. To the extent that the different nationalities each have their own identities and oppose the essentially Persian regime, they are likely to applaud external attacks on the nuclear installations rather than rally to the defense of their rulers. The writer is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Observations:

    The EU Must Not Fund Terrorism - Charles Tannock (Jerusalem Post)

    • Not all of us in Brussels are shocked by the emergence of Hamas as a democratically elected political party. For more than a decade the Palestinian Authority under Fatah allowed the Palestinian elite to pocket aid money at will. The EU knew that plunder was endemic in the PA, and chose to ignore it.
    • The fact that the EU sent $350 million every year to the PA makes Brussels a party to this corruption and indirectly responsible for the situation we now find ourselves in with Hamas.
    • Back in 2003, I and other MEPs raised this issue with the European Commission, which is responsible for distributing aid money. We called for an investigation into the wanton misappropriation of Palestinian funds. There was huge resistance from the commission, which has always been sympathetic to the Palestinians and seen itself as a counterbalance to America's support for Israel. We did get our inquiry, hamstrung though it was by a diluted mandate. The outcome was a whitewash, and we were not allowed to debate the inquiry's findings.
    • The EU sees the election of Hamas as a dilemma. I don't consider it a dilemma, whether or not to negotiate with and fund a terrorist group committed to Israel's annihilation. We in the EU need to have faith in our core values. Hamas is committed to a global jihad through violence comparable to the suicide bombings that killed 52 people in July last year in London, the city I represent. Hamas may have won power democratically, but it seeks the creation of a global Islamic theocracy under Shari'a law.
    • Would any European Union country allow such a party to participate in national elections? Of course not. To deal with and subsidize a Hamas which stirs up violence and preaches death to Israel would be to show the EU as a soft touch on terrorism. We would be storing up immense trouble for ourselves in the future.

      The writer, a member of the European Parliament, is Foreign Affairs Spokesman for the UK Conservative delegation and Vice-President of the Parliament's Human Rights subcommittee.

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