Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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March 16, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Aznar: Khamenei Said in 2001 Iran Aimed to "Set Israel Alight" and Destroy the U.S. - Yossi Verter (Ha'aretz)
    Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar said Tuesday that Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told him five years ago that "setting Israel on fire" was the first order of business on the Iranian agenda.
    "He received me politely and at the beginning of the meeting he explained to me why Iran must declare war on Israel and the United States until they are completely destroyed."

Hamas Visit to Turkey Deepens Secular-Islamist Rift (MEMRI)
    The Feb. 16 visit to Ankara by a Hamas delegation headed by Khaled Mashaal sparked a heated controversy in the Turkish media.
    The architect of the visit was AKP MP Ahmet Davutoglu, foreign policy advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and a proponent of closer ties with Islamic countries, and the invitation had been extended by the AKP as a political party - with Erdogan's approval - and not by the Turkish government.
    The secular, mainstream media was very critical of the visit and of the AKP government for undermining Turkey's firm anti-terror position by dealing with a terrorist organization.

IDF Expecting New Round of Palestinian Violence - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Expecting a new round of Palestinian violence, the IDF has begun conducting intensive training exercises with an emphasis on urban warfare to prepare troops for fighting within Palestinian cities, a senior field officer said.
    "We are bringing all of the battalions and the companies in for training in advance of the possibility there will be a new conflict," the senior officer said.
    "We are focusing mostly on urban warfare similar to the fighting inside Palestinian cities."
    Once Hamas obtained control of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service and possibly additional PA security branches, Israel could find itself facing a semi-institutionalized army of 20,000 Hamas terrorists, a Civil Administration officer said recently.

Palestinian Textbooks Continue to Incite (Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center)
    An examination of Palestinian 5th and 10th grade textbooks for the 2004-2005 school year shows a continuing denial of the State of Israel's right to exist and a continuing cultivation of the value of armed struggle against Israel.
    The books contain incitement against the State of Israel and the Zionist movement.

Useful Reference:

Hamas in Power (Israeli Consulate, NY)

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Related Publications:
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Fury at Jail Raid Shows No Sign of Abating - Simon Freeman
    The last of the foreign hostages kidnapped in retaliation for Israel's dramatic raid on a Jericho jail were released Wednesday, but Palestinian anger that triggered the wave of kidnaps and arson attacks showed little sign of abating. Thousands gathered in Ramallah, Nablus, and Hebron carrying portraits of Ahmed Saadat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). (Times-UK)
        See also Palestinian Terrorists in Jericho Served Their Time in Style - Stephen Farrell
    Ahmed Saadat, a leading militant captured by Israeli troops in Jericho, kept birds and flowers in his quarters, and used other prisoners as "domestic staff." Fuad Shobaki smoked up to five Cuban cigars a day and was known as "The Brigadier." "Saadat and Shobaki were very much in charge," one prison source said. "These guys were running the prison. They did what they wanted, when they wanted." U.S. and British monitors reported that the six prisoners had access to computers, mobile phones, and were not "locked down" at night. (Times-UK)
        See also Abrupt End to Sweet Life - Michelle Green (New York Daily News)
  • UN Approves New Human Rights Council Over U.S. Opposition - Warren Hoge
    The UN Wednesday approved a new Human Rights Council to replace the widely discredited Human Rights Commission. The vote was 170 to 4, with Israel joining the U.S. in opposing the resolution. (New York Times)
        See also below Commentary: Human Rights Botch - Editorial (New York Post)
  • Bush to Reaffirm Doctrine of Preemptive War - Peter Baker
    President Bush plans to issue a new national security strategy Thursday reaffirming his doctrine of preemptive war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. The strategy expands on the security framework developed by the Bush administration in September 2002 that shifted U.S. foreign policy away from decades of deterrence and containment toward a more aggressive stance of attacking enemies before they attack the U.S. (Washington Post)
  • Gaza Clinic a Lesson in Chaos - Scott Wilson
    Shifa Hospital, the Gaza Strip's primary public health center, is a nearly perfect reflection of the rough world outside its walls. Gaza's gunmen demand at rifle-point that friends and relatives receive scarce medications or costly transfers to Egypt or Israel for care. The deputy health minister reacted to recent threats by fleeing to the West Bank. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Soldier Killed During Arrest Raid in Jenin - Amos Harel
    IDF Staff Sergeant Ido Shapira, 20, was killed Thursday by Palestinian gunmen during an arrest raid in Jenin. The soldier was shot while IDF paratroopers surrounded a house and exchanged fire with five wanted Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades gunmen inside. Also Thursday, Palestinian gunmen wounded two Israeli security guards on the road between Tapuah and Hawara in the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Ponders Legal Status of Jericho Terrorists - Dan Izenberg
    Israel's Justice Ministry announced on Wednesday it would be holding meetings "regarding those arrested in Jericho, the continuation of their detention, and the question of their being put on trial," ministry spokesman Ya'acov Galanti said. The PA says it would be a violation of international law for Israel to try the detainees, who were already tried by a PA court. However, Ruth Lapidot, an expert on international law, said Israel was entitled to try the detainees because the crimes they committed were carried out in Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Walls of Jericho - Editorial
    When Israel broke into the PA prison at Jericho and seized the Palestinian Arab terrorists who killed tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi, Jerusalem sent an important signal at a time when the new Hamas government is going to be testing the West at every turn. It says that Israel is not going to forget, is not going to be trifled with, and is going to see that justice is done.
        It was an aberration of justice in the first place that the terrorists were being held in a PA prison. These terrorists had escaped Israeli justice as part of a 2002 agreement that allowed the terrorists, then being shielded by Arafat in his Ramallah compound, to be transferred to the prison rather than face Israeli justice. The terrorists had virtual freedom within the jail compound, with the jail only really serving to protect them from Israeli troops. (New York Sun)
  • Palestinian Anarchy - Editorial
    Do Palestinians want to make themselves pariahs? Their Jan. 25 election of a Hamas government devoted to Israel's destruction shocked even long-time friends. Now Palestinian mobs have vented their rage at Israel by seizing foreigners, including a Canadian, shooting up American and EU missions, and forcing diplomats and aid workers to flee for their lives. This is madness.
        How can aid be delivered if donors are treated like targets? During moments of crisis, Palestinians must learn to distinguish their friends from their foes. (Toronto Star)
  • Human Rights Botch - Editorial
    The UN is set to finally abolish its sorry excuse for a human-rights body - the Human Rights Commission - whose members have included such paragons of political virtue as Cuba, Libya, and Sudan. But the replacement - a "Human Rights Council" - is no improvement. In fact, it's worse. The new provisions are designed to look like reform, but they'll only tighten the control of the body by Third World human-rights violators. The "reform" plan skews the council's membership against Western nations and in favor of the Third World despots. Indeed, America itself would surely become a major target of the council.
        America's outspoken UN ambassador, John Bolton, makes no bones about Washington's position on this absurd notion of reform: "We're not going to put lipstick on a caterpillar and call it a butterfly." (New York Post)
  • The Mullah-Hamas Axis - Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen
    "We are continuing in Khomeini's path," Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal declared on March 1, 2006, while in Iran, emphasizing that Hamas is the spiritual offspring of the Ayatollah Khomeini. On March 2, Ramallah residents were surprised to find pamphlets widely distributed, declaring the establishment of the first "Shiite Islamic Supreme Council" in Palestine, to act as Iran's Palestinian arm as "the cornerstone of the global Islamic plan to establish the Caliphate, with holy Jerusalem as its capital." Islamic Jihad terrorist Muhamad Gawanmeh, who heads the new council, said, "We are part of the Iranian Islamic project in the Middle East." (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Dutch Get Tougher on Terror - Lorenzo Vidino
    On Friday a court in Amsterdam convicted nine of the 14 alleged terrorists in the so-called "Hofstad group," the terrorist cell that planned various attacks throughout the Netherlands between 2003 and 2005. A key member of the group, Mohammed Bouyeri, had ritualistically killed Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in November 2004.
        Voices throughout the political spectrum have found an unprecedented determination and pride in reaffirming basic Dutch values of tolerance and democracy. "We were tolerant to the intolerants and we only got intolerance back," said Dutch politician Geert Wilders. The fact that major cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam will be Muslim-majority within a decade only adds urgency to the issue. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    Prison Raid Shows Israel's New Freedom - Steven Gutkin (AP/Washington Post)

    • Israel's dramatic seizure of senior Palestinian militants from a West Bank jail highlights its new freedom of action with the internationally shunned Hamas poised to take over Palestinian government. Tuesday's raid also sends a strong warning to Hamas about failing to honor past accords.
    • In one way, though, it lets Hamas off the hook. Hamas had intended to release the militants, but the raid allowed them to avoid the international outcry that almost surely would have followed had they done so.
    • With Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence in the wake of its surprise Jan. 25 victory in parliamentary elections, many Israelis and Palestinians were wondering which agreement would unravel next.
    • Delicate understandings painstakingly brokered by the U.S. and Europe after Israel's Gaza pullout last summer - including a new Gaza-Egypt border crossing monitored by European inspectors - could meet the same fate as the Jericho accord.
    • "Hamas, I think, has to see this as a preview of things to come," Israeli political analyst Yossi Alpher said. "If they are involved in breaking agreements with Israel, Israel is going to respond very aggressively."

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