Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 3, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Gaza Leader Responsible for 2003 Attack on U.S. Diplomatic Convoy Is Killed - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Abdel Karim Koka, 44, one of the leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) who was killed Friday as he passed near a booby-trapped car, was responsible for the 2003 roadside attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy in the northern Gaza Strip in which three Americans were killed.
    PRC leaders accused Fatah leader Mohammad Dahlan of standing behind the assassination of Koka.
    Sources in Gaza said Koka, who survived three attempts on his life by Israel in recent months, carried out the attack on the U.S. convoy at the request of top PA and Fatah leaders, who were later interested in getting rid of Koka to conceal their role.
    Koka's group was also responsible for the assassination of Gen. Musa Arafat, commander of the PA's Military Intelligence, last summer in Gaza City.
    See also Palestinian Security Forces Blamed for Gaza Explosion - Conal Urquhart (Guardian-UK)
    When Abu Abir, a spokesman for the PRC, called a news conference to discuss the killing, rival gunmen, believed to be Preventive Security agents, showed up, sparking a shootout that killed at least two people.
    The Preventative Security force is the secret service of the PA.
    In theory it is under the control of the Ministry of Interior now headed by Hamas, but in practice it is a private army loyal to Mohammad Dahlan and other members of Fatah in Gaza.

IDF Countering "New Terror Wave" - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    A source in the Israel Defense Forces Central Command said terror groups have increased their efforts to carry out attacks by over 50% in the last month alone.
    On Sunday, the Shin Bet recorded 76 terror threats including 10 concrete alerts.
    To curb the new wave, the officer said, the army was operating "unrestrained" in Palestinian cities and had stepped up its arrest operations to prevent additional attacks.
    "There is no doubt that we are in the midst of a new terror wave," the officer said.

A "Soldier of Israel" - Rebekah Allen (LSU Reveille)
    Belaynesh Zevadia told students at LSU she is a minority in every sense of the word - a black, Jewish, Israeli, Ethiopian woman living in the South.
    Zevadia is also deputy consul general of Israel to the southwest U.S. and the first Ethiopian woman in the Israeli diplomatic service.

Over 900 Israelis Are 100+ Years Old (Jerusalem Post)
    Over 900 Israelis are at least 100 years old, while over 23,000 have passed their 90th birthday, Israel Radio reported on Monday.
    According to the Center for the Study of Aging at Haifa University, in 2006 the life expectancy for Israeli men is 77 and for woman 82 years.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hamas Foreign Minister: "I Dream of a Map without Israel"
    Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader who is the new Palestinian top diplomat, on Saturday defended Hamas' ultimate goal of destroying Israel and founding an Islamic state. "I dream of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it," he said. "Our dream [is] to have our independent state on all historic Palestine (including Israel)." "This dream will become real one day. I'm certain of this because there is no place for the State of Israel on this land," said al-Zahar. (Xinhua-China)
        Zahar's remarks dispel hopes that Hamas' presence in power would have a moderating effect on its leaders. His statements also stand in sharp contrast with Hamas' attempt to project a conciliatory and pragmatic image. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Targets Israel’s Peace Dream - Marie Colvin
    Four green flags of the extremist Palestinian party Hamas were flying last week at the gate of a military training camp built on the ruins of Morag, an evacuated Jewish settlement. Inside the camp, recruits to the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, ran mock attacks and launched rocket-propelled grenades. This is not some clandestine force and the base is no makeshift encampment. Israelis contemplating the evacuation of West Bank settlements will shiver at the discovery that al-Qassam fighters now live and train on the ruins of a place that was home to 37 Jewish families until August. A senior al-Qassam member explained that their mission to fight Israel had not changed, even though Hamas had become the official government. (Sunday Times-UK)
  • Iran Says Just-Tested Missile Can Avoid Radar - Ali Akbar Dareini
    Iran's military said Friday it successfully test-fired a missile not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously. The Fajr-3, which means "victory" in Farsi, can reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East, Iranian state media indicated. Gen. Hossein Salami, the air force chief of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, did not specify the missile's range, saying how far it can travel depends on the weight of its warheads. "It can avoid anti-missile missiles and strike the target," the general said. (AP/Boston Globe)
        See also Israeli Expert Doubts Iran Claims of New Missile - Louis Charbonneau
    Israeli missile expert Uzi Rubin, former director of Israel's Arrow missile defense program, said on March 31 the missiles shown on Iranian television reported to be capable of evading radar did not the match the description, which he said sounded like Russian Iskander-E missiles. The Iskander-E, also known as the SS-26, has a range of around 300 km (186 miles) and is extremely accurate. (Reuters/Defense News)
        See also Iran Says High-Speed Underwater Missile Successful in Tests
    Iran said Sunday it has successfully test-fired a high-speed underwater missile capable of destroying warships and submarines. The Iranian-made missile has a speed of about four miles per minute under water, said Gen. Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Navy of the elite Revolutionary Guards. He called it the fastest underwater missile in the world - but it has the same speed as the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval, developed in 1995 and believed to be the world's fastest. (AP/Houston Chronicle)
  • UK Defense Chiefs See American-Led Attack on Iran as "Inevitable" - Sean Rayment
    Senior UK defense chiefs believe that an American-led attack, designed to destroy Iran's ability to develop a nuclear bomb, is "inevitable" if Teheran's leaders fail to comply with UN demands to freeze their uranium enrichment program. The U.S. government is hopeful that the military operation will be a multinational mission, but defense chiefs believe that the Bush administration is prepared to launch the attack on its own or with the assistance of Israel, if there is little international support. British military chiefs believe an attack would be limited to a series of air strikes against nuclear plants - a land assault is not being considered at the moment.
        A senior Foreign Office source said: "If Iran makes another strategic mistake, such as ignoring demands by the UN or future resolutions, then the thinking among the chiefs is that military action could be taken to bring an end to the crisis. The belief in some areas of Whitehall is that an attack is now all but inevitable." The source said that the Israeli attack against Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 proved that a limited operation was the best military option. (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Challenges for the New PA Prime Minister - Amos Harel
    The most urgent problem new PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh faces is internal - the continued anarchy on the streets. The assessment that Hamas would impose order in the territories as soon as it assumes control of the regime now seems farfetched. Samir Mashrawi, a senior member of the Preventive Security and of Fatah in Gaza, announced Saturday that his organization will not heed Haniyeh's call to stop holding armed demonstrations. Meanwhile, Hamas is building a major "intervention force" in the Strip, designed to counter Fatah's armed demonstrations. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Hamas Interior Minister: It Could Take Year to End Armed Chaos (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at Israel on Sunday morning. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Tinfoil Hats in Harvard Yard - Michael B. Oren
    "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" reveals little about the conduct of U.S. foreign affairs. It does, however, afford a disquieting look into just how far the pernicious ideology of Middle Eastern studies has penetrated the humanities and helped render the academy irrelevant. Gripped by absolutist theories that quash all opposition, some of America's finest universities provide environments in which partisan and shoddily documented screeds like this working paper can pass as serious research. (New Republic)
        See also Anti-Semitic Paranoia at Harvard - Richard L. Cravatts
    Anti-Semitism was characterized in 1964 by historian Richard Hofstadter as "the paranoid style" of politics, which assigns responsibility elsewhere - typically and historically, to the Jews. Hofstadter’s paranoid style of politics has lately entered the mainstream with "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," written by Harvard professor Stephen Walt and University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer. (Boston Herald)
  • Israel, Hamastan, and Katyushas - Editorial
    As rocket barrages rain down on southern Israel on a daily basis (six months after Israel completed its withdrawal from Gaza), it is clear that the status quo cannot continue indefinitely. The danger from Gaza increased exponentially with the news that last Tuesday the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad for the first time fired a Katyusha rocket into Israel. Katyushas have a range of 9-12 miles - nearly double that of Kassam rockets. The introduction of the Katyusha puts many thousands of additional Israelis in danger, including residents of Ashkelon with a population of almost 120,000.
        A direct hit on the Rutenberg power plant in Ashkelon or on a home or school building could be the event that triggers a major IDF operation against terror cells in Hamas-controlled Gaza. (Washington Times)
  • Uh, Earth to Hamas - Editorial
    The new deputy prime minister of the PA, Nasser Shaer, a leading member of Hamas, was all injured innocence when he learned that Canada was cutting off funding to his government: "What's going on?...Did we do anything?"
        Did we do anything, bleats Mr. Shaer? Only slaughter scores of innocent men, women, and children. What universe is he inhabiting that makes him think Ottawa will blithely hand millions of dollars to a government led by such a group? Let's be clear about this. No cause, however noble, justifies blowing up a carload of civilians. Nor can any right of resistance excuse the act of walking onto a bus full of commuters and eviscerating them with a bomb packed with nails. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • Observations:

    U.S. Policy at a Crossroads: The Relevance of the Roadmap in the Aftermath of the Hamas Victory - Yechiel Leiter (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Mideast policy has been dictated by the Quartet-sponsored Performance-Based Roadmap, which was based on guidelines outlined by President Bush on June 24, 2002. A careful analysis of President Bush's speech, along with meticulous adherence to the Roadmap, might actually lead the way to a clearer policy toward Hamas.
    • President Bush did not categorically endorse Palestinian statehood under any circumstance. He made U.S. support conditional on the election by Palestinians of new leaders who not only recognize Israel but also choose democracy and freedom and join in the war against terror. "I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror," President Bush asserted.
    • "The United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure," Bush said. The preconditions for Palestinian statehood have not been met. Hamas was what the new Palestinian leadership was supposed to dry up, outlaw, and dismantle. If Arafat, who had formally recognized and signed peace treaties with Israel, had to be removed before Palestinian statehood could be achieved, clearly Hamas was not the "new leadership" Bush had in mind.
    • A Palestinian state is not the goal of Hamas, the goal is Islam. Nowhere in the Hamas Charter is there mention of a Palestinian state. This point is crucial. The new Hamas foreign minister, Dr. Mahmud al-Zahar, has explicitly stated in this regard: "The Islamists' view, which Hamas adheres to, is that a great Muslim state must be established, with Palestine being a part of it." Thus, any attempt to satisfy Palestinian nationalist hunger through sovereignty in "Palestine," or part of it, is pure folly to Hamas. Statehood as offered by the Roadmap is irrelevant.
    • The Hamas victory has emboldened Islamist terrorist insurgencies all over the world with a sense of reassured confidence that with enough violence they can succeed. Even the normally understated Economist has described the impact of the rise of Hamas as "the biggest victory for political Islam since Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini."

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