Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 6, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Gen. Gilad: Hamas Wants to Overthrow the Jordanian Regime and Destroy Israel - Omer Shiklar (News First Class-Hebrew)
    Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, the head of the political-military bureau in the Israel Ministry of Defense, told an audience at Netanya College that Hamas wants to link up with its partners in Jordan, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and overthrow the Hashemite monarchy.
    Hamas also wants to work with its ideological partners in Egypt against the Egyptian regime.
    Hamas aspires to eliminate Israel and has no intention of creating a democratic regime.
    Israel must not have any illusions about Hamas - a "Hamastan state" is the most urgent problem facing Israel, Gilad said.

IDF: Gaza Is Wide Open to Weapons Smuggling and Entry of Terrorists - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    The IDF admits that Gaza is wide open to weapons smuggling and the entry of terrorists - both through the Rafah terminal and through recently reactivated tunnels beneath the Philadelphi route in Rafah.
    PA sources say ten terror operatives affiliated with al-Qaeda and other global jihad factions have infiltrated the Gaza Strip in recent weeks and are involved in smuggling materiel on a large scale.
    Among the terrorists who entered were specialists who underwent training in sophisticated explosive devices and mass attacks at camps in Lebanon and even in Iran and Afghanistan.

Drug Profits Fund Hamas and Hizballah - David E. Kaplan (U.S. News)
    As the U.S. and its allies continue to squeeze traditional sources of terrorist funding, such as Islamist charities and renegade states, terrorist groups are increasingly turning to criminal activity for cash, say experts.
    The DEA is employing a "kingpin" strategy to take out traffickers tied to terrorist groups. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the agency has targeted top heroin smugglers close to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
    DEA agents are also making a major push in South America's triborder area, a crime-ridden no man's land where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet.
    The region, a notorious haven for smugglers, is home to Arab drug-trafficking gangs that are moving cocaine from South America to Europe and the Middle East, the DEA's chief of operations, Michael Braun, told the House International Relations Committee on March 30.
    Some of their profits, Braun said, are reportedly ending up with radical groups such as Hamas and Hizballah.

Carlos "The Jackal" Can't Hide Anymore (AFP/
    Imprisoned terrorist mastermind Carlos the Jackal was fined $7,100 by a French court Tuesday for justifying terrorism in a TV interview from his prison cell.
    Carlos whose real name is Illich Ramirez Sanchez, argued his past activities were justified and there were no innocent victims of terrorism.
    "By describing deadly terrorist operations as 'legitimate war'...he commits the crime of justifying" terrorism, the court said.
    The Venezuelan-born Carlos, 56, voiced satisfaction over the 9/11 attacks, and once boasted his plots had killed more than 1,500 people over two decades.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Congress Calls on Saudis to End Israel Boycott
    The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday unanimously urged the Bush administration to call on Saudi Arabia to end its boycott of Israel. In return for U.S. support for its ascension to the WTO, Saudi Arabia reportedly promised to end its participation in the Arab boycott of Israel. Since then, however, Saudi Arabia has said repeatedly it will continue to enforce the boycott. It also hosted the Organization of the Islamic Conference's annual meeting on enforcing the boycott of Israel. (JTA)
        See also Why Are Saudis Still Boycotting Israel? - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
  • Fatah Legacy Puts Hamas Under Financial Pressure - Donald Macintyre
    The Hamas-led PA is deciding whether to confirm the recruitment of 18,000 security service personnel enacted in the three months before it took office. Hamas must choose between adding to the PA's already soaring deficit or a confrontation with the new recruits, many of whom are members of Fatah-linked armed groups. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday that the PA Ministry of Finance had "inherited an entirely empty treasury." The swelling of the security service payroll to 90,000 was one of the factors which led to the resignation of the previous finance minister, Salaam Fayad. (Independent-UK)
        See also Cash-Strapped Hamas Struggles to Find a Bank - Adam Entous
    The new Hamas-led Palestinian government is struggling to find a bank willing to handle its finances, casting doubt on whether it can pay staff or receive foreign aid, Western diplomats and Palestinian officials said. (Reuters)
  • Hussein Admits He Ordered the Execution of 148 - Edward Wong
    Saddam Hussein admitted Wednesday at his trial that he had signed an order of execution for 148 men and boys with only a cursory glance at the evidence against them. Hussein and seven co-defendants are charged with the torture and executions of men and boys from the Shiite village of Dujail in 1982. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rocket Hits Kibbutz Factory
    A Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians in northern Gaza hit a mattress factory in Kibbutz Zikim Thursday morning, starting a small fire in the factory. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinians Fire Eight Rockets at Israel - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired eight Kassam rockets toward Israel on Wednesday. Three of the rockets were fired toward Sderot; one landed near the town's industrial zone. Another rocket caused damage to greenhouses in Nativ Ha'asara. Israeli residents of the western Negev were in and out of their security rooms throughout the day. (Ynet News)
  • Three Arab Nations Pledge $80 Million for PA
    Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates pledged on Wednesday to grant $80 million to the Palestinian Authority. PA Finance Minister Umar Abdel Razek said the money would go to pay PA salaries. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Disengagement's Military Lesson for the West Bank - Nadav Morag
    The barrier that Israel is building is not a panacea that will enable Israel to withdraw behind it and forget the Palestinians. The barrier may be effective to a large degree in preventing infiltration, but it cannot prevent the firing of rockets and missiles over it. In order for the barrier to be truly effective, it must be defended from both sides. Israel's success in thwarting the majority of terrorist attacks is due, in large part, to its ability to conduct operations in Palestinian cities and villages.
        Withdrawing from the West Bank, as it has done in Gaza, will provide the Palestinians with safe havens from which to conduct terrorism against Israel. Israelis very much want to disentangle themselves from the Palestinians, but will the Palestinians let them? The writer, chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, previously served as a senior director at the Israeli National Security Council. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Nuclear Jihad - David Frum
    Suppose you were a mad Iranian mullah determined to obtain nuclear weapons at the earliest opportunity. Would you brag and boast and taunt the West - before you had actually finished your work? Three possibilities present themselves. First, the Iranians are so confident of their own defenses that they think they can defeat or deter an allied air strike. Second, the Iranians believe that American willpower has been so weakened by Iraq that the U.S. will not dare to attack them. Third, the mullahs do not want war, but they do want this confrontation. The current path is working very well for the rulers of Iran. They are moving steadily toward a bomb while impressing the most radical constituencies within their own society. (Il Foglio-Italy/American Enterprise Institute)
  • The Feeble Helping the Unspeakable - Dean Godson
    It has been a bad few weeks for Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), one of the most dangerous of the Islamist factions to flourish in Britain. Hizb-ut-Tahrir - meaning Liberation Party - is so egregiously bigoted that it has been banned three times from university campuses by the National Union of Students. This ban was reaffirmed only last week - not an easy feat for an Islamist group in this culturally sensitive epoch. The party was founded as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Jordanian-occupied West Bank in 1953. It is proscribed in Germany, Jordan, Kuwait, and Pakistan, among others.
        Banning HuT might therefore have been supposed to be wholly uncontroversial outside the ranks of radical Islamists. But even after 7/7 this step has not proven to be easy - despite Tony Blair's express wish last August to see the group cast beyond the pale. Clare Short recently gave HuT a platform in the Commons to fight proscription. Don't expect balance from the BBC, either. As observed by Zeyno Baran, a leading authority on HuT, the organization acts as a "revolving door" into other even more extreme groups, such as its now defunct breakaway, alMuhajiroun. Above all, the debate on how to handle HuT casts a sharp light on Whitehall's greatest weakness - the war of ideas. The writer is research director of the Policy Exchange think-tank. (Times-UK)
  • How Hamas Greeted 9/11 - Steven Stalinsky
    Hamas praised the killing of thousands of Americans in the attacks of September 11, 2001, while saying Muslims could not have been involved - a similar response to those of other groups in the Middle East. "Allah has answered our prayers," Dr. Atallah Abu Al-Subh wrote in an open letter titled "To America," which appeared September 13, 2001, in the Hamas mouthpiece Al-Risala. "The airplanes were [controlled] by the Jews," Hamas activist Yussef Al-'Azam wrote in the Hamas newspaper Al-Sabil on October 4, 2001. "Were the eradication of its Marines in Lebanon, the destruction of its military headquarters at Khobar in Saudi Arabia, the destruction of the USS Cole in Yemen, the bombing of its embassies in Zambia [sic] and in Kenya, and the attacks on its soldiers in the Gulf...not sufficient? The U.S. should have learned the lessons of history," the editor of Al-Risala, Dr. Ghazi Hamad, wrote days after 9/11. (New York Sun)
  • Observations:

    Understanding the Direction of the New Hamas Government: Between Tactical Pragmatism and Al-Qaeda Jihadism - Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Hamas has reaped the fruits of the "Green Revolution" that it led in recent years to win many local authority elections, obtain a stable majority in the Palestinian parliament, and take decisive control of executive authority. Hamas' tactical agreement to play by the democratic rules was a Trojan horse. It exploited the fragmentation of Fatah and the weakness of the Palestinian Authority to achieve political dominance as a first stage toward establishing Islamic rule that will implement Sharia law and lead, in fact, to the eradication of democracy.
    • Hamas views its political mission as the vanguard of the worldwide Islamic revolution led by its parent-movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas' rise to power has inspired Islamic movements all over the world and motivated them to emulate Hamas' approach (tactical participation in a democratic process) in order to win similar successes in their own countries, especially in Jordan.
    • The current leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood, Mahdi 'Akef, recently issued a new strategy calling on all its member organizations to serve its global agenda of defeating the West. He called on individual members of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide to not only join the "resistance" to the U.S. financially, but also through active participation.
    • Hamas Interior Minister Said Sayyam, who is responsible for the Palestinian security forces, publicly committed himself on March 24, 2006, not to order arrests of operatives who carry out terror attacks. In light of al-Qaeda's growing interest since August 2005 in developing a presence in the West Bank and Gaza, Sayyam's declaration amounts to an open invitation to terrorists of all stripes to acquire a refuge and a convenient base for activity.
    • It should come as no surprise that the Palestinian Authority under Hamas rule is becoming a safe haven for Islamic terror organizations, first and foremost al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda totally rejects any element of Western influence and sees terror as the most effective means to overthrow the infidel regimes, spread Islam, and establish Islamic rule. Hamas, however, is prepared to make a pretense of going along with Western democratic rules and thereby exploit them to remove the infidel regimes, propagate Islam, and install Islamic rule that will eliminate democracy. However, its ultimate long-term goals are no different from al-Qaeda's.
    • As recently as March 2006, high-level Hamas officials attended events in Pakistan and Yemen where members of the al-Qaeda network were present and in one case offered monetary support for the new Hamas government. Al-Hayat reported on April 4, 2006, "a definite presence" of al-Qaeda operatives in the Gaza Strip who had just infiltrated from several Arab countries.

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