Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 4, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Blames U.S. for Lack of Money - Ibrahim Barzak (AP/Washington Post)
    Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said Wednesday that his government has so far not found a way to get donated money into the Palestinian areas to pay public sector salaries.

Hamas Outbids Fatah for Black Market Bullets - Karin Laub (AP/Washington Post)
    Hamas recently bought a black market shipment of 100,000 bullets after outbidding Fatah, according to one official involved in the negotiations.
    Hamas and Fatah each control about 5,000 gunmen in Gaza, intelligence officials say.
    Analyst Moheeb al-Nawaty said the side with the most money would win. It's not the number of firearms that matters, he said, but who can buy the most bullets.

Fatah Creates New Armed Force - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Following assassination threats by Hamas and al-Qaeda against top Fatah officials, Fatah gunmen in Gaza have announced the formation of a new security force to protect their leaders.
    A spokesman for the new force said its members came from several branches of Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.
    Khaled Abu Hilal, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, expressed astonishment over the establishment of the Fatah force, saying he did not understand why it was needed when 99% of the PA security forces belonged to Fatah.

Popular Resistance Committees a Terror Subcontractor for Hamas (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
    Abu Yussuf al-Qoqa, a Popular Resistance Committees leader in Gaza, admitted in an interview that his organization was "fully coordinated" with Hamas, supported and aided it in practical and political matters, and identified with its Islamic ideology.
    Three PRC terrorist operatives who were arrested six months ago said during interrogation that Hamas had given their organization extensive operational support, including monthly funding, and provided arms, training, and operational instructions.
    While outwardly maintaining a policy of restraint, Hamas has augmented the aid it gives to the PRC, which has become a kind of Hamas sub-contractor for terrorist attacks against Israel.

Top Al-Qaeda Strategist Captured in Pakistan (AP/Washington Post)
    Mustafa Setmarian Nasar, 47, a top al-Qaeda strategist with a $5 million bounty on his head, was captured in Pakistan last November and flown out of the country to an undisclosed location, a U.S. law enforcement official said.
    Nasar was seized in a sting operation in Quetta, said the U.S. official.
    Spanish authorities have previously said Nasar may have played a pivotal role in the 2004 commuter train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran: Israel Will Be First Target If U.S. Attacks
    "Wherever (in Iran) America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel," Iranian Revolutionary Guards Gen. Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani said Tuesday. Also Tuesday, Mohammad Ghannadi, deputy chief for nuclear research and technology, said Iran had found uranium ore at three newly discovered sites in the center of the country. (AP/FOX News)
  • Arab Distrust of Iran Gains Momentum - Steven R. Hurst and Diana Elias
    The emir of Qatar, on a visit to Iran, referred to the Arab Gulf. Iran's president was quick to correct him: it's the Persian Gulf, he said. The incident reflected the deep and growing disquiet among Iran's Arab neighbors over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
        Most anxious are Arab countries that lie on the east side of the Arabian Peninsula, across the water from Iran. They worry about deadly pollution should Iran suffer a nuclear accident and about possible Iranian retaliation against American military bases in Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain should the U.S. launch a pre-emptive strike. There is also anxiety about possible civil strife between the ruling Sunni Muslim majorities and Shiite minorities who might side with Shiite Iran if the Americans were to attack. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Hamas Chief Says Suicide Bombings "a Natural Right"
    Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal has defended Palestinian suicide bombings as a "natural right" while denouncing what he called Washington's ambitions to dominate the Middle East. "Our enemies...don't understand that a suicide a natural right," he told students in Damascus. Hamas was responsible for the majority of suicide bombings in Israel during the past five years. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Call Terrorist Acts Terrorism, BBC Told - Ben Dowell
    The BBC should not be afraid to use the word "terrorism" in its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an independent report commissioned by the BBC governors said Tuesday. "We say that the BBC should get the language right. We think they should call terrorist acts 'terrorism' because that term is clear and well understood," the panel's chairman, Sir Quentin Thomas, wrote in the report's introduction. (Guardian-UK)
        See also Report: BBC News "Favors Israel" - Dan Sabbagh
    The BBC'S coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict implicitly favors the Israeli side, a study for the BBC Governors has concluded. Deaths of Israelis received greater coverage than Palestinian fatalities, the report said. (Times-UK)
  • Moussaoui Given Life Term Over 9/11 - Neil A. Lewis
    A federal jury rejected the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui on Wednesday, with some jurors concluding that he played only a minor role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rockets Disrupt Independence Day Celebrations - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets at Israel Wednesday, briefly interrupting Independence Day celebrations in the south of the country. Security Chief Gil Ta'asa from the community of Netiv Ha'asara was celebrating Independence Day with his family and friends when he spotted a rocket flying above his head. "We saw the fire and smoke and I realized it was flying in the direction of Sderot," he said. Israel's incoming defense minister, Amir Peretz, is a resident of Sderot. (Ynet News)
  • New Israeli Cabinet to be Sworn In - Anshel Pfeffer
    Four months after Ariel Sharon's stroke and five weeks after the elections, Ehud Olmert will be sworn in as prime minister on Thursday. He will head a coalition of four parties - Kadima, Labor, Shas, and the Gil Pensioners Party - with 67 out of 120 Knesset members. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also A Life-Size Prime Minister - Anshel Pfeffer
    Ehud Olmert is Israel's first life-size prime minister. He is a career politician and the son of a career politician. He first entered the Knesset as a 29-year-old 32 years ago; no prime minister has served more years in the Knesset and in the cabinet before reaching the top job. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ex-Mossad Chief: Take Iran Seriously - Yitzhak Benhorin
    Former Mossad Director Ephraim Halevy said Wednesday in Washington the world should believe Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he talks about his desire to annihilate the State of Israel. However, Halevy said Iran's aspirations of making Israel disappear have no chance of materializing. He noted that "now more than ever," Israel and the U.S. share the same interests "in the face of Iran's threats on Israel and the free world." (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran's Latest - Editorial
    A funny thing happened on the way to the Iranian bomb: The more alarming the mullahs' behavior, the more nonchalant the rest of the world seems to be about it. Israeli intelligence reported last week that Iran has purchased an upgraded version of the Soviet SS-6 ballistic missile from North Korea, which is capable of carrying a nuclear payload and has a range of about 1,600 miles, putting parts of Europe well within range.
        And the international community's response? Russia and China, both veto-wielding members of the Security Council, are adamantly opposed to UN sanctions on Iran. In Europe, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw has reportedly told cabinet colleagues that it would be "illegal" for Britain to participate in any prospective military action against Iran.
        Last week, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, offered to share the nuclear genie with visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Mr. Bashir, whose government abets the massacre of Darfuris, says Sudan could use a nuclear reactor to generate electricity. How so many apparently thoughtful people can face the idea of an Iranian bomb with relative equanimity remains a mystery to us. (Wall Street Journal, 3May06)
  • Spare the Rod, Spoil the Peace - J. Peter Pham and Michael I. Krauss
    Legally and morally, neither the U.S. nor Europe owes the Palestinians any assistance - much less hundreds of millions of dollars worth on a continuing basis. There are plenty of needy causes to which to devote the scarce humanitarian resources of our overburden governments: Darfurians subject to a genocidal campaign by an Islamist government, Congolese trying to recover from "Africa's World War," Tibetans sitting in exile in India, etc. The only justification for our governments' paying good money to the PA is our national interest in a stable Middle East - and we are hardly getting our money's worth. Michael I. Krauss is professor of law at George Mason University School of Law. J. Peter Pham is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. (TCS Daily)
  • Three Myths about Islam - Edward N. Luttwak
    The only reason the continuity of Muslim aggression is news to some is because until recently almost all Muslim countries were under European colonial rule or subjected to European protectorates. With de-colonialization, the violence resumed. It has now reached virtually all places where Muslims are in contact with non-Muslims, so that there are almost daily reports of outrages from Nigeria, Sudan, and Egypt in Africa; from Iraq (Christians are fleeing the country), Israel, and Lebanon in the Middle East; from India, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
        Timor-Leste, by the way, happens to be mostly Christian, but because it was liberated from the domination of Muslim-ruled Indonesia, it is now on the list of Islamic grievances under the Muslim doctrine that any land once ruled by Muslims belongs to Islam forever, even if the population is mostly non-Muslim. That is the doctrine cited by Hamas to claim the whole of Israel, and which other fundamentalists do not hesitate to apply to southern Spain, southeast Europe, and much of southern Ukraine and southeast Russia, among other places. The writer is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (New York Sun)
  • Observations:

    The Gathering Storm over Iran - Nile Gardiner and Joseph Loconte (Boston Globe)

    • In October 1938, in the heat of the crisis over German intervention in Czechoslovakia, Winston Churchill asked: ''Does anyone pretend that preparation for resistance to aggression is unleashing war?...I declare it to be the sole guarantee of peace."
    • The Allies were not prepared to resist German aggression at that crucial moment. The result was a policy of appeasement - the infamous Munich Agreement - which abandoned Czechoslovakia into Nazi hands.
    • In the current standoff with Iran, the West is approaching what can fairly be described as another Munich moment. An Islamo-fascist regime is apparently determined to acquire nuclear weapons, destroy Israel, and extend its radical ideology.
    • What should the U.S. do to avoid another Munich? If the Security Council fails to confront the Iranian threat, America must form an international coalition to disarm the regime, enforcing a range of targeted political and economic sanctions. It must place the potential use of force squarely on the table.

      Nile Gardiner is a fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former aide to Margaret Thatcher. Joseph Loconte is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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