Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 7, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Responsible for Rocket Fire on Israel - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Hamas is directly responsible for firing Kassam rockets at Sderot, defense officials said Tuesday.
    An examination of the rockets that hit houses in the Negev town showed that they are models that only Hamas builds.
    Security sources said that this time, Hamas is actively involved in the rocket fire, not just in supplying the rockets.

Palestinian Children with Toy Guns Sent to Test Gaza Border Defenses - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    A group of Palestinian children were sent towards the Gaza Strip border fence holding toy guns on Thursday in order to test the vigilance of the soldiers on duty.
    From a distance, troops noticed four apparently armed Palestinians approaching the border north of the Kissufim crossing.
    When the four were 400 meters from the fence, the IDF soldiers realized that they were children, and that their guns were toys.
    The Gaza security fence has become the scene of almost daily incidents of infiltrations, attempted terror attacks, and exchanges of fire.

Austria Stops Technology Smuggling to Iran (AP/Washington Post)
    Authorities at Vienna's international airport stopped an attempt to ship technology with potential dual uses to Iran last summer, Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia said Tuesday.
    The equipment seized is used to determine the sensitivity to friction of various substances and was manufactured by a German company.

Iran's Nuclear Ambition Hits Piggy Banks - Iason Athanasiadis (Washington Times)
    Threats of an international financial squeeze stemming from the showdown over Iran's nuclear program have sent Iranians scrambling to get their savings out of the country.
    An estimated $200 billion has left the country since last year's election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, while the Iranian stock exchange lost an estimated 20% of its value.

Riots Show Hizballah's Power in Streets - Sam F. Ghattas (AP/Washington Post)
    Thousands of Hizballah supporters rioted last Thursday in Beirut and southern and eastern Lebanon after a television satire poked fun at Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the organization's leader.
    The riots demonstrate that Hizballah can still control the streets of Lebanon - driving home how difficult it will be for the government to disarm the militant group.

CIA Papers: U.S. Failed to Pursue Nazi Eichmann - Pam Benson (CNN)
    The U.S. was told the location and approximate alias of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1958 by the West German intelligence service but did nothing to pursue him, according to CIA documents released Tuesday.
    Eichmann, mastermind of the "final solution" to exterminate Jews, was captured by Israel and executed in 1962.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Truck Bomb in Toronto, Shots on Crowd Planned
    The men charged with plotting terrorist attacks against Canadian targets were planning to detonate a truck bomb to destroy a significant building and to open fire on a crowd in a public place. The Toronto Stock Exchange was another prime target for a massive bomb attack. The RCMP, which had been monitoring the group, switched a load of fertilizer which the conspirators allegedly believed to be 34-0-0 grade fertilizer, the best for making explosives. (National Post-Canada)
        See also Suspect Accused of Wanting to Behead Canadian PM
    Steven Chand, also known as Abdul Shakur, one of the suspects in an alleged bomb plot in Ontario, is accused of wanting to storm Parliament, behead the prime minister, and attack a number of sites including the CBC building in Toronto, in support of a demand for the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan. Ten of the men are charged with engaging in terrorism-related training. Residents in Ramara, 150 km north of Toronto, reported hearing gunshots from an area where men were seen dressed in camouflage gear. (CBC News)
        See also U.S. Links to Canadian Plot Probed - Jerry Seper
    Investigators are looking at links between two Atlanta men arrested in March after they videotaped the U.S. Capitol and at least three other Washington locations and two Canadians identified as part of a terrorist ring. (Washington Times)
  • Proposal Would Let Iran Enrich Uranium - Karl Vick and Dafna Linzer
    The confidential diplomatic package backed by Washington and formally presented to Iran on Tuesday leaves open the possibility that Tehran will be able to enrich uranium on its own soil, U.S. and European officials said. That concession, along with a promise of U.S. assistance for an Iranian civilian nuclear energy program, is conditioned on Tehran suspending its current nuclear work until the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency determines with confidence that the program is peaceful. (Washington Post)
  • Sudan Muslims Seek a Haven in Israel - Yonit Farago and Stephen Farrell
    There are 220 Sudanese refugees being held by Israel. The government believes that many more may have entered the country from Sinai undetected. The influx has accelerated sharply since December. Technically the Sudanese are citizens of an enemy state and cannot stay. But their cause has been taken up by Holocaust campaigners and civil rights groups, who argue that Israel should give refuge to people fleeing genocide.
        Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said, "Israel has no desire to send these people back to the terrible place they came from. We are working with the UNHCR to try to find a humanitarian solution for these people. In the meantime...we are trying to make the conditions of their stay in this country as pleasant as possible." (Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Shin Bet: Signs of World Jihad in West Bank, Weapons Pouring into Gaza - Gideon Alon
    Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that world Jihad has begun building an ideological foothold in the West Bank. He said security forces recently arrested individuals in the Jerusalem and Nablus areas found with plans for terror attacks. Diskin said that since the Israel Defense Forces withdrawal from Gaza, weapons smuggling from Sinai has increased dramatically. Militants have smuggled more than 10 tons of explosives, several million rounds of rifle ammunition, 10,000 assault rifles, several hundred rocket-propelled grenades, and a small number of surface-to-air missiles. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Money Smuggled to Hamas in Gaza - Ronny Sofer
    Palestinians are sneaking millions of Euros into Gaza through smuggling tunnels. Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin said Tuesday that since September, some $20 million had made its way to Hamas. According to intelligence information, the money is being smuggled in suitcases by Hamas envoys. Among other things, the funds have been used to establish Hamas' new armed force. Hamas is also intensifying efforts to smuggle funds from Egypt by sea. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Poll: 61% Say Hamas Should Reject Recognizing Israel
    In a poll conducted 31 May-2 June 2006, 1,200 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza were asked: Which of these two directions do you support? Hamas continues to reject recognizing Israel, while reaching out to countries like Iran and the Arab world to get funding - 61%; Hamas recognizes Israel and continue to receive funding from the international community - 31%.
        What is your evaluation of the performance of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh? Good - 57%. Mahmoud Abbas? Good - 48%. Since the [Hamas victory in the] PLC elections of January 2006, do you feel that your family income has: Improved? - 2%, Declined? - 63%. Since the elections, do you feel: More secure? - 14%, Less secure? - 41%. (Birzeit University Development Studies Program-PA)
  • Palestinian Support "Crashes" in Europe - David Horovitz
    Public opinion surveys conducted among "opinion elites" in Europe show that support for the Palestinians has fallen precipitously, according to Stan Greenberg, who was a key pollster for President Clinton. Three years ago, 60% of French respondents said they took a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of those, four out of five backed the Palestinians. Today, 60% of French respondents did not take a side in the conflict, and support for the Palestinians had dropped by half. Much of the "old sense of hostility" toward Israel had dissipated, he said. Today, Europeans "are focused on fundamentalist Islam and its impact on them," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Jordan's "Preemptive Security Strategy" to Allay Fears - Rana Al-Sabbagh
    Jordan's strategy for national security is experiencing a radical change, tailored to face the serious and intertwined political and security challenges of today. Decision-makers in Jordan believe that the Iranian regional role, the coalition forged between Tehran and Damascus, the "dissident" Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan for unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, and the looming Palestinian civil war require a cross-border security role to uncover plots and set up the necessary political and security strategies to face them. (Al-Hayat-Lebanon)
        See also Jordan's King Abdullah: I Oppose Unilateral Pullout - Smadar Peri (Ynet News)
  • Praise Canada - Editorial
    Canadians are still digesting the news of the arrest of 17 Muslims caught trying to purchase three tons of ammonium nitrate, the equivalent of three Oklahoma City bombs, and there appear to be links between the group and at least two U.S. Muslims. The cell was identified through the work of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which monitored Internet chat rooms frequented by Islamic extremists. The important thing is to praise the work of Canadian authorities in foiling what could have been another 9/11. (Wall Street Journal, 7Jun06)
        See also Terror in Toronto - Editorial
    Anyone who thinks the threat of another terrorist attack in North America has faded had better think again. The terrorists are as determined as ever to commit murder and mayhem in the non-Muslim West. The lesson, clearly, is that - despite five terror-free years in America since 9/11 - this nation cannot let down its guard. And if that means focusing on leads in the Muslim community, so be it. (New York Post)
  • Let Ahmadinejad Twist in the Wind - Youssef Ibrahim
    President Ahmadinejad of Iran recently raised the prospect of attending Iran's World Cup game next Sunday in Nuremberg. That's a thought. Perhaps Interpol will keep him at Nuremberg to be tried - in the city where Nazi criminals were sentenced for the Holocaust he strenuously denies - for his repeated vows to wipe out 5.5 million Jews living in Israel.
        Ahmadinejad now hints at making an atomic bomb he knows full well could bring a swift end to Iran as we know it. Ahmadinejad's statements these days confirm the widespread impression, inside as well as outside Iran, that he is a mere front man for the serious senior mullahs who will use him until he is properly barbecued, and then discard him and settle down to some serious bargaining with the West. (New York Sun)
  • Observations:

    Next Steps in Arab-Israeli Peacemaking - Zalman Shoval
    (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The U.S. military victory in Iraq did at first create a more congenial atmosphere among Palestinians for peace with Israel. However, the present situation in Iraq, as well as Iran and Muslim fundamentalism in general, have caused matters to move in the opposite direction. The Palestinians are further away from a spirit of reconciliation and compromise than ever before. Terrorists everywhere are feeling emboldened by what they see, at least for now, as an American failure.
    • While pragmatic Westerners tend not to give too much weight to ideological statements by Palestinians, this is a mistake. Article 6 of the Hamas covenant says that the organization "strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine." Just like the rantings of Iran's president, this should not be seen as some bizarre religious, extremist oration, but as the concrete Islamist "roadmap" and action plan it is.
    • There are those in the West who believe that once Hamas has had to face the realities of governance, it will moderate its intransigent views. But neither the Taliban, the Iranian ayatollahs, nor Saddam and the two Assads grew moderate while in office. Neither did Arafat.
    • Contrary to what is often claimed, only a fraction of the Palestinians voted for Hamas because of its promise to clean up the corruption and inefficiency of the previous Fatah regime. Palestinians voted for Hamas because they identified with Hamas' aims against Israel - including terror. They clearly recognized that they were electing a party that ruled out any form of permanent peace with Israel.
    • There is a growing tendency within the Palestinian body politic to de-emphasize the quest for separate Palestinian statehood, and to aim for a state in the whole of Palestine after having eliminated the State of Israel. Even prior to the Hamas victory, a two-state solution didn't necessarily mean that the Palestinians wouldn't continue to try to undermine the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.
    • Unfortunately, experience has shown (and I was a supporter of "disengagement") that Israeli withdrawals and concessions do not bring about Palestinian moderation and reduce the conflict but actually create escalation.

      The writer served as Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. from 1990 to 1993 and from 1998 to 2000, and was a senior aide to the late Moshe Dayan.

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