Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 6, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Egypt Islamists Call on Arabs to Expel Israeli Envoys (AFP/Yahoo)
    A delegation of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and leftist opposition members delivered a letter to the deputy secretary general of the Arab League, Ahmed Ben Hilli, calling for "expelling ambassadors, political and economic representatives, and all those attached to the Zionist entity from Arab countries."
    The delegation also stressed the "importance of boycotting all Zionist goods and not allowing them into Arab countries."

West Bank Militants Rattle Sabers Over Gaza - Selim Saheb Ettaba (AFP/Yahoo)
    Palestinian radicals are rattling their sabers in Nablus in the West Bank, threatening to unleash untold violence if Israel moves deeper into Gaza.
    "At the moment we are concentrating on the 1967 territories (the West Bank and Gaza)," said Nasser Abu Aziz, 35, a member of the militant Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, "but if Israel launches a large deadly operation against our brothers in Gaza, we will strike deep inside the territories of 1948."
    In phone calls from Gaza, "they tell us: 'Do something to alleviate the military pressure,'" adds Mohammed Qattani, 24.
    "It's inconceivable we would abandon our brothers in Gaza to fight alone," said a former Hamas leader in Nablus, Tayssir Imran.

Suicide Belts Distributed to Women in Gaza (AP/Little Green Footballs)
    Um Ahmed, 36, a mother of eight, posed with a suicide belt in the village of Abasa in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
    She is one of a group of at least 20 women in the village who are given suicide belts every night in preparation for an expected Israeli assault on the town, according to the local Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades commander.

Egypt Primes Children for Jihad - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
    Egyptian Islamic Sheik Muhammad Nassar, a cleric working for the state ministry of religious endowment, has used a children's television program broadcast on Al-Nas television to encourage young children to strive for holy war.
    During the program, made available by the Arabic translation service MEMRI, the cleric told about Muslim children in history keen to "sacrifice" themselves and kill "infidels" for the cause of Islam.
    See also Egyptian Cleric Tells Children about Child Martyrdom (MEMRI)

Intolerance in Egypt - Nir Boms (Washington Times)
    Egypt's minister of culture, Farouk Hosni, has announced a total ban on "The Da Vinci Code" - both the best-selling book and the hit film currently showing in theaters worldwide.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • New UN Human Rights Body Singles Out Israel - Benny Avni
    On Friday, the new UN Human Rights Council in Geneva voted to condemn alleged Israeli violations of human rights. The council did not pass specific resolutions on the deteriorating situation in Sudan or violations of rights in any other country, raising concerns among American officials that the newly created rights body would revert to the Israel-bashing and politicization that discredited its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, and led to that organ's demise. The council also passed a resolution expressing opposition to "religious discrimination" - raised by Saudi Arabia to highlight purported anti-Muslim Danish cartoons. (New York Sun)
        See also UN Human Rights Council Special Session Is One-Sided (UN Watch)
  • Jordan-Muslim Brotherhood Conflict Heats Up After Zarqawi Homage - Kirk H. Sowell
    The Jordanian government is moving to clamp down on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Jordanian political arm, the Islamic Action Front (IAF). The IAF, like the Palestinian Hamas, was inspired by and in part founded by activists from the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood. As reported in Al-Hayat on Tuesday, the ill-received mourning for Zarqawi by four Islamist members of the Jordanian parliament was followed by a declaration published by the "National Jordanian Conference," headed by the general secretary of the IAF, Zaki Saad Bani Rashid, calling for a new government which would break off cooperation with Israel and the U.S., recognize Hamas, and provide assistance to the "resistance" in Palestine and Iraq.
        It should be remembered that the leadership of the IAF played an important role in persuading King Abdullah to release Zarqawi and other al-Qaeda members from prison in 1999 as part of an amnesty, a decision the king has greatly regretted. (
        See also Jordan Moves Against Muslim Brotherhood's Financial Arm
    In an unprecedented move, Jordanian authorities Wednesday moved to take legal action against the Islamic Society Center, the financial arm of the influential Muslim Brotherhood. (DPA)
  • Putin Seeks to Start Anti-Terror Offensive
    Russian President Vladimir Putin asked parliament Tuesday for the right to send soldiers and special forces anywhere in the world to fight terrorists, a week after terrorists killed five Russian diplomats in Iraq, beheading two of them in an Internet video after Russia refused their demand to leave Chechnya. Russian security services last week offered a $10 million reward for the capture of the Islamic insurgents responsible for the killings. (Washington Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Forces Enter Former Northern Gaza Settlements to Block Palestinian Rocket Fire - Yuval Azoulay and Amos Harel
    Israel Defense Forces units moved into the ruins of three former settlements in northern Gaza on Wednesday after rockets fired by Palestinians from the area hit the southern coastal city of Ashkelon. "The purpose of this operation is to remove the threat of Palestinian rockets on Israeli towns and communities and to provide Israeli citizens with peace and tranquility as they sit in their homes and go about their daily lives," David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office, said Thursday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Second Palestinian Rocket Hits Ashkelon - Shmulik Hadad
    A second Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza landed Wednesday evening in the Shimshon neighborhood in south Ashkelon. Eight people suffered from shock. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • If Hamas Wants to Govern, It Must Halt the Terrorism - Editorial
    When people get elected, it's their responsibility to govern. That idea has yet to catch on among Hamas leaders chosen in January elections to control the Palestinian parliament. Hamas' leadership has spoken with multiple voices. Some Hamas leaders have called for the kidnapped Israeli soldier's release, but others say the opposite. That's not good enough. If Hamas leaders want to be treated as a responsible government, they need to behave like one. That means reining in militants and recognizing Israel's right to exist. To expect that Israel will simply ignore missile attacks and kidnapping raids from Palestinian territories is senseless. (USA Today)
  • Hamas Can't Let Israel Go - Alan Kaufman
    Nearly ten months after Israel withdrew every last soldier, settler, nail, and bucket from Gaza, the Hamas-led Palestinians can't seem to let go. Hamas literally needs an occupier-enemy, just as released convicts who can't seem to make it on the outside intentionally commit crimes in order to be returned to prison, where they feel safer and better understand the rules. It has become abundantly clear that not even disengagement is enough. Hamas will not rest until Israel is destroyed. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Giving Up on the Palestinians - Larry Derfner
    If the Palestinians had taken last summer's disengagement as a confidence-building measure and responded in kind by suspending attacks, instead of taking it as a sign of weakness that vindicated those attacks, things could have been different. But by the time Israel left Gaza, I realized the Palestinians - as a whole, not Mahmoud Abbas and the other powerless moderates - would conclude from this that terror works, and go out to do more.
         I still believe that Israel has no right to rule the Palestinians, that ruling them is bad, not good, for Israeli security. However, the belief I've lost is that the Palestinians are a basically rational, reasonable nation, that they can be talked into putting down their weapons and making peace with Israel. What I believe now is that only Israeli military deterrence, which will no doubt require the periodic use of force, can get the Palestinians to stop fighting. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Declaration of War - Alex Fishman
    The time has come to admit that Hamas has declared war on us, a war Hamas has been preparing for many months. In the long run, we will not be able to ignore Hamas' attempts to establish parity in comparison to Israel's power of deterrence. If we don't deal with it today, we will be forced to deal with it tomorrow. The eventual goal is to destroy Hamas' military ability. (Ynet News)
  • Observations:

    Deterrence Against Hamas - Dore Gold (Ynet News)

    • When Israel completed its disengagement from Gaza, many assumed that after the withdrawal, Israel would have far greater legitimacy to conduct deterrence operations there if Israeli territory would be attacked in the future. As a result, Israel would be able to create the same sort of deterrence that it had projected along Israel's northern border against Hizballah. But Israeli deterrence against the Palestinians failed, and now there is a serious deterioration in the south. What happened?
    • Israel's north has been relatively stable. Syria has come to understand that if Hizballah launches rockets against Israel, then the Israeli Air Force will attack Syria. As a result, Syria must restrain Hizballah and some kind of deterrence - even if fragile - exists.
    • Who is the Syria of the south? The fact is that there is no state that plays that role. Israel has a peace treaty with Egypt and Cairo has a far more complex relationship with Hamas than Damascus has with Hizballah.
    • What about deterring Hamas directly? Many politicians declared in 2005 that if after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas even dares to fire a Kassam rocket, Israel will retaliate with enormous firepower.
    • The reality is that Israel is not about to erase whole civilian towns. Massive retaliation of that sort will have Israel sitting on the bench of the accused in the UN Security Council and begging President Bush for a U.S. veto, which he may not have the political capital to provide. More importantly, such action also violates the moral standards of the IDF and Israel as a whole since 1948.
    • There is a simple lesson from the Gaza experience: the formula of full withdrawal backed up by the threat of punishing deterrence operations simply doesn't work. In the next stages, Israel must re-establish its doctrine of defensible borders, in accordance with its international legal rights under UN Security Council Resolution 242.

      The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and served as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations.

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