Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 24, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Foreign Minister: Move Israel to Europe (UPI)
    The foreign minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud al-Zahar, told Germany's Der Spiegel that Palestinians will never recognize the State of Israel.
    "The big majority [of Palestinians] supports the resistance" to a two-state solution, Zahar said. "Why don't the Jews establish their state in Europe?"

Israel Air Force Wiped Out Hizballah Long-Range Missiles During War - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
    The Israel Air Force destroyed 59 intermediate and long-range missile launchers in the Hizballah arsenal during the second day of the war in Lebanon, during a raid that lasted 34 minutes, according to research recently published by David Makovsky and Jeffrey White of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
    The success of the raid was the greatest Israel Defense Forces achievement during the war, and according to Israeli assessments, it prevented Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah from carrying out his threats to strike central Israel with missiles.

Afghan Militants Targeting Europe (Sky News-UK)
    Taliban commander Mullah Mohammed Amin, an official in the former Taliban government, told Sky News in an interview that the militants are for the first time plotting to attack Westerners in Britain and the rest of Europe.
    Mullah Amin said: "It's acceptable to kill ordinary people in Europe because these are the people who have voted in the government....The ordinary people of these countries are behind this - so we will not spare them. We will kill them and laugh over them."

High Hopes for Media News Balance on Israel - Mark Franklin (Australian Jewish News)
    The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's new managing director, Mark Scott, announced last week that major changes would be introduced from March 2007 with the aim of increasing impartiality in reporting about Israel and the Middle East.
    The ABC has promised to introduce measures that will clearly differentiate opinion from reporting, that diverse views will be provided, and that a new director will be appointed with a brief to ensure impartiality.
    In September, the ABC dropped the term "freedom fighter" from the "terrorist" section of its style guide.

Palestinian Booted from Phoenix Human Relations Commission for Intolerance - Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor (Arizona Republic)
    The tensions in the Middle East are manifesting themselves on a Phoenix commission that is supposed to foster unity among people.
    Phoenix City Council members last week removed Marwan Ahmad, a Palestinian and Muslim, from the Human Relations Commission after more than five years of service, saying he was promoting messages of intolerance against Israel, the Jewish community, and at least one member of the Islamic community.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Urges UN to Denounce Iranian President's Call for Its Destruction
    Israel urged all UN member states to denounce and reject Iranian President Ahmadinejad's renewed call for the destruction of the State of Israel. In a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman Monday called Ahmadinejad's latest comments a violation of the UN Charter and an incitement to genocide and racism. Gillerman said it was inconceivable that in the 21st century, 61 years after the Holocaust, a UN member state would openly call for the annihilation of another state. By allowing Ahmadinejad to speak at the UN General Assembly last month, Gillerman said "the international community has bestowed upon him an aura of legitimacy."  (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • Iran Testing New Enrichment Device - David Sanger
    Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Monday that Iran had begun testing new uranium enrichment equipment that could double the capacity of its research-and-development facilities. "Based on our most recent inspections, the second centrifuge cascade is in place and ready to go," he said. (New York Times)
  • Fallout of Hamas' Rule Spurs Palestinian Desire to Flee - Joshua Mitnick
    A growing number of Palestinians are openly saying they'd like to leave the West Bank and Gaza if given the chance, yet another indication of the deepening despair since Hamas was elected to run the government. Birzeit University pollster Nader Said, who has monitored emigration attitudes for 12 years, says the percentage of Palestinians willing to relocate once hovered just below 20%. That figure jumped to 32% in a September survey, surging to 44% among Palestinians in their 20s and 30s, and beyond 50% among young men. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Ends Week-Long Operation along Philadelphi Route - Josh Brannon
    The IDF withdrew Tuesday from the Philadelphi route after a week-long operation there, during which troops uncovered at least 15 weapons smuggling tunnels running under the Egyptian border. On Monday, Givati Brigade commandos killed seven Palestinian gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip, including Ata Shimbari, a senior Popular Resistance Committees commander who headed the group's rocket-launching unit. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF: Gaza Operation Targeted Gunmen Only - Hanan Greenberg
    Lt. Col. Guy Biton, commander of the IDF forces operating in northern Gaza, said Monday, "We only hit gunmen who were firing at our forces. If we didn't, those gunmen would be launching Kassam rockets on Sderot tomorrow." Regarding PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' charge that the incident was a "massacre," Biton said, "The Palestinians like to exaggerate reality and in this case the operation went smoother than ever and only gunmen were hit." (Ynet News)
  • Fatah Security Official: "Gaza Has Fallen to Hamas" - Avi Issacharoff
    The IDF's operation against rocket crews in Beit Hanun momentarily united the rival Palestinian camps. "But make no mistake," said a senior PA officer with the security service affiliated with Fatah, "the bloodshed we saw in Beit Hanun is nothing compared to the war expected within days between Hamas and Fatah. Unfortunately, even though I belong to the service identified with Abbas, Gaza has already fallen to Hamas. If it wants to, it will take over the Strip in a matter of hours." In the fighting in Beit Hanun, Hamas' operational force appeared to be the only skilled force operating in the area, with new cars, communication equipment, and polished Kalashnikov rifles. The moment the Hamas men realized that the IDF had the upper hand, they withdrew and left the fighting to other groups.
        The most common sight in Gaza over the Muslim holiday of Eid el Fitr is children carrying plastic weapons, which should be of even greater concern than the smuggling of real weapons through Rafah tunnels. Nearly every kid aged six and up brandishes a toy gun. (Ha'aretz)
  • AP Photographer Kidnapped in Gaza
    Palestinian gunmen on Tuesday kidnapped Spanish photographer Emilio Morenatti who works for the Associated Press news agency in Gaza. (Reuters/Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets at the Israeli city of Sderot Monday evening, damaging two vehicles. (Ynet News)
        See also Israel Air Force Hits Rocket Launchers in Gaza
    The Israel Air Force targeted two rocket launchers in Gaza on Monday night which had been used earlier in attacks on Sderot, army radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Where Will the Terrorists Go After Iraq? - Jim Hoagland
    Some Western governments have launched tightly held contingency planning for the consequences of a possible American failure in Iraq. "Our intelligence agencies have begun to work on where the terrorists would go post-Iraq. That is a threat we cannot ignore now," a senior European official told me recently. Deepening doubts about America's commitment and strategy in Iraq have spread across the Atlantic in recent months as the insurgency has metastasized into sectarian warfare between Sunnis and Shiites.
        Bush's reassurances to the beleaguered Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last week do not dispel the gathering sense at home and abroad that the administration is belatedly engaged in a search for a political-economic exit strategy. Such a strategy would quickly reduce the role of U.S. combat troops in Iraq. (Washington Post)
        See also America's Imminent Departure from Iraq - Sever Plocker
    A mass U.S. departure from Iraq will commence either ahead of the mid-term elections or immediately afterwards. Is Israel aware of the harsh implications such a move will have for it? Undoubtedly an American retreat from Baghdad will empower the global Jihad movement. It will be perceived by millions of Muslims as a defeat for the Americans, and Israel will be weakened in the process. Meanwhile, possible Iranian control over parts of Iraq will present military challenges we have never faced before. The almost inevitable flight of American troops from Iraq is not only an internal American matter, as we shall soon find out. (Ynet News)
  • Ex-Jihadist Seeks Islam's Martin Luther - Nolan Finley
    Dr. Tawfik Hamid, who grew up in affluence as the son of a Cairo doctor, eventually joined the Jamaha Islameia, a jihadist organization, where he fell under the tutelage of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's No. 2, and was schooled in the art of terror. He left when he was asked to go to Afghanistan. "I could not kill," Hamid says. So he became a jihad dropout, fled to the West for safety, and began examining the roots of a movement that aims to subjugate the entire non-Muslim world. Hamid passionately refutes theories that Islamist terror is rooted in politics, oppression, ignorance, or poverty. He grew up wealthy, educated, and free, and yet he fell under the jihadist spell.
        Hamid believes a reformation will lead to the more enlightened practice of Islam. The essential ingredients of reform, he says, are rejection of the principles that apostates must be killed, women can be subjugated and enslaved, Jews are subhuman, and Islam can be spread through violence. Instead of walking on eggshells for fear of roiling the wasps' nest, he says both East and West would be better served by a vigorous critique of Islam. (Detroit News)
  • The UN's Spokesperson for Suicide Bombers - Anne Bayefsky
    On October 19, UN-appointed "human rights" expert John Dugard told the General Assembly that "Palestinian suicide bombers" are "a consequence of occupation." In five years traveling on the UN payroll - 22% of which comes from American taxpayers - Dugard has now distinguished himself as the most fanatical spokesperson for terrorism at the UN outside the Arab and Muslim world. Dugard's job description, or UN mandate, deliberately excludes Palestinian human-rights abuses. This year he launched into his diatribe this way: "Today I deliver my annual criticism of Israel's human rights record." There is no perennial criticism at the UN of the human-rights record of any other state, or terror organization for that matter. Just Israel. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    Israel Weighs Action in Gaza - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)

    • This week the prime minister is expected to convene a discussion of developments in Gaza and how to thwart, in a timely manner, Hamas' intention to adopt Hizballah's south Lebanon deployment model.
    • The most urgent problem and top priority is to block the Philadelphi route and Rafah crossing to prevent the smuggling of arms and experts.
    • The second problem is to recover or neutralize most of the modern anti-tank missiles and industrial explosives that have been smuggled into Gaza already.
    • A secondary mission would be to locate the tunnels Hamas has already started to dig in the direction of the security fence in a bid to infiltrate and carry out attacks in Israel.
    • The third problem requires the IDF to significantly undermine Palestinian terror groups' ability to launch rockets at Israel from Gaza.
    • One option is to take over the Philadelphi route for a limited period of several months, during which the IDF will dig a "canal" from the sea to the Rafah crossing. The seawater will collapse any tunnels beneath.

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