Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 26, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

PA: Hamas Smuggled Millions in Cash into Gaza to Pay Police - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    PA Interior Minister Said Siam of Hamas, who returned to Gaza via the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday, brought with him suitcases full of cash, estimated to contain from $3 million to $10 million.
    The cash will be used to pay salaries to thousands of Palestinian policemen, senior PA officials revealed on Wednesday.
    Siam raised the funds during visits to Egypt, Iran, and Syria.

Israel Did Not Fire at German Ship - Efrat Weiss (Ynet News)
    Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz stated Wednesday that reports that Israel Air Force jets had fired shots at a German ship were completely untrue.
    The Germany daily Der Tagesspiegel quoted a junior German Defense Ministry official as telling a parliamentary committee that two Israeli F-16 fighters flew low over a German navy vessel off the Lebanese coast and fired two shots.
    See also IDF: We Reacted to Unauthorized German Helicopter (Jerusalem Post)
    Several days ago a German helicopter took off from a warship off the Lebanese coast in an area where, according to agreements, it had to inform Israel of the flight.
    Since Germany failed to follow this procedure, the Israel Air Force scrambled its fighter jets towards the area, but the problem was solved without confrontation and without any shots being fired, the IDF reported.

American Muslim Convention Survey: U.S. Knew in Advance of 9/11 Attacks (Muslims for a Safe America)
    307 Muslims who are American citizens participated in a survey conducted by Muslims for a Safe America at the Islamic Society of North America's annual convention in Chicago on Sep. 1-4, 2006:
    Is the American government at war with the religion of Islam? Yes 208, No 79.
    Did Muslims hijack planes and fly them into buildings on 9/11? Yes 117, No 139.
    Did the U.S. government have advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, and allow the attacks to occur? Yes 200, No 70.
    Should Iran develop nuclear weapons? Yes 161, No 123.

Israel to Provide F-15 Fighter Components (UPI)
    Israel's Elbit Systems unit Cyclone has been awarded a $19 million contract with Boeing Co. to provide structural components for U.S. F-15 fighters including detachable fuel tanks, pylons, horizontal stabilizers, and gun access doors.
    Israel's Globes reported on Oct. 23 that Elbit Systems is also a leading contractor in a Boeing-led consortium in a $2 billion project to build security fences along the U.S. border with Mexico.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Argentina Charges Iran, Hizballah in 1994 Jewish Center Bombing
    Argentine prosecutors have charged Iran and Hizballah with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish charities office in Argentina that killed 85 people and injured 300. Prosecutors demanded an international arrest warrant for then-Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and six other top Iranian officials at the time of the attack, and a former Hizballah foreign security service chief, Imad Fayez Moughnieh. Argentine chief prosecutor Alberto Nisman declared: "We deem it proven that the decision to carry out an attack July 18, 1994, on the AMIA (the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association, a Jewish charities association headquarters in Buenos Aires) was made by the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran which directed Hizballah to carry out the attack."  (AFP/Yahoo)
  • U.S. Wants Tougher Sanctions on Iran than Europeans Are Proposing - Edith M. Lederer
    The U.S. indicated it wants tougher sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment than the measures in a UN resolution drafted by Britain, France, and Germany. European diplomats said the proposed sanctions - banning the sale of missile and nuclear technology to Iran and ending most UN help for its nuclear programs - are narrowly focused in hopes of winning Russian and Chinese backing. "We look forward to a full meeting of the five permanent members where we will obviously have American changes to the proposed European text," said Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the UN.
        In an attempt to win Russia's support, the draft resolution exempts the initial nuclear facility being built by the Russians at Bushehr - despite U.S. demands that the project be halted entirely under the sanctions. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • Saudi Succession Laws Overhauled - Magdi Abdelhadi
    A new law of succession in Saudi Arabia was issued by King Abdullah last week with the apparent aim of reducing uncertainty around the transfer of power in the country. Abdullah has established a new body, the Allegiance Commission, exclusively made up of male heirs to the founder of the kingdom, King Abdulaziz bin al-Saud, which will have the job of ensuring the smooth transfer of power. This means that the decision to choose the future ruler of the kingdom will no longer be in the hands of one person alone - the king - but a group of princes. (BBC News)
        See also New Saudi Rules on Succession: Will They Fix the Problem? - Simon Henderson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Attempt to Smuggle Explosives from Gaza to West Bank Thwarted - Shmulik Hadad
    Israeli security services in recent days thwarted an attempt to smuggle explosives from Gaza through the Karni crossing, it was released for publication Wednesday. Security forces discovered six kilos of standard TNT hidden inside an iron cage used to transport goods from Gaza into Israel. Mahmoud Samih Abu Nagi, a Palestinian who works at the crossing, coordinated the transfer of the explosives which were destined for Rami Samir Abid, 25, from Tulkarm, who was to collect the TNT once it reached Israel. (Ynet News)
  • Hamas "Executive Forces" Recruiters Active in Bethlehem in West Bank - Najib Farag
    According to Palestinian security sources, Hamas activists have begun recruiting young Palestinians in the Bethlehem area for service in the "Executive Forces." The recruiters have been able to attract numerous young people, many of whom are former Fatah activists who have become disgruntled with the movement. (Palestine News Network)
        See also IDF Likely to Be Swept Up in West Bank Struggle - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    The conflict between Israel and Hamas is likely to escalate soon in light of the Israel Defense Forces' decision to try to thwart the establishment of a Hamas security service in the West Bank. In Gaza, Hamas' "Executive Forces" have become one of the organization's main power bases in its struggle against Fatah. Members of this force are well-equipped and very disciplined, and they have won almost all their street battles with Fatah gunmen. To arm its people, Hamas is making massive weapons purchases. In addition, it is trying to persuade Fatah security service members to desert to Hamas. Thus far, Hamas has apparently succeeded in organizing a few hundred armed men in several West Bank cities, the most prominent of which is Hebron. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Deadly Hizballah Chess Match - James G. Zumwalt
    Hizballah embarked on the wide-scale conversion of private homes in southern Lebanon into mini-military sites from where it could easily target Israel's civilian population. When war erupted in southern Lebanon, designated leaders of Hizballah combat teams received envelopes, each containing an address of one of the modified homes. The team quickly deployed to its assigned location, immediately breaking through an exterior wall of the sealed room. Each envelope contained aiming and firing instructions for the object prepositioned inside the room before it was sealed - a surface-to-surface missile atop a launcher. After removing part of the room's roof to allow for unobstructed flight and on command, the team was to fire the missile, raining death and destruction down upon Israel's civilian population.
        Hizballah had designed a tactical plan calculated to maximize civilian casualties on both sides of the battlefield - by design on the Israeli side in targeting its major population centers and by consequence on the Lebanese side as Israel responded. Sadly, from Hizballah's perspective, these civilian casualties were but dispensable pawns in its chess match with Israel. (Washington Times)
  • Lessons of the War in Lebanon - Mark Helprin
    The lessons for Israel? Not to let things go for so long; to have a better picture of the battlefield (using, for example, ground-penetrating radar); to "up armor" its tanks; to adapt naval point defense systems that, once emplaced, are capable of bringing down Katyushas cheaply; to determine carefully, state publicly, and not depart from the aims of the campaign; to calibrate military action to the time limits imposed upon Israel in all its wars; better to inform the Lebanese and the world that Israel has no choice but to strike at missiles launched against it from residential areas if Hizballah's will is to make Lebanon a free-fire zone; and to be prepared to deal with West Bank and Gaza variations of the Hizballah technique.
        The preeminent lesson is that Israel must create more of a margin of safety in its military operations. It has no alternative but to over-spend, over-prepare, over-fortify, over-stockpile, and over-train. History will see that the essence of this war is that it has served as an exchange of messages in the prelude to an Islamic nuclear confrontation with the West. To an Iran that calls for its destruction and is proceeding headlong toward nuclear weapons, Israel has stated in the war in Lebanon that it will not go down alone. (Claremont Review of Books)
  • Will France Ever Integrate Its Muslim Immigrants? - Matthew Kaminski
    France's anti-terrorism laws are the toughest anywhere in the Western world. French prosecutors can hold terror suspects for years without charge; the definition of "links to terrorism" is loose. Every mosque in France is monitored. Since 9/11, the government has cracked down on foreign financing and moved to train "French imams." All this may be the reason why France hasn't been hit by terrorism since a wave of subway bombings in 1995. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Masked Vandals Set Buses on Fire in Paris Suburbs
    Masked vandals set ablaze two buses near Paris overnight in an upsurge of violence ahead of the first anniversary of France's suburban riots, police said on Thursday. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Warnings to Israel on Lebanon Overflights Linked to French Election Campaign - Freddy Eytan (Maariv-Hebrew)

    • "Israeli overflights in Lebanon endanger our soldiers," UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Alain Pellegrini has warned. Yet Gen. Pellegrini, who has served in Lebanon for years, is actually the chief obstacle to implementing the decisions of the UN Security Council.
    • He did nothing to prevent the arming of Hizballah or the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, and tens of tunnels and bunkers were built and thousands of rockets were launched at Israel from areas under his authority during his watch.
    • It is time to send the general home and end his one-sided reports, which do little to contribute to peace in the area and result in misunderstandings and unnecessary arguments.
    • It is clear to everyone that until UN Resolution 1701 is implemented in full, and as long as there is still no serious oversight by UNIFIL over Hizballah, the Israeli Air Force must continue its flights. Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself. The purpose of these flights is to prevent the rearming of Hizballah and to prevent a new war. These flights endanger neither the French nor the Lebanese.
    • We should thank Paris for its efforts on behalf of Lebanon, but this does not have to come at Israel's expense, and certainly not to serve internal French considerations to win the favor of Muslims voters in France prior to the upcoming French presidential elections.

      Former Israeli Ambassador Freddy Eytan heads the Jerusalem Center's Israel-Europe Relations project.

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