Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 8, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

IDF: Hamas Steps Up Production of Rockets in Gaza - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Senior Israel Defense Forces officers believe that Hamas has succeeded in expediting its production of rockets.
    Senior officers say that with the smuggling into Gaza of large quantities of military-grade explosives, this has solved the problem of storing rockets for long periods without their becoming ineffective.
    The accumulation of thousands of rockets over time will allow Hamas, at a time of its choosing, to initiate a major and enduring bombardment of Sderot and other towns in the western Negev, just like Hizballah did by targeting the Galilee during the war in Lebanon this summer.

5 Killed, 7 Injured in Armed Clan Clashes in Gaza (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
    On Saturday, five Palestinians were killed and seven others were injured in renewed clashes between the El-Masri and Abu Taha clans in Khan Yunis.
    Armed clashes between these two clans have occurred over the past few months and several people were killed in the earlier clashes as well.

Shooting Attack on Car in Southern Israel Wounds One (Jerusalem Post)
    Terrorists attacked an Israeli car driving on the Arad-Dimona highway Wednesday, lightly wounding the driver.
    The terrorists blocked the road with rocks, and then fired on the car as it neared.
    After being shot, the driver sped up, broke through the blockade, and drove to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
    Three children in the car were unharmed.

German Navy Off Lebanon Prepares for Terror Attacks (UPI)
    The German navy patrolling the Lebanese coast is preparing to fend off suicide bombings by speedboats or other small vessels.
    Additional machine guns have been mounted atop German frigates in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon as a preventive security measure, a German defense ministry spokesman said Monday.
    A German navy officer said barrels drifting in the water or individuals in life rafts or on jet skis could pose terror threats, the online daily Netzeitung reported Monday.

Useful Reference:

A Festival of Hate - World Jerusalem Day (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
    World Jerusalem Day was celebrated on October 20, 2006, with ceremonies, assemblies, rallies, and parades in Iran, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even Britain, accompanied by calls for the violent destruction of Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • UN: No Evidence of Uranium-Based Israeli Munitions in Lebanon
    UN experts have found no evidence to support a press report that Israel used depleted uranium (DU) munitions during the July-August conflict in Lebanon, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) says. "The samples taken by the UNEP scientists show no evidence of penetrators or metal made of DU or other radioactive material," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. "In addition, no DU shrapnel, or other radioactive residue was found. The analysis of all smear samples taken shows no DU, nor enriched uranium nor higher than natural uranium content in the samples." The UNEP statement said inspectors looking specifically at the DU issue had visited 32 sites south and north of the Litani River.
        In October, the British Independent quoted Chris Busby, the British scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, as saying that craters at Khiam and At-Tiri in southern Lebanon caused by Israeli bombs showed "elevated radiation signatures." (AFP/ABC-Australia)
  • Iran Proposes Defense Pact with Gulf States
    Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najar said Tuesday that countries bordering the Persian Gulf should sign a defense pact to provide security along the strategic waterway. "Signing a collective defense and security treaty among the Persian Gulf states will guarantee peace and security in the region," he said. Iran has been flexing its military muscles in a new series of war games in its southern Gulf waters since Nov. 2 - coinciding with U.S.-led naval maneuvers in the same region. (AFP/Defense News)
  • Iran Calls for Saddam to Be Executed - Ali Akbar Dareini
    Iran called on Iraq Tuesday to carry out its death sentence on Saddam Hussein, saying the former dictator who waged an eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s was a criminal who deserved to die. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Shias Call for Saddam Execution to Be Broadcast Live on Television - Ned Parker (Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Two Palestinian Rockets Land Near Ashkelon School - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired five Kassam rockets at the Israeli city of Ashkelon Tuesday, with two of them landing near a school in the city, two more at the industrial area, and one near a strategic installation. (Ynet News)
        See also Palestinian Rocket Hits Sderot Wednesday, Wounds One - Shmulik Hadad (Ynet News)
  • 19 Palestinians Killed in Northern Gaza - Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
    IDF artillery shells struck a residential area in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun early Wednesday, killing at least 19 Palestinians and wounding dozens of others. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Palestinian Civilian Casualties in Beit Hanoun
    In an effort to disrupt and prevent the firing of rockets at Israeli population centers, the IDF on Wednesday carried out preventative artillery fire at the area from which Kassam rockets were fired Tuesday at Ashkelon, in order to disrupt attempts to resume fire. Following reports of Palestinian civilian casualties, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz ordered a halt to artillery fire in the Gaza Strip pending investigation. IDF activity targets terrorist organizations and infrastructure only, and not Palestinian civilian targets, while the terror organizations deliberately target Israeli civilians.
        The IDF expresses regret at any harm to uninvolved civilians, but stresses that the responsibility for this rests with the terror organizations, which use the Palestinian civilian population as a "human shield," carrying out terror attacks and firing Kassam rockets at Israeli population centers under cover of the Palestinian population. (IDF Spokesman)
        See also Hamas: Israel Must Be Wiped Out - Ali Waked
    Palestinian government spokesman Dr. Ghazi Hamad said that Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth, in response to an IDF strike Wednesday in Beit Hanoun. (Ynet News)
  • U.S. Expects Israel to Agree to Gaza Deployment of PLO Brigade from Jordan - Anshel Pfeffer
    A senior U.S. official told Israeli reporters on Tuesday that the U.S. expected Israel to agree to the deployment of the Palestinian Bader Brigade from Jordan to the Strip and to work for a diplomatic solution to the Gaza situation rather than a military one.
        Though there is little support within the army and the public for a return to the settlements in Gush Katif, there is a growing realization that including the north and south ends of the Strip in the withdrawal was a tactical mistake. The explosives brought through Rafah - with the Egyptians turning a blind eye - are quickly transformed into more rockets fired from the northern Gaza area once controlled by the IDF around the now nonexistent settlements of Dugit, Nisanit, and Elei Sinai. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Are There Signs of a Jordanian-Palestinian Reengagement? - Dan Diker and Pinchas Inbari (ICA/JCPA)
  • U.S. Official: Israel Won't Bomb Iran - Tovah Lazaroff
    Iran's nuclear facilities are too vast to be destroyed by a single air attack so Israel is unlikely to bomb it to forestall Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday. "We do not have enough information about the Iranian nuclear program to be confident that you could destroy it in a single attack. The worst thing you could do is try and not succeed," the official said.
        In Iran there are as many as 200 sites that are part of their nuclear program, he noted. As a result, he said, "I do not see that Israel is going to do something like that....In all our conversations, thus far, Israel has stressed that this is an international problem. Israel does not want to make it an Israeli problem." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • IDF Views Beit Hanoun Operation - Hanan Greenberg
    After a weeklong IDF operation in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, Givati Brigade commander Col. Yoel Strick summed up the operation Tuesday. "We moved as we wished in Beit Hanoun, searched the streets and almost every house." "This operation does not provide a solution for everything that is going on in Gaza, but it will certainly have an important effect. It's also about the many arrests we made, which we hope will provide new information about the terror infrastructure. It's wrong to connect it directly to rocket figures. The goal was to operate inside the town, in the areas that are considered the most crucial core of the infrastructure, and the fact is that in the end we moved through those areas freely, without being shot at."
        Col. Strick says that IDF forces also uncovered five weaponry manufacturing facilities, buildings where missiles and explosives were prepared. During the operation Col. Strick met in person with the director of the Beit Hanoun hospital. "I asked him what equipment he was missing and we made sure he got it." (Ynet News)
  • No Partner for an Interim Agreement - Efraim Inbar
    Progress in dealing with protracted ethnic conflicts such as we have in the Holy Land requires a reliable strategic "address." This means that each side of the conflict must have a political leadership that can authoritatively negotiate and subsequently implement an agreement. Unfortunately, the Palestinian political system lacks a strong and effective political center. As a matter of fact, the Palestinians are on the verge of civil war and it is unclear at this stage whether any party will succeed in establishing an effective monopoly over the use of force in the PA. The two largest political parties, Fatah and Hamas and their associated militias, are too weak to constitute a strategic address for Israel, and the chaotic situation in the PA is likely to continue for some time.
        The remaining available strategy is simply to wait until the Palestinians put their house in order, which may take a long time. Over a decade, territorial concessions on the part of Israel and generous international financial support have had no positive impact on Palestinian society, which has degenerated into chaos. Outside intervention has little chance of overcoming the political and social dynamics within the Palestinian entity. Only the Palestinians can extricate themselves from their dismal situation and eventually become a true partner for negotiations with Israel. The writer is professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies. (
  • Observations:

    Iran's Target Practice - Editorial (Wall Street Journal, 8Nov06)

    • One clue that the ruling Iranian mullahs have something other than peaceful nuclear energy in mind is the huge investment they're making in ballistic-missile technology. Just last week, Iran test-fired dozens of Shahab-2 and Shahab-3 missiles, which have ranges up to about 2,000 kilometers.
    • A large swath of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Eastern European real estate is already within range of these Iranian missiles. Among the potential targets are India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and southern Russia.
    • The missiles also pose a direct threat to the many U.S. bases and troop deployments in the region, especially in Iraq.
    • We're surprised that more Western Europeans, who will soon be within range of Iranian missiles, don't seem worried about this threat.

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