Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 13, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hizballah's Missiles Back in Lebanon - Uzi Mahnaimi (Sunday Times-UK)
    Four months after Israel launched its onslaught against Hizballah, the Lebanese guerrillas are back in south Lebanon stronger than ever and armed with more rockets than they had before the conflict, according to Israeli intelligence.
    "Since the ceasefire, additional rockets, weapons, and military equipment have reached Hizballah," said an Israeli intelligence officer.
    "We assume they now have about 20,000 rockets of all ranges - a bit more than they had before July 12."
    Israeli military intelligence has warned the government that renewed fighting with Hizballah should be expected as early as next spring.

Israel Campus Beat
- November 12, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Should Israel Seek an Interim Agreement with the Palestinians?

Al-Qaeda Vows to Blow Up White House, Occupy Jerusalem - Christopher Bodeen (AP/Denver Post)
    In a new recording released Friday, terror chieftain Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, claimed to have 12,000 fighters under his command who "have vowed to die for God's sake," and said his fighters will not rest until they blow up the White House and occupy Jerusalem.

Rice: Syria Is a Dangerous Country - Ben Caspit (Maariv-Hebrew, 12Nov06)
    "The U.S. is concerned and is closely watching the use of Syrian territory as a way-station for the accelerated rearming of Hizballah," Secretary of State Rice said in a conversation with Maariv.
    "Syria is a way-station for Iranian weapons to spread across the Middle East....We are speaking of a dangerous country that acts in a dangerous way."
    "We have made it clear that Syria must change its behavior immediately. It is not a state that contributes to the stability of the Middle East, this is clear to everyone, and we are following this situation carefully. We are working with others on the international scene to make it clear to Syria that it must change this mode of action."

UN All Present with Little Effect in Lebanon - Michael Hirst (Telegraph-UK)
    The arrival last week in Lebanon of 129 Indonesian troops - including Lt. Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the son of the country's president - brought the tally of foreign soldiers to 9,700 from 21 different nations.

Iran in Tit-for-Tat Call for Arrest of Argentine Judge (AFP/Yahoo)
    Iran's chief law officer has ordered that arrest warrants be issued against Argentine investigators behind warrants issued against senior Iranian officials for a 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires, Iranian state radio reported.
    Former Argentine judge Juan Jose Galeano was accused of "taking bribes to falsify evidence against officials of the Islamic republic," Iranian Attorney General Ghorban-Ali Dori-Najafabadi charged, adding that the money had come from "Zionist circles."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Vetoes Security Council Resolution Assailing Israel - Warren Hoge
    The U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution on Saturday that condemned Israel for its military actions in Gaza. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told the Council that the resolution "does not display an even-handed characterization of the recent events in Gaza, nor does it advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace." In the vote, 4 countries abstained - Britain, Denmark, Japan, and Slovakia - and 10 were in favor - Argentina, China, Congo, France, Ghana, Greece, Peru, Russia, Qatar, and Tanzania. The U.S. traditionally opposes what it considers one-sided Security Council resolutions on Israel. (New York Times)
  • Israelis Fear Arms Buildup in Gaza - Anne Barnard
    Israeli officials say they fear that the Gaza Strip could become another southern Lebanon. A senior military official recently described "Lebanonization" - the possibility that Palestinian militants could end up as well-organized, well-fortified, and well-armed as the Lebanese group Hizballah - as the most worrying new threat Israel faces in Gaza. Hamas, he said, began smuggling in more-advanced weapons and Iranian know-how through a growing network of tunnels under the Egyptian border. (Boston Globe)
  • Olmert: Ahmadinejad Has to Be Stopped - Interviewed by Lally Weymouth
    Q: After the war in Lebanon, you said the "convergence" plan was on hold.
    Olmert: After the war, and the failure of the Palestinians to cope with continued terrorist actions, I had second thoughts about my ability to accomplish the two-state solution through realignment. One thing I can promise: under no circumstances am I going to withdraw from the need to engage in a serious dialogue with the Palestinians.
    Q: How do you see the threat posed by Iran?
    Olmert: President Ahmadinejad is a man who is ready to commit crimes against humanity, and he has to be stopped. (Newsweek)
        See also Iran Warns on Israel Destruction
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad said Sunday that Israel was doomed "to destruction" and would soon disappear, in his latest verbal attack on the Jewish state, Iranian news agencies reported. (Telegraph-Australia)
        See also Olmert Arrives in U.S. for Talks with Bush, Rice - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
  • Hizballah Ministers Quit Lebanese Government - Nadim Ladki
    Five pro-Syrian Shi'ite Muslim ministers from Hizballah and its ally, the Amal movement, resigned from Lebanon's cabinet on Saturday after the collapse of talks on giving their camp more say in government. The pro-Syrian party has threatened mass demonstrations demanding new parliamentary elections unless more of its allies are admitted to the cabinet by mid-November. The majority coalition is willing to bring in Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun, a Hizballah ally, but not to surrender one-third of seats to the opposition. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Groups Call on Muslims to Strike American Targets - Ali Waked
    Four Palestinian organizations threatened Sunday to launch attacks on U.S. targets in response to what they said was America's support of "Israeli crimes." They called on "all the mujahadeen in the Islamic nation to mercilessly strike the Americans." The U.S. veto in the Security Council, according to the groups, "renders America a legitimate target just as Israel is." The statement was signed by the Popular Resistance Committees, the Al-Aqsa Brigades (Fatah's armed wing), the Fatah-affiliated Abu Rish Brigades, and the Islamic Tawahid Brigades. Spokesman for the Resistance Committees Mahmoud Abd-el Aal told Ynet that the Palestinian organizations will hunt the Americans down anywhere in the world, inside the territories and outside them. (Ynet News)
  • PA Foreign Minister: We'll Never Recognize Israel - Roee Nahmias
    Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar told al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper on Sunday that his group will never "repeat Fatah's mistake of recognizing Israel." He added that Hamas rejects the UN partition of November 1947 as well as Resolution 242. He also confirmed that Iran financially supports the Hamas government: "We use the money to pay employees." (Ynet News)
  • Prisoner Deal Is the Next Step - Danny Rubinstein
    Those who imposed the economic and diplomatic siege on the Hamas-led PA - Israel and the United States, and most of the nations in the world, including Arab nations - can congratulate themselves on their success. The Hamas government is being forced to resign. Will a Palestinian unity government be established, leading to a calming of the situation in Gaza? That's not a certainty. There remains the deal to release prisoners in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Without a solution on this issue, there is no new Palestinian government. What will be the fate of about 360 veteran Palestinian prisoners who have been in Israeli prisons since before the Oslo Accords, most of whom have what is called "blood on their hands"? (Ha'aretz)
        See also Olmert in U.S.: Barghouti's Release Not on Agenda - Ronny Sofer
    Talking to reporters on his way to Washington and referring to the negotiations for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Olmert made it clear that the release of Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti [who is serving five life sentences for attacks which left five people dead] was not on the agenda. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire at Israel Continues - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinian gunmen in northern Gaza fired a Kassam rocket Sunday night that struck a residential area in Sderot, causing damage to several buildings. Two other rockets were launched at the town Monday morning. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Delusional Approach in Gaza - Editorial
    The results of earlier failed efforts to work with Abbas are on vivid display right now in Gaza - where Israel withdrew its civilians and soldiers well over a year ago in the hope that the PA chairman would fight terrorism and manage a transition to an independent Palestinian state. But Abbas refused to fight terror, and the thuggishness and corruption that has long characterized his Fatah organization led to the victory of Hamas at the polls in January.
        Terrorist gangs, some affiliated with Abbas' Fatah organization, others with Hamas, have turned Gaza into an updated version of Afghanistan under the Taliban. Today, a who's who of terrorists roam the streets of Gaza, stockpiling arms and staging shootouts with one another. They burrow into refugee camps and densely populated areas like Beit Hanoun, from where they fire rockets into neighboring Israeli towns like Ashkelon and Sderot - making it impossible for Israeli civilians to live normal lives. Make no mistake about it: The terrorists using Palestinian civilians as human shields bear the ultimate responsibility for last week's tragedy at Beit Hanoun.
        We commend the Bush administration for its decision Saturday to veto a badly flawed UN Security Council resolution that equated defensive Israeli military operations with the firing of rockets at Israeli civilians. But aside from its willingness to use the veto power, the Bush administration seems focused on pressuring Olmert into propping up Abbas, who does not merit such support. Washington does Olmert no favors by pressing him for more dubious giveaways to Abbas. (Washington Times)
  • Iran Is on the Offensive - Jackson Diehl
    When George W. Bush and Ehud Olmert sit down together at the White House for the first time in six months on Monday, both will have to face the reality that Iran is winning - not just in preserving its nuclear program but in a broader contest over the direction of the Middle East. Iran and its ally Syria are everywhere on the offensive. They are on the verge of reversing Lebanon's popular Cedar Revolution and handing political control over the country to Hizballah. They are blocking attempts by Palestinian moderates to form a new government in Gaza that could rebuild relations with Israel and the West. Their allies are smuggling more weapons, building more bunkers, and preparing for the next round of what they call "resistance" - a permanent war against Israel that they would use to transform the region. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Moderate Arab Countries Know They Are Iran's Next Target After Israel
    - Gil Hoffman and Sheera Claire Frenkel (Jerusalem Post)

    Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said in an interview Friday:

    • The moral responsibility for what happened in Beit Hanoun is entirely on Hamas and Islamic Jihad, because we left the Gaza Strip completely, not leaving behind a single soldier. They turned Gaza, especially Beit Hanoun, into a launching pad for rockets on our civilians, kibbutzim, and Ashkelon, while cynically using their civilian population as a human shield for their terrorist activity. They cannot evade responsibility for this.
    • No country on earth would tolerate shelling and weapons on its doorstep. We have to take measures to intercept the smuggling of weapons in the Philadelphi Corridor, or before the final destination - as in Beit Hanoun.
    • The real rift in the region is between the quartet of evil - Iran, Syria, Hizballah, Hamas - and all the rest. There is a strong axis of moderate countries: Egypt, Jordan, the Saudis, the Emirates. They are all against Islamic extremism. They consider the Hamas government a dangerous presence for themselves. It's good for Israel to join with these countries that are all afraid of Iran. They hear Ahmadinejad talk about wiping out Israel, and they know they are next in line.
    • Q: What lessons has the army learned from the recent war in Lebanon?
      Sneh: Not to allow the enemy to stockpile weapons and missiles that will be used against us. You don't have to be a general to understand that.

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