Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 30, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Egyptian Policemen at Gaza Border Are Elite Commandos - Herb Keinon and Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Following disengagement from Gaza in 2005, Israel agreed to allow Egypt to deploy 750 of its border policemen near the Egypt-Gaza border.
    But according to a high-ranking official in Jerusalem, the policemen are really elite undercover commandos who were deployed there by Cairo in an effort to change the strategic balance along the border.
    Defense establishment officials say the Egyptians could do much more to stop the arms smuggling across the border, but that Egypt has refrained from employing its troops effectively, trying to force Israel to allow the deployment of more forces.
    "They want to change the strategic balance along the border with Israel," a senior defense official said.

U.S. Investment in Fatah Forces Likely to Go Down the Drain - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    In the recent fighting, Abbas' supporters suffered major casualties and many senior figures belonging to Fatah are now afraid to sleep in their homes.
    The resignation over the weekend of Gen. Rashid Abu Shabak, a top Fatah security commander in Gaza, days after Hamas gunmen raided his villa in Gaza City and killed six of his bodyguards, is further evidence of the collapse of the PA security infrastructure.
    Seven other senior Fatah commanders have been killed by Hamas militiamen over the past year in Gaza.
    Abbas has lost much of his influence over the PA security forces, not to mention the scores of Fatah-controlled militias that are responsible for the ongoing state of anarchy and lawlessness.
    Under current circumstances, the millions of dollars that the U.S. is investing in training and arming Abbas' "Presidential Guard" are likely to go down the drain.
    A security force that can't arrest a car thief will never stand up against Hamas.

Three Islamic Jihad Terrorists Killed in Gaza "Work Accident" (Reuters)
    Three Islamic Jihad terrorists were killed in an explosion in central Gaza on Tuesday, hospital officials said.
    A Palestinian security source said it appeared they were killed in a "work accident" when explosives they were handling detonated accidentally.

Understanding the Palestinian Infighting - Daoud Kuttab (Jerusalem Post)
    An outside observer can easily be excused for asking how Palestinians, who cannot learn to administer power fairly, apply the rule of law, and understand the meaning of power-sharing and rotation of power in Gaza, can guarantee that they can do it in the rest of the Palestinian territories.
    Sources from Gaza indicate that the last round of internal fighting was instigated by some hardline officials (unconfirmed reports have even pointed to the former ministers of foreign affairs and interior) who were asked to leave in order to make room for the national unity government.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hamas Leader: Rocket Attacks on Israel Will Continue - Ian Black
    Khaled Mashal, the political leader of Hamas, speaking in Damascus Tuesday, insisted attacks on Israel will continue despite Israeli retaliation. Hamas has been the main force behind more than 250 Kassam rockets fired at southern Israel from Gaza in the past two weeks, killing two civilians. Mashal rejected demands by the Quartet that Hamas accept three conditions - recognition of Israel, an end to violence, and acceptance of previous peace agreements with Israel.
        Mashal is described by Western sources as the channel for Iranian financial support for Hamas. The U.S. has pressed Syria to close down Hamas' Damascus offices but Syria insists it will not. Contemplating the forthcoming 40th anniversary of the June 1967 Middle East war, Mashal underlined his view that armed resistance will eventually succeed. (Guardian-UK)
  • Security Council to Vote on Court to Try Suspects in Beirut Slaying - Warren Hoge
    The U.S. and its European allies, acting despite opposition from Russia, scheduled a vote for Wednesday on a binding Security Council resolution establishing an international court to try those suspected of killing Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister. Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador, said he believed that the Western powers had the nine votes necessary for passage, and Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador, outlined his country's opposition in a way that seemed to presage an abstention rather than a veto. The resolution is being proposed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, making it mandatory and subject to enforcement. (New York Times)
  • Al-Qaeda Extends Reach from Iraq to Algeria - Craig Whitlock
    Al-Qaeda has rapidly extended its influence across North Africa by aiding and organizing local groups that are demonstrating a renewed ability to launch terrorist attacks in the region. The bombers who struck the Government Palace and a police station in Algiers last month, killing 33 people, are believed to have been local residents. But Algerian authorities are examining evidence that the bombers were siphoned from recruiting pipelines that have sent hundreds of North African fighters to Iraq and perhaps were trained by veterans of the Iraqi insurgency.
        "Al-Qaeda's presence in North Africa is a reality," said Baltasar Garzon, a senior Spanish magistrate. "It's an ideal base from which to engage in actions against Europe....Moving their next phase of action to Europe, I think, is just a matter of time." (Washington Post)
        See also Spain Arrests 16 Over Recruiting Islamist Fighters - Ben Harding
    Spain said on Monday it had arrested 14 Moroccans and two Algerians suspected of recruiting Islamist fighters for Iraq and North Africa. (Reuters/Washington Post)
        See also Al-Qaeda Video Threatens Attacks on U.S. - Anna Johnson
    Wearing a white robe and a turban, Adam Yehiye Gadahn, an American member of al-Qaeda who has been charged with treason, warned President Bush on Tuesday to end U.S. involvement in all Muslim lands or face an attack worse than the Sept. 11 suicide assault, according to a new videotape. Gadahn demanded that Bush remove all U.S. military and spies from Islamic countries, free all Muslims from U.S. prisons, and end support for Israel. He said a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq alone would not satisfy al-Qaeda. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Air Force Targets Hamas Rocket Crew
    The Israel Air Force killed two Hamas men early Wednesday in a strike on a group of gunners firing rockets at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip. Hamas radio said the men belonged to its military wing. "Hamas exploits every calm and quiet period to build itself up and prepare for future attacks. We cannot allow this," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Ya'alon: No Peace Until Arabs Recognize Israel - Etgar Lefkovits
    The refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel's basic right to exist as an independent Jewish state is the main obstacle to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya'alon said Monday. "Today, I do not see the possibility of being able to settle the conflict without defeating the regimes and terrorist organizations that still hold the idea of destroying Israel," Ya'alon said at a briefing sponsored by Jerusalem's Shalem Center marking 40 years since the Six-Day War.
        "Until 1995, I thought we might have a Palestinian partner to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on a two-state solution, but I do not think this way anymore, based on the experience of the last decade," he said. "The way to defeat global terrorism is not by solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but by defeating jihadist regimes and their organizations by all means, including political and economic," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas TV Promotes Child Martyrs - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
    Hamas TV continues to promote martyrdom for children. A new video clip, broadcast Sunday, follows a young Palestinian boy who matures into a Hamas fighter against Israel and eventually dies as a martyr, while a choir sings, "The pure blood will produce honor and glory."  (Palestinian Media Watch)
        View Child Terrorist Video (Palestinian Media Watch)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Ahmadinejad Sabotaging Iran's Economy - Spengler
    Iran's economy is so damaged that it is impossible to tell how bad things are. Iranian dissidents put overall unemployment at 30% and youth unemployment at 50%. Government subsidies sustain a very large portion of the population; 42% of the non-agricultural population is employed by the Iranian state, compared with 17% in Pakistan. The present inflation rate of about 20%, driven by a 40% rate of monetary expansion, suggests that government resources are already exhausted. Governments resort to the printing press when they no longer can raise sufficient funds.
        Ahmadinejad last week reduced private and state bank lending rates to 12% from 14%, that is, 5-10 percentage points below the rate of inflation. If Ahmadinejad were in the pay of a hostile intelligence service, he could not have found a more effective way to sabotage Iran's economy by augmenting the incentives for capital flight. (Asia Times-Hong Kong)
  • Battle for Britain - Editorial
    Britain has become in recent years the battlefield in Israel's fight for its existence as a Jewish state. The number of British organizations calling for the boycott of Israel, their public campaigns, and their constant comparisons between Israel and the apartheid regime of South Africa have made the battle for British public opinion particularly significant. In the face of boycott proposals by Britain's National Union of Journalists, by a group of British doctors and a group of architects, and in the wake of the Anglican Church's decision to divest from companies cooperating with Israel, even the Israeli left has no choice but to fight back.
        Taking off the gloves in this debate involves knowingly foregoing the kudos that British academia lavishes on all who are willing to express anti-Israel stands. The British University and College Union has even had the temerity to proclaim that Israeli lecturers who disown the policies of the Israeli government will not be boycotted. It is British academics who should lose sleep over this McCarthyistic demand. Academic freedom means first of all an open exchange of opinions, without coercion, and not shutting people's mouths. (Ha'aretz)
        See also British Academic Union Set to Vote on Boycotting Israel - Jon Boone (Financial Times-UK)
        See also Israeli Foreign Minister Meets with British Ambassador Over UK Boycotts - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    The Economist Is Wrong - Sever Plocker (Ynet News)

    • "Israel's Wasted Victory" is the headline of The Economist's editorial marking 40 years since the Six-Day War. Nonetheless, in describing the war as "a calamity for the Jewish state no less than for its neighbors," The Economist is making a grave mistake.
    • The Six-Day War changed the course of history for the better, ensured Israel's existence, and convinced the Arabs to come to terms with it. Thanks to Israel's full and shining victory, the rulers of the Arab states relinquished their vision of eliminating Israel.
    • The Economist writes, "When, decades later, Egypt and Jordan did make peace with Israel, the Palestinians did not recover Gaza and the West Bank." The Palestinians did not recover Gaza and the West Bank? Until 1967, Gaza and the West Bank were territories administered by Egypt and Jordan.
    • It may well be assumed that the Jordanian regime would not have permitted Palestinian refugees, their children and grandchildren to realize their national sovereignty in Gaza and the West Bank and to establish the Palestinian state there.
    • Had the Palestinians really wanted a state of their own it would have been established long ago. Yet the Palestinians prefer a state of "no state," no responsibility, no commitments and no solution, alongside ongoing terror.

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