Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Egypt Faces Policy Crisis Over Gaza (Oxford Analytica/Forbes)
Gas Rationing Sparks Anger in Iran - Nasser Karimi (AP/Houston Chronicle)
Fatah-Affiliated Forces Claim Attacks on Gaza Border Crossings (Ma'an News-PA)
Iran: The Last Executioner of Children - Nora Boustany
Terror Threat in Germany (Der Spiegel-Germany)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The present state of border control is inadequate for preventing the smuggling of arms from Syria into Lebanon, according to a report by a UN assessment team submitted to the Security Council on Tuesday. The team was unable to document a single instance of a seizure of arms at or near the border. The Security Council resolution that ended the war between Israel and Hizbullah last August called on Lebanon to secure its borders and prevent the entry of unauthorized arms. The team's findings bolster a warning to the Security Council on June 11 by Terje Roed-Larsen, a special UN envoy, who reported "a steady flow of weapons and armed elements across the border from Syria." (New York Times)
Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has asked Israel for permission to bring Fatah forces based in Jordan to the West Bank to try to shore up his control after Hamas' Gaza takeover, Israeli officials said on Tuesday. The Badr Brigade has less than 1,000 fighters of various levels of training, and Abbas had initially intended to send the brigade into Gaza. Analysts say Badr is Fatah's best-trained and best-equipped fighting force, aside from the Presidential Guard. It is considered to be more loyal to Fatah than other forces, and also has strong ties to the Jordanian king. (Reuters/Washington Post)
See also Are There Signs of a Jordanian-Palestinian Reengagement? - Dan Diker and Pinhas Inbari (ICA/JCPA)
Fatah officials and columnists in the PA dailies were skeptical of Hamas' declarations that it would not try to impose Islam upon the citizens in Gaza. They said that the acts and statements of Hamas - destruction of monuments, attacks on Christians, and calls to establish an Islamic emirate - portended a Taliban-like reality. Yousef al-Qazzaz said: "[Hamas] members destroyed the monument of the unknown soldier [in Gaza] just as the Taliban destroyed archeological sites and monuments in Afghanistan." (MEMRI)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Monday announced a website tool that permits investors to obtain information directly from company disclosure documents about businesses in countries the U.S. Secretary of State has designated "State Sponsors of Terrorism" - which currently include: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. (Securities and Exchange Commission)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Defense Ministry officials said Tuesday that Hamas was incapable of independently releasing kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, whose fate was in the hands of the Popular Resistance Committees and a number of other radical clans. "Hamas is only in a position to negotiate with Israel but will not be making the final decision," one official explained. "In the end, once Israel agrees to the deal, Hamas will go to the captors and request that Shalit be released."
The officials said that among the prisoners Hamas has asked to be released are the group's entire terror leadership from the West Bank. Their release would enable Hamas to reestablish its military wing in the West Bank. "It took us years to arrest these people," said one official. "To let them out would also counter everything Israel is trying to do to with Abbas in the West Bank." (Jerusalem Post)
A majority of Palestinians do not trust their current leadership, according to various public as well as confidential opinion poll results. Ramallah-based political analyst Hani al-Masri notes a "deep gap between the Palestinian parties and the Palestinian people." Dr. Khalil al-Shakaki of the Palestinian Center for Political and Survey Research reported a poll showing 41% supporting the idea of dismantling the Palestinian Authority, while 42% support a confederation with Jordan. (Gulf News-Dubai)
Former Prisoner of Zion Ida Nudel filed a petition to the High Court of Justice demanding it order the Internal Security Minister to withhold visitation rights of Hamas and Hizbullah prisoners in Israel as long as the Red Cross was prevented from seeing kidnapped IDF soldiers Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev, and Ehud Goldwasser. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Who lost Gaza? Increasingly, one hears that the disaster is the consequence of Israeli policies or American indifference. It is necessary to insist, therefore, that the primary responsibility for Palestinian actions falls on Palestinians. The internal factors are more decisive than the external factors. The political theology of Hamas is not, as outraged commentators like to say, an expression of nihilism; it is an expression of a grandiose radical worldview. If Hamas were not so genuinely indigenous, it would not be so genuinely terrifying.
The more violent Hamas gets, the more one hears that it is time for diplomacy. About what, exactly? The only Palestinian state that Hamas will discuss is the one that will erase Israel from the map. For many decades, the world has clamored for Palestinian self-determination. Well, Palestinian self-determination is here for all the world to see. (New Republic)
Consider the pell-mell events of recent weeks. Iran's Revolutionary Guard is caught delivering weapons to the Taliban and explosives to Iraqi terrorists. At the same time, Fatah al-Islam, a shady group linked to Syria, launches an attack on the Lebanese army from within a Palestinian refugee area, beheading several soldiers. Tehran trumpets further progress on nuclear enrichment as President Ahmadinejad repeats his call for annihilating Israel, crowing that "the countdown to the destruction of this regime has begun." Hamas seizes control militarily in Gaza.
The apparent meaning of all of this is that the axis of radicals - Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah - is feeling its oats. It believes that its side has defeated America in Iraq, and Israel in Gaza and Lebanon. Ahmadinejad recently claimed that the West has already begun to "surrender," and he gloated that "final victory...is near." It is this bravado that bodes war. (Wall Street Journal)
The Palestinians have lived for decades now on a sense of historical entitlement. The world owed them a state come what may; it would be delivered to them even when their leaders faltered, even as they fell afoul of international norms and expectations. Now they know better. The American war on terrorism that would come in the aftermath of 9/11 had put before the Palestinians one of those great, defining moral and political questions: They could opt for the forces of order, tie their fate and their cause to sobriety and realism, or ride with the outlaws. The disorder now on full display in Gaza and the West Bank is the harvest of Palestinian history. What we see is the inevitable fate of a national movement given over to the cult of the gun. (U.S. News)
The international-forces idea is a sharp departure from the widely admired principle that Israel does not rely on foreigners for its defense and only wants to be able to handle it alone. This doctrine yielded massive U.S. military assistance and political backing for Israel. Once Israel changes its approach and starts asking for foreign troops to defend all its borders, the perception of Israel may well also change - from asset to burden.
Once Israel formally asks the Europeans to send troops to Gaza, they will not do so free of charge. They will probably prefer to send their troops to the West Bank instead of Gaza as a way of imposing their positions on Israel - not only regarding the checkpoints but also regarding other Israeli security requirements such as the separation fence. (ICA/JCPA)
In the Wake of the Hamas Coup: Rethinking America's "Grand Strategy" for the New Palestinian Authority - Robert Satloff (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
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