Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 25, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Warning: Palestinian Terrorists Seek to Kidnap Israelis in Sinai and Bring Them to Gaza (Prime Minister's Office)
    Warnings of terrorist attacks in Sinai have recently intensified. Terrorists in Sinai are working to abduct Israelis in Sinai and convey them to Gaza.
    The currently open border between Gaza and Sinai makes it easier for terrorists to move back and forth.
    Therefore, Israel's National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau on Thursday called on Israelis to avoid visiting Sinai and any Israelis currently there should leave forthwith.
    See also Palestinian Terrorist Groups Planning Attacks from Sinai - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)
    Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza have used the newly open border with Egypt to send numerous terrorists into Sinai over the last two days with the goal of reaching Israel to commit attacks, Israeli defense officials said Thursday.
    Defense officials said the terrorists in Sinai are most likely to try to strike immediately, and almost certainly within the next two weeks.

Open Border with Egypt Allows Free Flow of Terrorists and Weapons into Gaza (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    The uncontrolled movement of crowds of Gazans in and out of Egypt means that Hamas can now smuggle terrorist operatives and weapons into Gaza with almost no interference.
    Hamas' goal is to force the Egyptians to renege on its participation in the Crossings Agreement of August 2005.

Hamas Began Cutting Border Wall Four Months Ago to Ambush Israeli Forces - Mark MacKinnon (Globe and Mail-Canada)
    Abu Uday, 23, of Hamas, said the systematic effort to weaken the base of the border wall began four months ago in order to ambush Israeli forces.
    "We did these things so that if Israel entered the Philadelphi Corridor [a narrow stretch of no-man's land between Gaza and Egypt] it would be easy to enter and attack them," he said.
    Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad said, "We don't need Israel. If the border is open, we can bring anything in from Egypt."

"Nobody Needs Tunnels Anymore": Open Border a Nightmare for Palestinian Smugglers - Mark MacKinnon (Globe and Mail-Canada)
    Mahmoud Mohammed is a smuggler, one of the hundreds of young Palestinian men who - until Wednesday - made their living crawling deep underground through the maze of tunnels that link Gaza with Sinai.
    Mohammed said he was 17 meters below the surface, digging a new tunnel that was almost complete, when the ground above him started to shake with the first of more than a dozen early morning explosions set off by militants affiliated with Hamas that brought most of the iron wall that separated Gaza and Egypt crashing to the ground.
    He said that when he got out, his boss told him to quit digging because "nobody needs tunnels anymore."

Palestinian Forces Enter Jordan under U.S. Training Program - Adam Entous (Reuters)
    The first battalion of nearly 700 U.S.-screened Palestinian recruits crossed into Jordan on Thursday to begin what officials called "law and order" training under a U.S. program projected to graduate 2,000 men in 2008.
    The eventual plan is for a nearly 50,000-member PA gendarmerie in the West Bank.

Tehran, Havana and Caracas - Editorial (Washington Times)
    One of the most troubling threats in America's backyard is the emerging axis of Cuba's Communist regime and the Iranian government, assisted by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
    Relations concerning "dual-use" biotechnology (material with both military and civilian uses) have flourished since September 11.
    The possibility of Tehran-Havana biological-warfare activities also bears watching. In August 2006, the State Department imposed a two-year sanction against Cuba's Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology for carrying out unspecified transfers of technology and equipment to Iran.

Britain Unveils Terror Law Proposals - D'Arcy Doran (AP)
    The British government revealed sweeping plans Thursday to toughen terrorism laws, including a proposal to hold suspects for up to 42 days without charge.

Yad Vashem Launches Arabic Website (AP/Ha'aretz)
    The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem on Thursday launched an Arabic version of its website, including vivid photos of Nazi atrocities and video of survivor testimony, to combat Holocaust denial in the Arab and Muslim world.
    Last year, Yad Vashem presented a similar version of its website in Persian, aimed at Iran.

An Israeli Scholar in Malaysia - Erika Fry (Bangkok Post-Thailand)
    Dr. Ben Mollov, a professor at Israel's Bar-Ilan University, has made the study of managing and mediating conflict through cultural and religious dialogue the basis of his life's work.
    Mollov was in Bangkok last week en route to a conference in Malaysia, where despite the lack of Israel-Malaysian diplomatic relations (Malaysian passports read "valid in every country but Israel"), he was invited to speak about moderating intercivilizational conflict.
    He also spoke there in 2005, when, in his first visit to the country, he was pleasantly surprised to be received by audience applause, a prominently displayed Israeli flag, and inter-faith bonding with Muslim conference participants over the troubles in finding Halal and Kosher food when traveling.

More Jerusalem Arabs Seek Israeli Citizenship - Dion Nissenbaum (McClatchy)
    Though many Arabs in Jerusalem want to see an independent Palestinian state, they don't want to be part of it.
    The number of Arab residents of Jerusalem applying for Israeli citizenship more than doubled in 2007, according to the Israel Interior Ministry. 500 residents of eastern Jerusalem requested Israeli passports, up from 200 in each of the previous three years.
    There's an uncomfortable acknowledgment, especially among the Arab middle class in Jerusalem, that their lives could get substantially worse under Palestinian rule.
    Eastern Jerusalem Arabs receive Israeli social security and health benefits. They're allowed to vote in local elections. They have the freedom to travel throughout Israel without special permits.

Latest Jerusalem Population Figures - Peggy Cidor (Jerusalem Post)
    According to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies research team headed by Dr. Maya Choshen and Israel Kimhi, the population of Jerusalem at the end of 2006 was 733,300, or 10% of the nation's population.
    469,900 were Jewish, 239,800 Muslim, 12,400 Christian Arab, 2,600 non-Arab Christian and 8,500 unaffiliated.
    The 3.5% rate of unemployment in the city in 2006 was among the lowest in the country.

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  • Rice Calls on Egypt to Control Border with Gaza
    Secretary of State Rice called on Egypt Thursday to control its border with Gaza. "It is an international border, it needs to be protected, and I believe that the Egyptians understand the importance of doing that." Palestinians swarmed into Egypt for the second day Thursday after militants blew open the border. Rice again pinned the blame on the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement for provoking the Israeli blockade. "This problem has come first and foremost out of the security situation created by Hamas in Gaza, their unwillingness to stop" firing rockets into Israel, Rice said. (AFP)
        See also Egypt Fires Water Cannons at Palestinians at Border
    Egyptian forces fired water cannons at Palestinians trying to force their way across the Gaza-Egypt border on Friday. Egyptian forces began placing barbed wire near the collapsed steel border wall early on Friday, and witnesses said Palestinians threw stones at Egyptian forces, who responded by beating some Palestinians with clubs. (Reuters)
        See also Egypt Sets Friday Deadline for Gaza Border Closure (AFP)
        See also Poverty-Stricken Gazans Spent $130 Million in Egypt in Two Days
    Rami Abdou, an economic analyst, estimated that Gazans spent $130 million in less than two days, a princely sum for the poverty-stricken territory. (AP)
  • Israel Says It Wants No Ties with Gaza
    Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said Thursday that Israel wants to relinquish all responsibility for the Gaza Strip, including the supply of electricity and water, now that the territory's southern border with Egypt has been opened. "We need to understand that when Gaza is open to the other side we lose responsibility for it. So we want to disconnect from it."  (AP)
        See also Egypt Won't Take Control of Gaza
    Hossam Zaki, the official spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry, said Thursday of Israeli hints that it was thinking of giving up all responsibility for Gaza now that its border with Egypt is open: "This is a wrong assumption." "The current situation is only an exception and for temporary reasons," Zaki said. "The border will go back to normal."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Raises Alert Level near Israel-Egypt Border
    Israeli Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter on Thursday ordered to increase the state of alert near the border between Israel and Egypt. Yediot Ahronot's website quoted Dichter as saying that the higher alert level is necessary due to "the swarms of people who left Gaza towards Sinai and the terror alerts indicating a terror attack against Israel may originate from Sinai." (Xinhua-China)
        See also Egypt Raises State of Alert after Palestinians Pour into Sinai (Xinhua-China)
        See also Egypt Closes Suez Canal Bridge to Keep Gazans from Cairo
    Egyptian authorities closed the As-Salam Bridge over the Suez Canal to stop tens of thousands of Gaza Strip residents from going on to Cairo after they crossed the Sinai Peninsula. (Maan News-PA)
  • UN Human Rights Council Rebukes Israel on Gaza - Stephanie Nebehay
    The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday demanded Israel lift its week-long blockade of Gaza. The 47-member council adopted a resolution presented by Arab and Muslim states by a vote of 30 in favor and one against (Canada) with 15 abstentions, and one delegation absent. Britain, France, Germany and Japan were among countries to abstain. China and Russia backed the resolution. Western countries abstained in bloc after criticizing the text as unbalanced for failing to even mention the rockets launched into Israel from Gaza by Palestinian militants. The Israeli army estimates about 250 rockets and mortar rounds have pounded Israel since last week.
        U.S. Ambassador Warren Tichenor warned that the Council session and its "one-sided resolution" would only stoke tensions and erode chances for peace. "The Human Rights Council has far too often been used simply as a platform from which to single out Israel, while too often ignoring the other human rights situations. This unbalanced approach has squandered its credibility." (Reuters)
        See also UN Security Council Debates Condemnation of Israel over Gaza - Michal Lando
    As the UN Security Council discussed a draft presidential statement about the situation in Gaza Thursday for the third day in a row, Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman said the mere occupation of the council with this matter was "unjustified" and played into the hands of Hamas. "By engaging, they are rewarding terror, doing Hamas' work, and doing what Hamas wants, which is undermining Abbas and the peace process." "There is no way to balance terrorists and killers and a country trying to defend itself," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israeli Mission in NY Displays 4,200 Balloons, One for Each Kassam Rocket (Ha'aretz)
  • Reformists Purged from Iran Ballot - Michael Slackman and Nazila Fathi
    When Iranian voters go to the polls on March 14 to select members of Parliament, they may be able to choose only between conservative candidates and other conservative candidates, leaders of Iran's main reform party said Wednesday. With more than 7,200 candidates registered to run for 290 seats in Parliament, officials of the Islamic Participation Front said 70% of reformist candidates had been disqualified. Two members of Parliament were disqualified as well, including one of Ahmadinejad's most outspoken critics, Akbar Alami, who has already served two terms. (New York Times)
  • Beirut Bomb Kills Ten
    A powerful bomb targeting a security convoy in a Christian area of Beirut on Friday killed at least 10 people, including a senior official, Captain Wissam Eid of the Internal Security Forces. (AFP)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Border Policeman Killed in Terror Attack at Jerusalem Checkpoint - Amos Harel, Yuval Azoulay, and Yair Ettinger
    Border Policeman Rami Zohari, 20, was killed and a policewoman was seriously wounded in a terror shooting attack Thursday night at the northern entrance to Shoafat, north of Jerusalem. Two Palestinian terrorists had approached on foot, fired at the Israelis, and fled the scene. Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Terrorists Infiltrate West Bank High School, Wound Three - Amos Harel, Yuval Azoulay, and Yair Ettinger
    Two Palestinians armed with knives and a pistol infiltrated the Mekor Haim yeshiva high school in Kfar Etzion, not far from Jerusalem. They entered a library and attacked the students and their counselors, who fought back. During the battle, one student was moderately wounded and two of the counselors were lightly wounded. One of the counselors grabbed the pistol from the terrorist and shot the intruders, killing them both. Witnesses said the terrorists were wearing uniforms of soldiers or security guards. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Terrorists Who Attacked Kfar Etzion Released from Prison Last Week - Ali Waked and Efrat Weiss
    The two terrorists who were killed Thursday after breaking into a high school in Kfar Etzion were released from an Israeli prison last week, Palestinian sources in Hebron said. (Ynet News)
  • Five Palestinian Rockets Fired at Sderot on Thursday - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinian terrorists fired five Kassam rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot Thursday evening. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    Israel Under Palestinian Rocket Fire

  • The Kassam Rocket as Collective Punishment - Bradley Burston
    Imagine a situation in which thousands and thousands of people, many of them children and the elderly, are plunged into a reality in which they must fear for their lives day in and day out, in which their livelihoods are crippled, with their schools and even pre-schools under siege. Entire communities are trapped, paralyzed. Whole childhoods are spent in a state of post-traumatic stress. They are the victims of collective punishment. And they live in Israel. (Ha'aretz)
        See also The Source of Gaza's Pain - Editorial
    Left conspicuously unspoken is the collective punishment meted out by Hamas, which controls Gaza, against the Israeli citizens of Sderot - who have absorbed as many as 50 rocket attacks in a single day for the past seven years. The "cycle of violence" would end soon enough were Hamas to halt its attacks on the innocents of Sderot. It won't, sadly, as long as the international community continues to play the terrorists' game. (New York Post)
  • The Town that Measures Life in 15-Second Intervals - Mary Dejevsky
    Life in Sderot is measured in intervals of 15 seconds. That is how long people have between the sounding of the sirens and the inevitable explosion. Civic life is almost non-existent. People are on edge, unwilling to plan anything in advance, and fearful of dropping their children at school, lest it is the last time they see them. Shula Sasson explains that 15 seconds is not long enough for anyone except the most agile to get to the safer downstairs from upstairs. "If you have to carry a small child, you haven't a hope." So the upstairs of their house is hardly used. Everyone - seven people - now sleeps in the living room. (Independent-UK)
  • Sderot: Life Under Rocket Bombardment - Joshua Mitnick
    In Sderot, Israel, the rocket alert was drowned out by the noise from the children's party. By the time the first kids dashed to the bomb shelter at the Parent and Child Community Center, it was too late. The Kassam rocket thundered overhead, accompanied by a subtle tremble. "You heard that boom," asked Dalia Yosef, the director of the Sderot Resilience Center, which focuses on easing the psychological toll of the rockets. "It's not that far away." "The worst problem is the lack of certainty. The body and mind are always in survival mode," explained Yosef, a native of Sderot whose parents still reside in the town. "All of the threads of life are being broken," Yosef says of the rocket-induced trauma. "It's hurting a lot more than it seems."
        Katy Cohen spoke of sleeping in the safe room of her apartment with her three children. Holding her 2-year-old son, Cohen said that he wakes up in the middle of the night imagining a Kassam attack. "Every little noise he hears he thinks is a Kassam," said Cohen. "He knows what the 'Color Red' alert is and he knows to go into the shelter." (New York Jewish Week)
  • "This Is Really Not What We Hoped For" - Daniel Ben Simon
    Moshav Netiv Ha'asara, a cooperative farming village a stone's throw from the Gaza border, was founded 25 years ago by evacuees from the Yamit settlement area of northern Sinai. "People said it would be a paradise," Nahum Yosefi recalls. "We had a great dream." "Even though the moshav is beautiful, the dream my friends and I had turned into a nightmare. If I'm afraid to let my grandson walk along the path next to my house, what more is there to say?"
        In the past few days and weeks, the residents of Netiv Ha'asara have felt as if they are living in a battlefield. The volleys of screaming rockets mix with the whirring of the attack helicopters sent in to eliminate the squads firing the rockets. The media has focused largely on Sderot, but dozens of communities in the "Gaza envelope" have also come under relentless attack. (Ha'aretz)

    The Gaza-Egypt Border

  • The Enemy Within - Editorial
    As always, Gazans look around, see how terrible conditions are, and point fingers. Many blame Israel. Or they blame the U.S. Or they blame Fatah, rival to Hamas. If things are to improve in Gaza, then that reflexive attitude is one of the first things that must change. Until most Gazans fix the blame for their miserable living conditions where it belongs - on their elected leaders of Hamas - Gaza will remain poised on the brink of crisis, sending rockets into Israel and then complaining bitterly when its foe retaliates.
        This really isn't all that complicated. It's quiet for quiet. If the Palestinians stop lobbing rockets into Israel, there will be no retaliation. This is not a matter of the "cycle of violence." Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. That was supposed to end the "provocation" of the settlements and stop the rocket fire. But it hasn't. There's also no doubt Hamas could stop the rockets. Unfortunately, the leaders of Hamas find it to their political and economic advantage to allow their people to suffer while they smuggle arms and money from Iran and elsewhere to continue the campaign of terror against Israel.
        As long as Hamas is in power, Gaza will be driven further into misery, further from the path that would lead to an independent state. For Gazans, the real enemy is within. (Chicago Tribune)
  • A Farewell to Gaza? - Editorial
    What some see as a problem may also be an opportunity because it could be a first step in getting the world to perceive that many of the residents of Gaza are Egyptians rather than Palestinians. They'd rather be in Egypt than in Gaza, as they showed by voting with their feet these past days. They speak Egyptian Arabic. They have closer family ties to Egypt than they do to the West Bank, where many of them have never visited.
        Rather than forcing the Gazan Arabs to join with the West Bank Arabs into a state of "Palestine" that has never existed, why not let Gaza revert to its pre-1967 status as part of Egypt? Egypt, at least, is a country with which Israel has a peace treaty and diplomatic relations. If the plan of letting Gaza merge into Egypt works, it could be a model for allowing Jordan, another country with which Israel has a treaty of peace, to accept responsibility for parts of the West Bank. In the crisis along the Egypt-Gaza border could lie the seeds of a just resolution to the so-called Palestinian question. (New York Sun)
  • Smugglers Join Gaza Border Crowds - Tim Butcher
    The wall between Gaza and Egypt was blown away in at least eight different places and through the breaches swept a tide of Palestinians. First came the curious teenagers, then came the smugglers. Fertilizer, broken down into half bags for lugging through the many tunnels that arms smugglers normally use for delivery into Gaza, was to be seen as it was manhandled overland. It was white, oily, and crystalline. Gaza militants use it to make explosives. "Hey, hey, hey," shouted a man as I took a photograph of a pile of fertilizer half bags. His aggressive tone jarred with the mood of the crowd as he grabbed my camera lens firmly.
        For most of the thousands of Palestinians who flooded through the border breaches, it was the Eastern Mediterranean version of the British Booze Cruise to Calais. They made their way to shops in nearby Egyptian communities and bought as much as they could carry of things not available so competitively priced in Gaza. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Gaza into Egypt - Martin Kramer
    "This may be a blessing in disguise," an Israeli official said of the destruction by Hamas of a chunk of the border barrier separating Gaza from Egypt. An open border effectively absolves Israel of responsibility for the well-being of Gaza's population, and may prompt Israel to sever its remaining infrastructure and supply links to Gaza. A large part of the responsibility for Gaza would be shifted from Israel to Egypt.
        There were 350,000 Palestinians in Gaza in 1967. Now there are 1.3 million, who are pushing against the envelope of Gaza's narrow borders with growing force. Israel has the power and the resolve to push back. Egypt just doesn't, which is why the envelope burst where it did. (Middle East Strategy at Harvard)
  • Israel's Choices in the Face of Rocket Attacks - Con Coughlin
    By maintaining its constant barrage of rocket attacks against Israel, the Hamas leadership could hardly be credited with working in the best interests of the civilian population it claims to represent. The dilemma facing the Israelis is how they respond to the endless acts of provocation from Hamas, for whatever action the authorities in Jerusalem take seems to provoke international condemnation. The recent closure of Gaza to all but essential humanitarian supplies was heavily criticized by aid agencies, which were less keen to condemn the Israeli casualties caused by Hamas rocket attacks. Given that the Palestinians are in no position to rein in Hamas' excesses, it seems almost inevitable that it will fall to Israel to deal with the existential threat the terror group poses. To make peace in the Middle East, it is often necessary first to make war. (Telegraph-UK)

    Other Issues

  • A Message for Tehran - Editorial
    The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, along with Germany, agreed this week on a third, relatively mild round of sanctions on Iran if it goes on refusing to suspend its enrichment of uranium. China and Russia, major commercial partners of Iran, would sign on only for vigilant monitoring of Iranian financial and military institutions, not for the tough financial penalties sought by the Bush administration.
        Without this third sanctions resolution, Ahmadinejad could go on pretending that the rest of the world accepts his claim that Iran's nuclear file is closed. The compromise tells the people of Iran that the outside world does not accept Ahmadinejad's propaganda line; that having hidden suspicious activities in its nuclear program for 18 years, Iran now must show good faith by suspending uranium enrichment while negotiating an agreement that guarantees it a supply of non-weapons-grade uranium for power generation. Meanwhile, the new sanctions tell Iran's leaders that they are not fooling anybody in the international community. (Boston Globe)
  • The Case Against Moral Inversion
    Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, addressed the UN Human Rights Council on Jan. 24: "It is, after all, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations, who deliberately fire rockets - over 200 in the past week alone - at innocent civilians in Sderot and other Israeli towns....It is they who reject the very notion of a distinction between combatants and civilians."
        "Israel risks the lives of its own soldiers to avoid harming civilians. To Israel, causing a civilian casualty is an unintended tragedy; to Hamas, it is a cause for celebration. The world knows this. The supporters of those who fire rockets at nursery schools summoned us here to accuse Israel of violating international humanitarian law." (UN Watch)

    Weekend Features

  • Deep Inside the Plucky Country - Greg Sheridan
    Alongside the territories is a much under-reported but fascinating and unique country. It's called Israel. The world media makes a mistake by using the same reporters to cover the Palestinian territories as well as Israel. They cover the territories and they only cover Israel as a brooding and malign presence in the territories. Naturally the reporting is one-sided. But it is worse than that. It omits from the equation Israel and the Israelis, and all the countless enthralling and diverse aspects of Israeli politics and society.
        After the 1967 war, when Israel was attacked by a coalition of its Arab neighbors, Israel took territory in eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Some of this, Israelis argue, is necessary for security. It has since left Gaza. Israel is constantly urged to go back to its 1967 borders, but the two places where it has done that, in southern Lebanon and Gaza, the result has been disastrous. It was subject to thousands of rocket attacks from southern Lebanon and now every day Kassam rockets are fired from Gaza at nearby Israeli civilian towns, especially Sderot.
        After a three-week visit I left Israel profoundly optimistic about the morale of the society and the resolve of the people, but profoundly pessimistic about the peace process. If there were peace, any compromise on borders might be possible. But too many Arab leaders, and too many Palestinian leaders, are playing for the very long term and still believe that in time they will wipe Israel off the map.
        The most powerful image I saw in Israel was in a small office in the Knesset (parliament) building in Jerusalem. I had gone to see Ephraim Sneh, a white-haired veteran Labor Party politician and soldier, a former cabinet minister and a former general. He points to a picture on the back wall of his office. It is of two Israeli F-15 fighters flying over Auschwitz. "When we didn't have F-15s, we had Auschwitz," he says. His grandparents, he tells me, were killed by the Polish farmers they had paid to shelter them. You learn the lessons of trusting other people with your security. Israel will certainly make compromises. But it will not commit suicide. The writer is the foreign editor of The Australian. (The Australian)
  • In Korczak's Orphans' Twilight, Memories of a Doomed Utopia - Dina Kraft
    They are in their 80s now, the last living links to Janusz Korczak, the visionary champion of children's rights who refused to part with his young charges even as they were herded to the gas chambers. When they speak of him, the old men are young again: transported to their days in his orphanage, a place they remember as a magical republic for children as the Nazi threat grew closer. Korczak's ideas for a declaration of children's rights were posthumously adopted by the UN, and dozens of Korczak associations exist worldwide. (New York Times)
  • Truth So Stark Even Deniers Would See It - Oakland Ross
    They should persuade Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, to take a stroll through Israel's hauntingly magnificent Holocaust Museum. No one, not even the president of Iran, could tour the museum at Yad Vashem and yet remain under any illusion that the Holocaust - the systematic murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis during World War II - is not an historical fact. What is perhaps most impressive about the museum is the steady accumulation of minute, quotidian details that quietly illuminate the genuine experiences of individual people, human beings whose only crime, in the eyes of the Nazis, was to be Jewish.
        Beneath four panes of thick glass embedded in the floor in one gallery lies a mute and yet eloquent exhibit - shoes, hundreds of pairs of men's and women's shoes all piled together without a word of explanation, for no explanation is needed. (Toronto Star)
  • Observations:

    Breach in Gaza: Hamas Blockades the Peace Process - Editorial (Washington Post)

    • Hamas provided a dramatic illustration of its ability to disrupt any movement toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as tens of thousands of residents of the Gaza Strip surged across the border into Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak announced that Gazans would be allowed to shop in Egypt because they "are starving due to the Israeli siege." In fact, as Mr. Mubarak well knows, no one is starving in Gaza.
    • Israel closed its border with Gaza and disrupted power supplies in response to a massive escalation of Palestinian rocket launches from Gaza at nearby Israeli towns - between Tuesday and Saturday last week, some 225 rockets were aimed at the town of Sderot, where more than 20,000 Israelis have been relentlessly terrorized.
    • Those who say their priority is an Israeli-Palestinian settlement ought to be trying to stop Hamas' disruptions. Egypt's obligation as a law-abiding state is to restore order on the border and prevent the ongoing and massive smuggling of armaments into Gaza. That would go a long way toward stopping the rockets.
    • The Bush administration and European governments should act to stop the ongoing farce at the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council, which have ignored months of daily rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians but now rush to condemn a partial, three-day disruption of Gaza's power supplies. Hamas, and the people of Gaza, should get a consistent message that relief lies not in blowing up international borders but in ending attacks on Israel and allowing a peace process to go forward.

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