Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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February 7, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Warns of Renewed Wave of Suicide Bombings - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
    In a statement on Hamas' Internet site, Dr. Abu-Osama Abed al-Ma'ati, Hamas' envoy to Iran, warned that the suicide bombing attack in Dimona was the beginning of a new wave of such attacks after a year's pause.
    Hamas has also stepped up its involvement in firing rockets into Israel over the past couple of days.

PA Glorifies Dimona Terrorists - Yadid Berman (Jerusalem Post)
    The terrorists who perpetrated Monday's suicide bombing in Dimona were glorified in three newspapers controlled by the PA, including the official Al-Hayat al-Jadida, controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Media Watch reported Wednesday.
    "The perpetrators of the operation died as shahids (glorious martyrs)," Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported on Feb. 5.
    The Palestinian dailies Al-Iyam and Al-Quds also defined the bombers as shahids.
    Also described as shahids in the Palestinian media were two Palestinians who attempted to murder Israelis in Kfar Etzion's Makor Haim High School several weeks ago.

Mubarak Warns of Muslim Brotherhood Takeover in Egypt (Israel Radio-Hebrew)
    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned of a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in an interview with Spanish journalists.
    He said that if the Muslim Brotherhood succeeds in taking control of the Egyptian government, foreigners would not be able to remain in the country.
    He warned the journalists against believing what the Muslim Brotherhood is now saying, and said they should be aware of what the radical Islamic movement actually believes.
    See also The Muslim Brotherhood: A Moderate Islamic Alternative to al-Qaeda or a Partner in Global Jihad? - Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi (ICA/JCPA)

Hamas Planned to Abduct Egyptian Soldiers (AKI-Italy)
    The Islamist Hamas movement planned the abduction of Egyptian soldiers patrolling the Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt, sources close to the Egyptian government have told the Arab website Elaph.
    The abductions were to be carried out with the intention of exchanging the soldiers for Hamas operatives arrested in Egypt.

Poll: 2/3 of Gazans Oppose Hamas Takeover (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research)
    According to a Palestinian poll conducted between Jan. 23 and Feb. 3, 72% of Palestinians still oppose Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza, while only a quarter support it.
    In Gaza alone, opposition to Hamas' takeover stands at 67% and support at 31%.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Testing Advanced Centrifuges - Mark Heinrich
    Iran is testing an advanced centrifuge at its Natanz nuclear complex, diplomats said on Wednesday, a move that could lead to Tehran enriching uranium much faster and gaining the means to build atom bombs. Iran had 3,000 P-1 centrifuges working by November, but only at an estimated 10% of capacity. Diplomats tracking Iran said it had started mechanical tests of a more efficient P-2 model, which is designed to enrich uranium 2-3 times faster. Diplomats said Iran had decided to install no more P-1s and expand capacity only with their more efficient successor.
        "I believe this is a disturbing development," said David Albright, head of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security and an ex-UN weapons inspector. (Reuters)
  • U.S. to Boycott Anti-Israel Durban II Meeting - William C. Mann
    The U.S. has decided not to attend next year's follow-up to the 2001 UN World Conference on Racism because the panel seems certain to repeat anti-Semitic and anti-Israel positions of the original gathering in Durban, South Africa, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) announced in a news release. The U.S. and Israel walked out of that conference, which ended two days before 9/11. Coleman said the decision came in response to a letter he and 26 fellow senators wrote to Secretary of State Rice. (AP/MSNBC)
  • Lebanon Cleric Advises "Modern Shiites" - Borzou Daragahi
    Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanon's senior-most Shiite cleric, has toned down his rhetoric in recent years. He now espouses a more modest vision for the faithful than the ambitious agenda set forth by Iran, which considers itself the patron of Shiites worldwide and has been trying to increase its influence throughout the Muslim world. "I think the current Iranian president lacks diplomatic skills, and I think he creates problems for Iran," Fadlallah said of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
        His attempts to distance Lebanese Shiites from Iran's policies have angered some Shiite clerics close to the Islamic militant group Hizbullah and its leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Fadlallah was once Hizbullah's spiritual leader, but now the two camps compete for donations from wealthy Shiites, who traditionally have given more money to him. (Los Angeles Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Muslim Extremists from Egypt Poured into Gaza to Fight Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Thousands of Arab men flocked to Gaza from Egypt in the past two weeks, offering to join in the fight against Israel, sources close to Hamas said Wednesday. Some of the men had come from Iraq where they had been carrying out attacks against U.S. troops. "Hamas has turned the Gaza Strip into an international center for global jihad," said one PA security official. "Most of the men who entered the Gaza Strip through the breached border are now being trained in Hamas' camps and schools." Another PA security official said that a number of Iranian security experts had also entered Gaza to help train members of Hamas and other armed groups. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Report: Egyptian Radicals Enter Gaza to Aid Palestinian Militants - Roee Nahmias
    Some 2,000 Egyptian radical Islamic activists have infiltrated into Gaza to join the struggle against Israel, the Egyptian Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported Wednesday. The jihadists met with Islamic Jihad and Hamas leaders and requested to engage in "martyrdom operations," but the men were told to return to Egypt. (Ynet News)
  • Two Children Injured by Palestinian Rocket at Israeli Kibbutz - Yonat Atlas
    Two girls - Tchelet, 2, and Yardena, 12 - were injured from shrapnel Wednesday when a Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza landed near a kindergarten at Kibbutz Be'eri. "This time the rocket fell without warning; it just exploded right before my eyes," said Gladis Za'arur-Fishbein, Tchelet's mother. Another Palestinian rocket hit a house in Sderot. (Ynet News)
        See also A Kibbutz in the Shadow of Kassams - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas Says It Fired 26 Rockets into Israel
    Hamas said Wednesday that its fighters launched 26 rockets into Israel since Tuesday night. (Xinhua-China)
  • Power Reductions to Gaza to Begin Thursday
    Israel will begin reducing the amount of electricity it supplies to Gaza on Thursday as part of punitive measures against the Hamas government there. The power cutback was made possible by a High Court of Justice ruling last week. The plan will reduce the flow of power by 5% in three of the 10 power lines used to supply Gaza with electricity. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Coming Hamas-Israel War? - Robert Baer
    At this point Israel has to be wondering if Hamas is planning a real war, something along the lines of the 34-day war in 2006 between Israel and Hizbullah. Count on it, Israel will do something to change the status quo in Gaza. One option is to build a bigger and higher wall around the country, but it will do little good against Hamas rockets. What Israel sorely misses is the capacity to strike fear into its neighbors: deterrence. The Winograd Commission spelled it out in bleak terms in its report on the Lebanon war. "Israel cannot survive" unless it is able to deter its enemies - teach Hamas and Hizbullah a lesson they won't forget. (TIME)
  • How to Turn Gaza Over to Egypt - Daniel Pipes
    Given that Gazans have shown themselves incapable of responsible self-rule and Cairo has tacitly allowed the smuggling of arms since 2000, Mubarak needs to be made responsible for Gaza. Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy suggests to me that Jerusalem announce a date certain for the severing of Israel's provision of water, electricity and trade access. Once Jerusalem cuts supplies, Cairo has no choice but to furnish them. In the end, Arab solidarity demands that Egyptian "brothers" fill in for the Israeli enemy. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Rampant Islamic Jew-Hatred in Europe - Andrew G. Bostom
    According to European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security, Franco Frattini, who is the EU official responsible for combating racism and anti-Semitism in Europe, Muslims are responsible for 50% of the documented anti-Semitic incidents on the European continent. Since the number of Muslims in Europe is estimated at 15-20 million among 495 million Europeans, or some 3-4% of the total population, Muslims in Europe account for at least 24 times the number of anti-Semitic incidents as their non-Muslim European counterparts.
        In a study of attitudes of 5,000 Europeans published in 2006 in the Journal of Conflict Resolution by Yale University biostatistician Dr. Edward H. Kaplan, and Dr. Charles A. Small of the Yale Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism, anti-Israel sentiments strongly and independently predicted the likelihood that an individual was anti-Semitic. Furthermore, in a controlled comparison to European Christians, European Muslims were nearly eight times more likely to be overtly anti-Semitic. (American Thinker)
  • Observations:

    Try Wearing Israeli Shoes - Yuval Rotem (New Zealand Herald)

    • Would New Zealanders ask their government to sit idly by while a terrorist organization fires missiles on Tauranga or Hamilton? This is what is being asked of Israelis - to sit idly by while the residents of their southern town of Sderot are fired on by missiles from the terrorist organization Hamas. Let New Zealanders put themselves in the shoes of Israelis for just one day, without a vast ocean to protect them, without a democratic and secure neighbor like Australia, and with a terrorist organization mere miles away whose only reason for existing is their nation's destruction. Only then can democratic, informed debate happen.
    • Hamas in Gaza focuses its weaponry on civilians; on children in schools and kindergartens, on families' homes. They fire their missiles from deep within civilian neighborhoods, taunting Israeli Defense Forces to fire back, knowing that injury to the innocent people of Gaza would fuel their propaganda campaign. Israel acts only in self defense. When they do fire on Gaza it is merely in response to Hamas' missiles and they are focused on the militants themselves.
    • The people of Gaza are not the enemy, nor is there any benefit from Israel making them so. The people of Israel, in withdrawing from Gaza in 2005, sought to gain a democratic and secure neighbor, but Hamas increased violence from Gaza, including raids over the border into Israel to kill and kidnap Israeli soldiers.
    • Ever since Hamas won parliamentary elections in January 2006, Israel and the international community - including the UN, EU, Russia and the U.S. - have put forth a consistent message: to end its isolation, Hamas must recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to abide by previous agreements signed between Israel and the PA. These are not very difficult conditions. Indeed, they are the bare minimum that Israel should expect from a "partner for peace" or even a non-belligerent neighbor.

      Israel's Ambassador to New Zealand responds to a column which accused Israel of being a terrorist state.

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