Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 18, 2012
Special Edition

In-Depth Issues:

Over 90 Percent of Israelis Support Gaza Operation - Aaron Lerner (IMRA)
    91% of Israelis support Israel's latest Gaza operation, while 5% do not, according to a poll conducted Thursday for Channel 10 News.

Another Exchange of Fire on Syrian Border - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Syrian fire hit an IDF patrol in the Tel Hezeka area of the Golan Heights on Saturday night, damaging an IDF jeep - the fourth such incident in the past week.
    The IDF fired artillery at a Syrian post in response.

Egypt: Three More Rockets Fired from Sinai toward Israel (Ma'an News-PA)
    Militant groups in Egypt's Sinai fired three rockets into Israel on Friday evening, an Egyptian security source said.
    The militants fired across the border from al-Ajrah, a desert area south of Rafah controlled by jihadist groups.

Wounded Palestinian Shown on BBC Gets Up and Walks Away - Simon Plosker (Honest Reporting)
    BBC footage recently showed a Palestinian in a beige jacket and black T-shirt, presumably injured in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike, being picked up and taken away.
    Shortly afterwards he is seen walking away.

Photo Gallery: Life Under Fire (Flickr-Israel Defense Forces)

Hamas Detains Foreign Journalists in Gaza (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    Hamas is not allowing at least 22 foreign nationals who wish to exit Gaza for Israel to do so.
    Among the members of the foreign press being detained are nine Italians, six Japanese, one Canadian, one South Korean and a French national. In addition, two Turkish Red Crescent members have been refused exit.

Hamas - Godless Killers - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)
    For Hamas, all targets are fair game.
    They are, as they showed on Friday in firing missiles toward Jerusalem - an area filled with Israelis and Palestinians, with Jews, Christians and Muslims - people with no compunction about killing absolutely anybody.

Israel's Right of Return Fire - Editorial (Globe and Mail-Canada)
    Israel is right to be responding swiftly and forcefully to bombardment from Gaza.
    For months, the leaders of Hamas have been building up a more powerful arsenal with which to assault their neighbors.
    By sending many more, and more lethal, rockets into Israel, Hamas cannot do any good for the inhabitants of Gaza whom they rule, or for other Palestinians.
    Their attacks are merely vindictive and narcissistic, but they are a serious threat to the people of Israel.

Israel Terror Relief Fund (Jewish Federations of North America)
    The Jewish Federations of North America started a new Israel Terror Relief Fund, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Israel at this critical time.
    The fund will help support more than 1 million residents of Israel who have been living in siege, under rocket fire from terrorists in Gaza.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas Rocket Squads Aim at Jerusalem
    Hamas rocket squads aimed at Jerusalem for the first time Friday, along with Tel Aviv. The air raid sirens sounded in Jerusalem after the start of the Jewish Sabbath. The holy city is located about 75 km. (47 miles) from Gaza. No injuries were reported. (AP)
        See also Hamas Rockets Land Near Jerusalem
    Hamas says its al-Qassam Brigades fired three missiles at Jerusalem on Friday, including one at the Israeli Knesset. A Ma'an reporter in Bethlehem observed a trail from a rocket above the city shortly before a blast was heard. Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the rocket landed in the area of Gush Etzion. Residents of the Palestinian village of Kisan, in the Tekoa district, said rockets landed around 100 meters from their homes, resulting in some damage to the houses. (Ma'an News-PA)
        See also Gazans Watch with Pride as Hamas Targets Jerusalem
    Gazans have been watching with gleeful pride as Hamas militants fire rockets deeper than ever into Israel, targeting Jerusalem for the first time. "I never liked Hamas, but I wished I could kiss the forehead of the one who fired the rocket on Jerusalem," Saed Moaserji, 19, from Jebaliya in Gaza, said Saturday. (AP-Fox News)
  • White House: Israel Has Right to Defend Itself - Jim Kuhnhenn
    The White House on Saturday defended Israel's right to defend itself against attack and decide how to respond to rocket fire from Gaza, blaming the ruling Islamic militant Hamas group for starting the conflict. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are in agreement that a de-escalation of the violence is preferred, provided that Hamas stops sending rockets into Israel, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters during the president's flight on Air Force One to Asia.
        Rhodes said the U.S. believes "the precipitating factor for the conflict was the rocket fire coming out of Gaza. We believe Israel has a right to defend itself, and they'll make their own decisions about the tactics they use in that regard." "These rockets have been fired into Israeli civilian areas and territory for some time now. So Israelis have endured far too much of a threat from these rockets for far too long, and that is what led the Israelis to take the action that they did in Gaza."  (AP)
        See also Netanyahu Updates Obama on Friday
    Prime Minister Netanyahu called President Obama on Friday to provide an update on the situation in Israel and Gaza. The Prime Minister expressed his deep appreciation to the President and the American people for the U.S. investment in the Iron Dome rocket defense system, which has effectively defeated hundreds of incoming rockets from Gaza and saved countless Israeli lives. The President reiterated U.S. support for Israel's right to defend itself, and expressed regret over the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives. The two leaders discussed options for de-escalating the situation. (White House)
        See also Iron Dome Has Intercepted 267 Rockets Since Wednesday (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Against U.S. Wishes, Iraq Releases Man Accused of Killing American Soldiers - Michael R. Gordon
    Iraq on Thursday released Ali Musa Daqduq, a Hizbullah operative accused by American military prosecutors of killing American troops, terrorism and espionage. Daqduq has left Iraq and is now in Beirut. The case is noteworthy because it is regarded as a test of whether the U.S. or Iran has more influence over the Shiite-dominated government of Iraq. Hizbullah, a Shiite militant organization, is backed by Iran.
        American officials repeatedly insisted that they did not want Daqduq released. Daqduq was the last detainee handed over to the Iraqis by the U.S. as American troops withdrew in December. American military officials accused Daqduq of working with the Quds Force - an Iranian unit that supports militant groups abroad - to train Shiite militias in Iraq during the war. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Iron Dome Intercepts Two Missiles Aimed at Tel Aviv - Yaakov Lappin
    Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted two Iranian-made Fajr-5 missiles aimed at Tel Aviv on Saturday, the third attack on the city in three days. The Defense Ministry had deployed Israel's fifth Iron Dome battery in the center of the country on Saturday morning, after rushing to complete its production.
        One of the rockets fired at Jerusalem on Friday landed near a Palestinian village in the West Bank, shattering windows and scaring residents. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Video: Fajr 5 - the Hamas Rocket that Threatens 3.5 Million Israelis (Israel Defense Forces)
        See also More Rockets Intercepted over Tel Aviv on Sunday (Jerusalem Post)
  • 60 Gazan Rockets Hit Palestinian Civilians
    60 out of 703 rockets Hamas fired at Israel since Wednesday fell inside the Gaza Strip on Palestinian civilians, the Prime Minister's Office said on Saturday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Seeks Permanent End to Rocket Attacks - Raphael Ahren
    "The [Gaza] operation will continue until we can be sure that the people of Israel's south will no longer live under constant fear of rockets," an Israeli government official said Saturday. "Hamas probably wants a ceasefire by now. They want a time-out - so that they can rest a bit, and then continue to shoot rockets at us next week. Israel is not interested in that....We hope to come out of this operation with a new reality - that people in the south will no longer live under threat of rocket attacks."  (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. Jewish Paramedics Arrive in Israel to Volunteer
    14 Jewish paramedics from New York arrived in Israel on Friday to volunteer with Magen David Adom (Israel's Red Cross), the first of dozens of paramedics scheduled to arrive from all over the world to assists MDA paramedics in Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel's Right to Self-Defense Against Hamas - Alan M. Dershowitz
    There is absolutely no comparison between the murderous war crimes being committed by Hamas and the lawful targeting of terrorists by the Israeli military. Targeting civilians is a calculated Hamas policy designed to sow terror among the Israeli population. Hamas supporters celebrate the murder of Jewish civilians. Every rocket fired by Hamas at a non-military Israeli target is a war crime that should be universally condemned by all reasonable people.
        Israel's response - targeting only terrorists and Hamas military leaders - is completely lawful and legitimate. It constitutes an act of self-defense pursuant to Article 51 of the UN Charter and universally accepted principles of international law.
        Some in the media insist on describing the recent events in Gaza as "a cycle of violence," without distinguishing between the war crimes committed by Hamas and the lawful actions undertaken by Israel to protect its citizens against such war crimes. It would be as if the media described lawful police efforts to stop illegal drug-related murders as a "cycle of violence."
        The international community and the media must begin to differentiate between war crimes committed by terrorists and legitimate acts of self-defense engaged in by a responsible military. The writer is a Professor of Law at Harvard. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Free World Must Stand with Israel - Nile Gardiner
    As Hamas rockets rain down on Israel, even striking Tel Aviv and threatening Jerusalem, Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to the UN in September rings true. This is a confrontation between the freest country in the Middle East, and brutal terrorists blinded with hatred who seek to advance their goals by murdering civilians and indiscriminate terror. The thugs of Hamas share the same goal as the mullahs in Tehran, who provide the bombs, weapons and resources used to sustain a huge terrorist enterprise - i.e., the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist state.
        For the Israelis, this is a war of survival in an intensely hostile region. They deserve the full support of the U.S., Great Britain, and the Western world, which must stand shoulder to shoulder with a close friend and ally. As Hamas' offensive illustrates, Israel is the front line of a global conflict between the forces of freedom and the forces of tyranny and barbarism. This is not just Israel's war, it is ours too. The threat Israel faces from the jihadists is the same threat the West faces. An emphatic defeat for Hamas will be a huge blow not only to the Islamist dictatorship in Tehran, but to the followers of Bin Laden as well. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Morsi's Dilemma - Zvi Mazel
    Egypt adopted a number of retaliatory measures following the killing of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari. The Egyptian ambassador was recalled to Cairo and Israel's ambassador received an official protest. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi demanded that the Arab League call an urgent meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss "criminal Israeli aggression" on Gaza, and sought an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council.
        Morsi has taken all the common diplomatic steps to demonstrate his anger at Israel, while being careful not to go further - for the moment. There has been no attempt to sever diplomatic relations and no threat to the peace treaty. Morsi knows well enough who started the present round of fighting - as well as the previous ones - but feels that Muslim/Arab solidarity demands a "suitable Egyptian response."
        The fact is that Morsi needs a peaceful border with Israel and continuing security cooperation in order to tackle terror in Sinai as well as the economy. The Egyptian army is itself under attack in Sinai; there are almost daily assaults on police stations, roadblocks, and even army patrols.
        While violent diatribes are directed at Israel, furious negotiations are probably going on with Hamas, which has come to understand that it has gone too far this time and is paying the price. The writer, a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador to Egypt. (Jerusalem Post)

The Unseen Hand Behind Hamas' Clash with Israel - Saul Singer (Wall Street Journal)

  • Ostensibly, the latest fighting with Hamas began with Israel's targeted killing of Ahmed Jabari, the commander of Hamas' military wing. Normal militaries don't target civilians or hide behind their own people. And Jabari didn't command a "wing" of Hamas, as if there was any daylight between him and the rest of the terror group's leadership.
  • Hamas had been firing round after round of rockets on Israeli towns around Gaza for the better part of a decade. Israeli children have grown up with the sounds of sirens telling them they have 15 seconds to take cover until a missile hits. When the pace of the shelling increased in recent weeks, the Israelis finally stuck back.
  • The international community should stop supporting the Hamas government in Gaza. Hamas' macabre game is to mix its terrorists and rockets in with Palestinian civilians, wait for an Israeli missile aimed at a rocket launcher to kill some of those civilians, and then bask in global condemnation of Israel.
  • But if most governments and the UN squarely tagged Hamas as the aggressor responsible for the civilian casualties on both sides and cut off financial support and other aid, Hamas would be deterred as successfully as any Israeli military action could manage.
  • When sirens sounded in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in recent days, it was because Hamas was launching Fajr-5 missiles with a range of some 50 miles. The Fajr-5 is made in Iran. Tehran is the main source of Hamas' training and of the 200 missiles a day that Hamas has been firing into Israel in recent days. If Jabari was the hand on the trigger, the arm and the head are in Tehran.

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