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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
November 22, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

An Initial Accounting of the Gaza Operation - Dan Margalit (Israel Hayom)
    Hamas has taken a body blow. Senior operatives have been killed, rocket arsenals have been pulverized, terrorist infrastructure has been destroyed, and the Iron Dome has been largely successful in protecting the Israeli home front.
    For the first time in many years, Israel has struck a heavy blow against terrorists in Gaza without losing the support of the world's enlightened nations.
    Those who remember the criticism after Israel's Gaza operation in 2009 understand the significance of this achievement.
    See also In Gaza Offensive, Israel Enjoys Unusual International Support - Christa Case Bryant (Christian Science Monitor)

IDF Achievements in the Gaza Operation (Israel Defense Forces)
    Over the course of the Gaza operation, the IDF targeted 19 command centers and headquarters, 30 senior operatives, hundreds of underground rocket launchers, 140 smuggling tunnels, 66 terror tunnels, dozens of Hamas operation rooms and bases, 26 weapon manufacturing and storage facilities and dozens of long-range rocket launchers and launch sites.
    Palestinians in Gaza launched 1,506 rockets at Israel. 875 fell in open areas; 58 in urban areas. Iron Dome intercepted 421 rockets.
    Israeli casualties numbered 5 dead and 240 injured.
    Of the 177 Palestinians who were killed in Gaza, 120 were "engaged in terrorist activity," the IDF Spokesman said Wednesday. (Times of Israel)

Hamas Rocket Fire on Gaza (IDF Spokesperson)
    Over the past 8 days, 152 rockets fired from Gaza landed inside the Strip - nearly 3 times the amount that hit populated areas in Israel.

Two Rockets Fired from South Lebanon towards Israel - Zeina Karam (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    Two rockets were fired from Lebanon toward Israel on Wednesday but fell short and landed in Lebanese territory, a senior Lebanese security official said.

Israeli Attacks in Gaza Also Serve as a Warning to Iran - Nicole Gaouette (Bloomberg)
    Israel is fighting a "war within a war," said David Wurmser, a former Middle East adviser to then-vice president Dick Cheney.
    Israel is simultaneously tackling Hamas rocket fire, demonstrating the effectiveness of the new "Iron Dome" missile defense system, and degrading the Islamist group's ability to retaliate for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.
    "The Israelis are definitely sending a message to Iran in the war in Gaza," said Geneive Abdo, an Iran specialist and a fellow at the Stimson Center.

PA Wanted Hamas Defeated - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
    A Palestinian ambassador told an Israeli ambassador earlier this week that if Israel expanded the operation in Gaza, it must work to overthrow Hamas, instead of stopping in the middle, as it did in 2009.
    The Palestinian official was quoted as saying: "The Hamas offices that were destroyed are not important. The real offices are the mosques, which are connected to a widespread network of tunnels. Everything happens underground."
    "Hamas has no regrets over the destruction in Gaza. On the contrary, Hamas gets a great deal of economic and political benefit from the terrible destruction because of the large donations that will come from the world and the political image of the organization that stands on the front line against Israel."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Egypt Brokers Gaza Ceasefire - Ernesto Londono and Michael Birnbaum
    On Wednesday an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire halted the most serious clash since 2009 between Israel and Hamas, but leaves the crux of the conflict unresolved. The agreement restricts Israel from deploying ground troops or targeting militant leaders in Gaza, while Palestinian factions there are commanded to cease rocket attacks on Israel. After seven days in which hundreds of Palestinian rockets were fired into Israel and hundreds of Israeli airstrikes targeted Gaza, the U.S. and Egypt played key mediating roles in the accord, which was announced in Cairo after a meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian president. (Washington Post)
        See also Prime Minister Netanyahu's Statement on Gaza Ceasefire (Israel Prime Minister's Office)
  • Obama: U.S. to Intensify Efforts to Halt Weapons Smuggling to Gaza
    President Obama spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday. The White House said: "The president made clear that no country can be expected to tolerate rocket attacks against civilians. The president commended the prime minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal - which the president recommended the prime minister do - while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself."
        "The president said that the U.S. would use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza. The president said he was committed to seeking additional funding for Iron Dome and other U.S.-Israel missile defense programs."  (White House)
  • Egypt's Islamist Leader Is Guarantor of Quiet between Hamas, Israel
    The Gaza ceasefire deal reached Wednesday marks a startling trajectory for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi: an Islamist leader who refuses to talk to Israelis or even say the country's name mediated for it and finally turned himself into Israel's de facto protector. The accord inserts Egypt as the arbiter ensuring that militant rocket fire into Israel stops.
        In return, Morsi emerged as a major regional player. He won the trust of the U.S. and Israel, which saw him as the figure most able to deliver a deal with Gaza's Hamas rulers. In ideology, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood supports the use of force against Israel to liberate "Muslim lands." But since coming to power, the group has had to yield to pragmatism. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Who Won This Round in Gaza? - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    If the cessation of rocket fire is of extended duration, and there are no attacks on IDF forces along the border fence, Israel will be able to claim success. If the understandings collapse quickly, it will bring on another military operation against Hamas, this time with much greater force.
        In Gaza, they began preparing the victory rallies. But the celebrations will not hide the serious blow Hamas suffered in the military arena by the killing of Ahmed Jabari, the destruction of its long-range Fajr missiles and the attacks on its commanders and camps. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel's Gaza Operation Achieved Its Goals - Aluf Benn
    Israel's Gaza operation had two strategic goals: to reinstate the Gaza ceasefire with Hamas and to stabilize the peace with Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. Israel expects Hamas to stop the firing and enforce quiet on other armed organizations. This agreement is not based on love, but on joint interests backed by a balance of fear - the IDF's air firepower and threat of a ground invasion.
        Defense Minister Ehud Barak declared on Wednesday: "Hamas is responsible for enforcing the ceasefire." This means Israel expects Ahmed Jabari's successor to ensure quiet on the border. If he is sloppy or refuses, he may expect the same fate that befell the Hamas chief of staff who was assassinated last week. This is what Israeli leaders mean when they use the term "renewing the deterrence."
        Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi proved that he too prefers interests to ideology. Morsi has made it clear the peace with Israel is an Egyptian interest and even serves Egypt's desire to resume a leadership position in the region.
        Netanyahu showed it was possible to bomb Gaza and kill Hamas' chief of staff without harming the peace with Cairo. In the new strategic environment generated by the "Arab Spring," this is no mean feat. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas: "Victory" Paves Way for "Liberating Palestine" - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas reacted to the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement announced Wednesday by declaring "victory" over Israel. Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank reacted by taking to the streets to celebrate Hamas' "victory." Drivers honked their car horns, women ululated, while others handed out candies. Palestinian gunmen fired in the air in Gaza City while others kissed the ground in a sign of jubilation.
        Ahmed Bahr, a senior Hamas official, said: "The resistance groups have achieved a historic victory and paved the way for the battle of liberating Palestine." Abu Ataya, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, said: "The occupation and its army were forced to accept our conditions for a ceasefire....This is a great victory."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF: Gaza Regime Suffered Considerable Damage - Yaakov Lappin
    The IDF believes that contrary to the triumphalist public stance of Hamas, the Gaza regime is privately shocked by the level of damage it sustained. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the ceasefire "could last nine months, it could last nine weeks," and when it stops working, Israel will know how to react. The IDF remains on standby for any ceasefire violations. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel Dominates the New Middle East - Fareed Zakaria
    We were warned that the battle between Israel and the Palestinians might spread because we are in a new and much more dangerous Middle East where Islamists are in power. In fact, there is a very low likelihood of a broader regional conflict. It's true that we're in a new Middle East, but it's one in which Israel has become the region's superpower.
        In a thorough 2010 study, The Arab-Israeli Military Balance, Anthony Cordesman and Aram Nerguizian document how over the past decade Israel has outstripped its neighbors in every dimension of warfare. But Israel's real advantages are in the quality and effectiveness of its military, in terms of both weapons and people. Despite being dwarfed by the Arab population, Israel's army plus its high-quality reservists vastly outnumber those of the Arab nations. Its weapons are often a generation ahead of those used by its adversaries.
        This is why Egypt, despite being under a new Islamist government, is not going to risk war with Israel. Nor are the other Arab states. They will make fiery speeches and offer humanitarian assistance. But they will not fight alongside the Palestinians in Gaza. (Washington Post)
  • A Vast Moral Difference - Jeff Jacoby
    Media coverage of the hostilities in Gaza tends to focus on rockets and casualties and diplomatic maneuvering. Not emphasized nearly enough is the vast moral distance that separates Israel from its terrorist enemy. On one side is a Jewish state that seeks peace with its neighbors and has repeatedly offered deep concessions to achieve it; on the other, a fanatic regime of jihadists who glorify death, abominate Jews, and are obsessed with eradicating that solitary Jewish state.
        By now it should be obvious even to the congenitally naive that so long as Hamas rules Gaza - a de facto Palestinian state, no matter what anyone calls it - it will never end its quest for Israel's annihilation and peace will remain but a dream. (Boston Globe)
  • Hamas Leaves Israel No Choice - Danny Ayalon
    Hamas' charter includes the aspiration that "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)." It is this aspiration for genocide that is at the root of Hamas activities. The charter begins with the ominous warning that "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." Death and destruction is seen as a win-win calculation, as any Israeli death is considered a glorious achievement and every Palestinian death that of a "holy martyr."
        Israel has been left with little choice but to root out this nest of hate and destruction. No nation on earth would allow a third of its population to live in constant fear of incessant fire emanating from a neighboring territory. We gave the international community time to act. However, there was a deafening silence, demonstrating to Israelis that we had to take action to protect our citizens. Those who refused to condemn the attacks on Israeli citizens have no right to condemn Israel's response to establish peace and quiet for its citizens. The writer is Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Guardian-UK)
  • Words Are Weapons of Mass Destruction - David Keyes
    It should surprise no one that Israel and Hamas are at war again. Hamas incitement and hate speech have silenced Palestinian moderates and distanced human rights. On Aug. 10, 2012, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament in Gaza, Ahmad Bahr, shouted: "Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, destroy the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one."
        Yussuf al-Sharafi, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, echoed, "Allah, take the Jews and their allies, Allah, take the Americans and their allies...annihilate them completely and do not leave any one of them." This is broadcast live on Hamas TV throughout Gaza. Incitement to genocide is always the precursor to genocide. The writer is executive director of the New York-based Advancing Human Rights organization. (Foreign Policy)
  • Hamas' Miscalculation - Jonathan Spyer
    In the course of 2012, believing it had its fellow Muslim Brothers in Egypt at its back, Hamas began to allow freer rein to Islamic Jihad and the smaller Salafi groups, and to participate in actions against Israel along the border. But Hamas has miscalculated. Israeli authorities have responded with a large-scale operation to restore "deterrence"; that is, to disabuse the Hamas rulers of Gaza of the notion that the current situation makes possible aggression against Israel.
        But the greater Hamas miscalculation appears to have been regarding the extent of the support they would receive from the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. (Weekly Standard)
        See also Strategic Overreach - Jonathan Spyer (Foreign Policy)

Gaza Ceasefire Doesn't Solve the Fundamental Problem - Mortimer B. Zuckerman (U.S. News)

  • Israel's recently concluded Gaza air attacks were aimed at taking out the rocket sites, especially the new longer-range Fajr-5 missiles, which had come from Iran. The residential surroundings from which Hamas launches its attacks are clear on videos showing these launches.
  • Surely this time Israel cannot yield to the clamor for a ceasefire that leaves Hamas to do what it did after 2009 - bringing in still more rockets and arms through the tunnels from Sinai to Gaza while the world again turns a blind eye.
  • The U.S. must put all its muscle and money toward seeing that any peace deal is durable. It must see to the elimination of the long-range missiles, pledge Hamas to control all the militias it blames for attacks, and it must be a peace enforceable by Egypt with guaranteed retribution for every violation.
  • It must also rethink the whole attitude to a peace settlement on the West Bank. The U.S. cannot fail to recognize the force of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's argument that Israel cannot risk annihilation by simply withdrawing from the West Bank as it withdrew from Gaza.

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