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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 10, 2014

In-Depth Issue:

French President Hollande Expresses Solidarity with Israel after Rocket Attacks (KUNA - Kuwait)
In a departure from his usual and relatively-balanced policy on the Middle East conflict, French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday issued a strong message of support for Israel which he said should take all measures to protect its population faced with rocket attacks from the Palestinians in Gaza Strip.

Merkel Condemns 'Without Reservation' Rocket Attacks on Israel from Gaza (AFP/Ynet News)

British Prime Minister: UK 'Staunchly Supports' Israel (ITV - UK)
The Prime Minister has reassured Israel of Britain's support in the ongoing conflict between the Jewish state and Hamas in Gaza.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier this evening about the situation in Israel.
"The Prime Minister strongly condemned the appalling attacks being carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians. The Prime Minister reiterated the UK's staunch support for Israel in the face of such attacks, and underlined Israel's right to defend itself from them."

Video: Human Shields in Gaza Protect a House (IDF)

Video: Code Red Song - Helping Israeli Children Deal with Terror (Sass Video)

Video: The Case for Destroying Hamas - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)

Video: France 24 Interviews Amb. Dore Gold, July 9, 2014 (France 24/Jerusalem Center)

Kidnapped Israelis Shot 10 Times with Silenced Gun - U.S. Lab - Dan Williams (Reuters)
Three Israeli teenagers who were abducted by Palestinians in the West Bank last month were shot at least 10 times with a silenced gun in what appeared to be premeditated killings, a U.S. official involved in the investigation said. One of the teens, 16-year-old Naftali Fraenkel, also held American citizenship.
A U.S. official involved in the probe said the FBI, whose mandate includes Americans abducted abroad, received a recording of the distress call from Israel within days and sent it for audio analysis in the United States.
Distorted, tinny reports heard on the tape after an Arabic-accented male voice shouts "Head down!" in response to one boy's attempt to raise the alarm were found to be consistent with shots from a silenced firearm, the U.S. official said.
"There were 10 gunshots," added the official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. The use of a silencer led U.S. investigators to believe the captors planned to kill the three teenagers from the outset, the U.S. official said.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Israel Warns Gaza Targets by Phone and Leaflet - Steven Erlanger and Fares Akram
    Israel maintains a combat policy in which occupants of a building about to be bombed or shelled are given a brief warning in Arabic to evacuate. The Israelis have used such telephone calls and leaflets for years now, in a stated effort to reduce civilian casualties and avoid charges of indiscriminate killings or even of crimes against the rules of war.
    But often, as in a case in Khan Younis on Tuesday, people die in any case, because they ignore or defy the warnings, or try to leave after it is too late.
    The Israeli leaflets urged residents not to allow their houses to be used as cover for digging tunnels or smuggling weapons, and provided an email address and phone number for people to report on such activities around them, saying, Dont stand idle as the terrorist elements use you. (New York Times)
  • Jewish Leaders Support "Operation Protective Edge"; Condemn Hamas' Attacks on Israeli Civilians
    The following statement was released by Robert G. Sugarman, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations:
    On behalf of the Conference of Presidents, we express our support for Operation Protective Edge launched by the Israel Defense Forces, and urge the government to take whatever steps necessary to defend its citizens. Millions of Israelis are spending a sleepless night as sirens go off across the country in response to the constant barrage of missiles fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza, targeting the civilian population. No country would or should tolerate such a horrific onslaught as the one emanating from Gaza, which is controlled by the terrorist Hamas organization. The government of Prime Minister Netanyahu has shown great restraint seeking to avoid an all-out war and the civilian casualties that would entail.
    We call on the international community to stand with Israel and to condemn these attacks across a recognized international border and to hold to account those who aid and abet them. (Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations)
  • Hizbullah Profits from Hash as Syria Goes to Pot - Alberto Mucci
    As the Syrian conflict deepens, Lebanese hashish and marijuana growers are increasing production along with profits. Local politicians know about it, police know about it, the Lebanese army is aware of it and so are authorities in Beirut. But nobody wants to, or can, fix the problem. The majority of these plantations are controlled by Hizbullah. Lebanese marijuana and hashish is today able to reach the Jordanian, Iraqi and wealthy Dubai market with ease. But most importantly it serves the growing demand coming directly from Syrian consumers. (Daily Beast)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Iron Dome Downs Gaza Rockets over Tel Aviv
    Iron Dome shot down a Gaza rockets over central Israel as air raid sirens were sounded over Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas Thursday morning, as Operation Protective Edge enters its third day. Hamas said it fired two M75 rockets at Israel, one of which was intercepted by Iron Dome. Iron Dome intercepted a rocket launched at the southern town of Netivot, in the Gaza region. Late Wednesday night, the system intercepted four rockets fired at Ashkelon. At least two rockets fell in open areas north of Zikhron Ya'akov, just 37 km south of Haifa, in what was the longest reaching rocket attack since Operation Protective Edge began late Monday.
    According to the IDF, roughly 255 rockets were fired at Israel since Operation Protective Edge began late Monday night. Some 69 of those rockets were intercepted by Israel's advanced Iron Dome missile interception system. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Permits Supplies into Gaza (Hebrew)
    On Tuesday, July 8, 148 trucks carrying supplies and 221 tons of natural gas entered Gaza. The trucks went via the Kerem Shalom crossing, in coordination with the Gaza coordination and liaison office. (Office for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories - Israel)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hamas's Not-So-Secret Weapon - Salah al-Arouri - Matthew Levitt
    Soon after three Israel teenagers were kidnapped last month, Israeli officials leaked to the press the name of the Hamas operational commander believed to be behind a recent surge in kidnapping plots. It was a familiar one for those who follow Hamas closely: Salah al-Arouri, a longtime Hamas operative from the West Bank, who lives openly in Turkey. The U.S. Department of Justice has described him as "a high-ranking Hamas military leader dating back to his role as a Hamas student cell leader at Hebron University in the early 1990s," where he was recruited.
    Arouri's intimate familiarity with the West Bank -- he lived near Ramallah, attended college further south in Hebron, and worked with Muin Shabib to the north near Nablus -- makes him uniquely suited to overseeing Hamas operations there, and for pursuing the strategy of kidnapping. (Washington Institute)
  • John Kerry, Stay Home and Stay Out of this Fight - Aaron David Miller
    Should Secretary of State Kerry travel to Israel and "initiate a dialogue" between Hamas and Israel? I don't think that's right, at least not yet.
    The problem at the moment is not between Mahmoud Abbas and Bibi; it's between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. And trying to get in the middle of that one would both weaken Abbas, give phony unity a boost and likely alienate the Israelis. The last thing Washington should be doing right now is bailing out Hamas, let alone engaging it directly or through cut-outs. Egypt and Israel both know how to negotiate cease-fires with Hamas. And both understand how to restore calm, if Hamas is willing. And that's the issue now. What does Hamas want and what kind of game is it playing?
    There is a real danger that U.S. credibility -- already badly undermined by the failure of the Kerry effort -- could be harmed even more by yet another failed attempt at making peace. (Foreign Policy)
  • Lets Think about Indonesia First, Then Palestine - Pitan Daslani
    Indonesia's presidential elections were held on July 9. Official results will be released in two weeks.
    The first priority of Indonesias foreign policy under a Joko Widodo-Jusuf Kalla government if they win Wednesdays presidential election would be to open an Indonesian embassy in Ramallah.
    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated in February 2012 that it was seriously studying the possibility of opening an Indonesian representative office in Ramallah. Indonesias diplomatic mission closest to Palestine currently is the embassy in Jordan, while Israels diplomatic mission closest to Indonesia is its embassy in Singapore.
    But opening an Indonesian representative office in Palestine would not be easy, because we need to coordinate with Israel, said the ministrys spokesman Michael Tene. This reality cannot be ignored because opening an embassy in the absence of diplomatic relations with Israel is very challenging.
    To play a conciliatory role, Indonesia needs to open a dialog with Israel and adjust to the ongoing peace process. Relations with Palestine are very warm but the same cant be said for Israel. (Jakarta Globe)
  • Hamas Out of Money, Big Supporters, Supplies, So Why Is It Shooting at Israel? - Derek Stoffel
    Hamas is broke. It's lost some of its biggest supporters. Its supply lines from Egypt are cut off. The Islamist militant group is at one of its weakest points since it was founded in 1987. Yet its operatives are busy firing rockets at Israel as hostilities between the two arch-enemies continues to escalate.
    Why? Hamas has little other choice but to fight, say observers here.
    "Look, Hamas [is] in trouble, but there is no way it's going to stop the military campaign against Israel, because the organization doesn't see a good way to get out of it," said Shaul Mishal, one of Israel's experts on Hamas. (CBC News - Canada)
  • History Is Repeating Itself in Gaza, but this Time Israel Can Seriously Damage Hamas - David Blair
    The conflict is grimly familiar to anyone who remembers the last two rounds of the conflict in Gaza Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09 and Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.
    But two vital differences are worth highlighting. The first is that Israels defenses against rocket attack, based on the Iron Dome system, are more sophisticated than ever before. Hence the 160 rockets appear to have caused no injuries, let alone fatalities.
    The second is that Hamas is starting from a position of unprecedented weakness. During the previous operations, it was firmly allied with Hizbullah, Syria and Iran as part of the axis of resistance against Israel and the West. Hamas could replenish its stockpile of rockets using an established supply system
    Today, by contrast, the "axis of resistance" has been broken on the anvil of the Syrian civil war. Meanwhile, the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo means that Egypt now has a regime with no qualms about sealing off Gaza or cooperating with Israel. Consequently, Hamas is more isolated than ever before. (Telegraph - UK)
  • Observations:

    Why Did Hamas Provoke a War? - Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations)

  • The current battles between Israel and Hamas were provoked by Hamas. Why?
  • First, consider Hamass situation a week ago. The economic situation in Gaza is dire, due both the reduced Iranian support and to the closure of the border with Egypt by the Egyptian Army. Hamas needed a way out of its increasingly difficult situation.
  • John Kerrys peace negotiations might have delivered some shake-up in the overall Israeli-Palestinian situation, but they failed. Hamas then tried a political maneuver: a deal with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority to form a non-party government in Ramallah.
  • Teen-age boys and young men do not join Hamas in order to police Gazas borders and prevent Islamic Jihad from attacking Israel; they join in order to attack Israel. Hamas was risking the charge from other terrorists that it was an auxiliary police force for Israel, and risking that young men would drift away to those other terrorist groups. So, the Hamas leadership decided it had to shake things up.
  • It is a very big gamble for Hamas, and the size of the gamble is the measure of Hamass desperation. For so far, Hamas has not done much damage to Israel.
  • Israels apparent assessment: keep increasing the pressure until Hamas, which started this war because it saw too many threats to its survival and dominance in Gaza, comes to see continued war as the key threat. Those who want the violence to end must realize that the larger is the Israeli effort now, the sooner Hamas will conclude this round must be ended.

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