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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

July 19 , 2007 Ahmadinejad Visits Syria, Meets Assad, Nasrallah and Meshal

Two days after President Assad of Syria spoke of peace, he hosted Iran's President, Ahmadinejad, the one leader in the Middle East who continues to publicly call for Israel's destruction. According to Israeli sources, Assad tried to put off Ahmadinejad's visit, but the Iranian refused. While in Syria, Ahmadinejad met with Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah and Hamed Meshal, the head of Hamas. As one Israeli TV commentator stated:, "where are the smart bombs when you need them". The commentator went on to say he "doubts the current Israeli government has the guts to pull off such an attack, even if it could". Ahmadinejad stated: "this summer will be a hot one like the last one". What is one to understand from this visit? First, it is clear that while Assad may be trying to talk about peace, the Iranians are the ones in charge... They are the ones supplying Syria with money and arms. The Iranians are the ones, not the Syrians, calling the shots now in Lebanon. The Iranians are also the ones calling the shots in Iraq. When the history of this time period is written, I believe the greatest disaster will have been President George W. Bush's allowance of his personal feelings to determine which member of the "axis of evil" the US went after. Unfortunately, the Iranian threat remains the one that is truly evil and very dangerous.

Reports and videotapes coming out of Gaza show that Hamas continues to go after Fatah members and their families, publicly beating and attacking them. Abbas seems very determined to hold elections in the West Bank. All the polls show Fatah winning decisively. Abbas may not be considered a risk taker, but he is certainly taking a significant risk here. He has no choice.

In the meantime, Qassam rockets fell on S'derot again today. The IDF is convinced itŐs only a matter of time before it will be forced to re-enter the Gaza Strip in force. According to IDF sources in the two years since Israel left the Gaza Strip Hamas has made very significant advances in its weaponry. Its 13,000 soldiers are well trained and well organized. Re-entering Gaza will be costly, but eventually there may not be a choice.

There was a rather upbeat OP-Ed piece in today's New York Times by Mark Helprin, a well-known author and journalist (also an IDF veteran) called "Forced to Get Along". In it Helprin claims that the confluence of Fatah having no choice but to come to terms with Israel; Israel realizing if it does not succeed with Fatah there will no one else to talk to about peace; coupled with the desire of the surrounding states, such as Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to stop the growth of militancy, have created a unique set of circumstances that might finally lead to a real breakthrough.

The ongoing fight between the Supreme Court and Justice Minister Friedmann managed to get even worse today. Friedman attempted to meet the Presidents of the lower courts about appointments to the bench. The lower court judges refused to meet, stating that Friedmann was going around the head of the courts, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Beinisch. Friedmann accused Beinisch of orchestrating the boycott. On London and Kirshbaum, Friedman then issued a stinging criticism of the comment made by Justice Beinisch at the recent hearing on the Katzav plea agreement. Legal observers in Israel continue to be astounded by the numerous public attacks that Friedmann keeps making on the Supreme Court.